The Historic Y.O. Ranch, located in the splendid Texas Hill Country just outside of Mountain Home, played host to the Y.O. Wheeling Weekend. Itâ€™s no secret to those of you who know me; this Ranch holds a special place in my heart. It was at the Y.O. Ranch that I was first introduced to the sport of organized Off-Roading ten years ago in the spring of 1995. After my last visit to the Ranch in March of 2004 I gave my â€œthenâ€ 11 year old daughter her first Jeep driving lesson. So Iâ€™m sure you can just imagine how excited I was to have had JeepTales invited to join in on the fun over the 4th of July Weekend.
The Y.O. Ranch established in 1880 set a magnificent 40,000 acre stage for a memorable weekend of Off-roading The YO Ranch is one of the oldest family owned ranches in Texas and will be celebrating its 125th anniversary next year. Generations of hunters from all over the world have traveled to this legendary ranch to enjoy the world class hunting and their famous South Texas â€œYO Hospitalityâ€. Now that the attendees of the Off-Roading weekend have returned home Iâ€™m certain most of them believe that the Y.O. Ranch is destined to also take its place in history as a premier off-roading venue.
The back drop of the social portion â€œEvent Headquartersâ€ for the weekend took place around the refreshing waters of the beautiful pool located a few yards away from the inviting rustic Texas Trophy Lodge. All of the participants knew that after a hot dusty day on the trail their reward would be a cool dip in the sparkling pool. While most of the drivers and passengers visited shared stories, photos, memories and a few cold beverages The Soup Bone Cattle Company our chuck wagon staff, was hard at work preparing authentic Cowboy meals and I assure you no one left hungry.
Saturday night was entertaining, as drivers, passengers and children cashed in on 38 participant gifts and 6 youth prizes as well as a Trophy Sika Hunt valued at $2,250.00 donated by the YO Ranch. Later in the evening two of our trail guides were treated to birthday cakes delivered by the rest of the trail help garbed in grass skirts and coconut bras. As darkness settled in we were entertained by a professional firework display, just off the spectacular bluff where the pool is situated while familiar patriotic tunes played in the background. Thankfully, all the fun was cataloged by JeepTales and with a souvenir DVD that is also available so we can share the memories with other attendees and those of you who are wishing you had been there.
However, none of this none of this would have been possible without the tireless work of several volunteer 4WD clubs namely: Austin Jeep Exclusive, San Antonio Jeep Exclusive, Fritztown Four Wheeler & Bosque Country 4 Wheelers who not only improved and lengthened the existing trails but added new ones. The clubs also provided expert trail guidance and support, quickly recognizing the abilities of the drivers and their four wheel drive mounts then carefully directing them over challenges and obstacles through the beautiful Texas Hill Country Trails.
Y.O. Ranch off-roading areas are well marked expertly maintained in addition to offering sufficient challenge to all any skill level of driver or machine. If you did not want to spend the whole weekend off roading there are other diversions including: Hunting, Horseback Riding, Hiking Guided Exotic Game Tours, and of course the refreshing pool waters!
Sam and Margo Davis were the event coordinators and planned everything about the weekend down to the smallest detail making this trip a real vacation for the grateful participants. This event was one that you can feel confident every member of family enjoyed no matter what the age or gender.
The Y.O. Ranch staff and Ranch Residents went out of their way to make everyone feel at home over the weekend. By the dayâ€™s end on Sunday most of us gathered around the pool to say our last goodbyes wishing the party would have not come to an end and committing to each other that they would be back to see our new friends again next year.
It looks like the word is out....While visiting with the event coordinators over the weekend I learned that the YO Ranch Wheelinâ€™ Staff is also discussing terms with SWFWDA about the possibility of hosting the Spring or Fall Quarterly in 2006. There are also several other four wheel drive clubs and associations jockeying for position to host other private events at this unique facility. It will not be long before YO Ranch Wheelinâ€™ is thought of with the same respect and reverence as other world class wheeling venues like scenic Moab and the famed Rubicon Trail.
Special thanks to the corporate sponsors for providing refreshments to the children and adults as well as generously filling goodie bags, donating door prizes and raffle items and a firework display on Saturday night. It was quite evident to me that everyone who participated in this event did so because they care and that makes all the difference in the world. I plan to add a YO Wheeling trip to my calendar for next year and I recommend you do the same; this one is going to sellout donâ€™t lose your spot.