Hello my friends!
We recently spent almost a week at Baker-Spain Stampede (aka Stampede at the Goat Ranch) in South Greenfield, Missouri, just about 35 miles from home. I dictated some notes into my phone on Saturday afternoon of the event and want to share with you my reflections on one of the best events we’ve ever done.
This evening is the ranch rodeo and tomorrow is the second round of chuckwagon races. There’s a springfed creek to swim in, food vendors, live music tonight and fun to be had and memories to be made.
We have been camped here since Tuesday, and my kids have been living their best life, swimming in the creek and riding their horse all over this place while I have been setting up my vendor space and doing live art right here in the middle of the event grounds.
I can’t even describe to you the amount of traffic by my booth that is people on horses and people in UTV‘s and people in regular vehicles… Cars, pick up trucks, toter homes and motor coaches. I even saw a team of mules pull a wagon up to the food vendor area to grab dinner.
The Goat Ranch is 2500 acres of rolling pasture dotted with trees with a valley through the center and the coldest creek I’ve ever plunked my hot hiney into, and when you pull in you can just pick yourself a spot to camp anywhere. There’s 1000 (just a guess but maybe not far off the mark) trucks and trailers here: fancy horse trailers with living quarters and air-conditioned cargo bays for the horses, campers, tents, and I even saw a teepee.
There’s people riding mules, ponies, quarter horses, draft horses, and I saw a beautiful Morgan horse earlier today.
There’s teams of horses pulling passenger wagons around.
I saw the prettiest lady on horseback leading a miniature pony with the cutest little girl ever.
This is a beautiful cross-section of America here in the middle of nowhere in southwest Missouri. I’m talking about the people, the general vibe, the event atmosphere, and the kindness of country folk. It can’t be described; only experienced. I feel so fortunate that my family and I fit into this event so well…so well that there’s something for us all here. I can see Creek and Cale competing here someday, and I’d love to be a vendor again, although my setup needs some tweaking to make it better all around.
The creek that runs all the way through this place is springfed, so it’s super cold. I worry about Nev, my Aussie, in the heat but she’s been going along with me everywhere. When we’re near the water, she gets right in there and swims around and cools down and naps in the shade and she has been soaking up all the attention from children and other dog lovers. She’s really defensive of our property when we are at home, but when I travel with her on the road, she’s everybody’s friend. There has been some much-needed peaceful time snatched here and there sitting in the river with my friends, letting the cold current run past our legs.
Our campsite has over 15 campers parked in it. I was the first one to cross the creek on Tuesday afternoon. When we all crossed together on Sunday to stake our claim on the campsite, the creek was 2 feet wide and just as deep. We crossed it just fine in our pickups, but there was no way we could get my trailer or the low horse trailers across. We asked Baker-Spain if we could fix the crossing, and after discussion about the best and easiest solution, we decided to use trailer ramps to span the water. When I got there Tuesday, the Goat Ranch dirt crew had already been in there with a trackhoe and made the channel more shallow, damming it up a little to slow the water. Our friend Brad met me there with the ramps and a lawnmower for trimming up the campsite. We surveyed the repairs and decided to go ahead and use the ramps in the bottom of the crossing. The rock in there was very loose and not packed down at all, and we thought the ramps would do a better job of holding up my heavy toy hauler, which I pulled with my 3/4-ton Dodge. It work great. After we got through, Brad mowed the campsite and I sprayed it for ticks before backing my trailer in place and commencing to setting up camp.
Nearly everyone’s camper in our site is sheltered by the shade offered by the trees next to the creek, and there’s a huge outdoor rug set up about halfway along the line of campers under the trees, surrounded by chairs, and I had breakfast there this morning with my mom and several friends while visiting.
It seems like in the last two years, it has flown by, and I’m just now realizing that I haven’t seen my people in so so long. It seems like every conversation has a bit in it where we discuss how long it’s been since we’ve seen each other and in almost every case it has been two years, before the pandemic.
I’m just so grateful that there is such a perfect event for us to be together as a family less than an hour from home, but it feels like a world away, and be with all of our people just spending some downtime. It’s not just an evening at the party pond, it’s a week next to the creek.
Looking to the future, I don’t wanna even imagine summertime where we don’t come here with our friends every year.
Making connections with customers here has been so fun. At so many of the big events, you say hello and smile at someone, and they hardly even look your way, like just by saying hello you’re trying to pitch a sale at them. Here they don’t shy away and they’re curious about what I’m doing and I think the neatest part is that I am selling several pieces of my jewelry here. I am just in the right culture, where there are other women who share my Eclectic Country Farmgirl Style, and these ladies are loving the look. They appreciate a piece of jewelry that is quality handmade, that is going to last them forever, and that is made from real deal materials. They also appreciate the uniqueness of the nature of salvaged materials art and that is part of the appeal for customers who come through my booth at an event like this. They’re enjoying watching me plasma cut, and I’ve done quite a few custom orders. I’m terrible sometimes at taking photos of customs, so I never get pics of them all.
This is our last live art event until the Lamar fair in late August. It’s amazing how quickly time passes and how rapidly Silver Dollar City’s Harvest Festival is approaching.
The last remaining bits of summer will be consumed by prep for SDC and the Christmas season. I’m glad I began making those holiday items all the way back in late December early January, because it lightens my workload this summer. It makes quarter four seem a little less daunting and I feel more prepared than ever.
I hope you’re enjoying your summer, dear followers. Mine from here on out is going to be full of a new routine. Get ready for video overload, because I’ve used this past week to catch up on beekeeping, a big salvaged materials shipment, special orders and the garden, and now I’m prepared to shift into the new routine and try a new tack on selling from the workshop, delving into the video realm that I’ve dipped my toes into but never truly embraced.
Stay cool and I’ll see ya soon!