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Happy 125th Birthday Y.O. Ranch!

Its difficult to imagine just what life must have been like for early settlers who lived in the Texas Hill Country during the 1880s. Although, one would only need to tour the Historic; Buildings, Pavilions, Cabins & Plaques which pepper the Y.O. Ranch to gain some sort of perspective of just how much Critical Texas History must have taken place on this majestic 40,000 acre slice of the South Central Texas. I know every time I visit the Y.O. Ranch I come home with several more larger than life stories that are part of this Ranchs Colorful History. Im sure if you check a Texas Dictionary you will find that the words Y.O. Ranch have always been defined as Legendary Texas Hill County Hospitality. If you ask any of this past weeks YO Wheelin participants they will agree the Y.O Ranch Legend lives on.

I must admit, one of the most touching stories I heard over the weekend was a tale of a young couple who met on the Y.O. Ranch during an off-roading event and several years later they were married at the highest point on the Ranch in a private wedding ceremony, on a ledge we wheelers call Lonnys Lookout. In fact Lonnies Lookout is itself named after a colorful character that made an annual pilgrimage to the Y.O. Ranch from the Texas Panhandle for years to off-road and enjoy the scenic ranch. After Lonnies death his friends and several members of the Trail Guide Staff dedicated this spot to him because he was also so emotionally connected to the Y.O. Ranch and Ranch Wheeling was connected to Lonnie. No one knows for sure how many other stories are tied between Wheelers and the Ranch but Im sure this weekend hundreds more memories were added by most of us.

Part of our Trail Guide Staff bunked in the Sam Houston Room which once was the Countys first School House. For the past 11 years Ive walked by this historic building and Ive read this and other Historical Markers many times and I find myself wondering what life was like when this building first opened to the public. I also find myself pondering if the early Texas Settlers could have imagined that we would be congregating on this Ranch for a weekend of Wheeling in a Wranglers rather then a weekend of Wrangling Longhorn Cattle by horseback.

Once again the Y.O. Ranch has played host to a YO Wheelin Weekend where contrary to popular belief; Jeep, Toyota and Hummer owners not only coexisted but in many cases may have formed lifelong bonds revolving around a weekend at the Y.O. Ranch. Our weekend together began last Friday afternoon April 21st as we congregated under the beautiful pavilion so participants could sign in and select their trails and guide team. We chatted over a few Cold Lone Stars and enjoyed a fantastic fajita dinner as well as each others company; some wheelers rekindled old friendships while others forged new ones.

Early Saturday morning under a clear cool sky we gathered in the Pavilion again for a Hardy Cowboy Breakfast and a brief drivers safety meeting. After the meeting we picked up our sack lunches and hit the trail for nearly 10 hours of wheeling. The event was divided into four color groups that ranged from mild to wild. I think most participants found that the trial they selected offered as much Risk vs. Safety as they were hoping for. As I understand, those folks who bit off a bit more than they were planning on were able to have plenty of fun too, thanks to their watchful trail guides who skillfully directing them over and around challenges. After a six month drought the ranch was blessed with 2 inches of rain the day before we arrived which made all of the trails a tad more difficult than the previous 9 work-day weekends had pre-viewed.

As dusty drivers and passengers returned they chose between a refreshing shower, few cold beers under the shady outdoor pavilion or a dip in the cool crystal clear waters of the Famous Y.O. Ranch Pool. Our Saturday Night Barbeque Dinner provided later that night was delicious and watching our fellow participants haul off all kinds of door prizes and sponsor gifts after dinner provided plenty of entertainment for the group. As I wondered off to bed late Saturday night I saw about 30% of the Red Group still going at it over a few hands of Texas Hold-em while others were playing pool in the lodge. One last thing if you are a cigar smoker, the porch to the Lodge offers a comfortable location to enjoy a premium smoke as you look over the bluff and pool area to take in clear Texas Evening and ponder the days events or contemplate the ranchs glorious history.

Sunday after another campfire breakfast participants had to make a difficult choice between: More Wheeling, a Guided African Animal Safari Tour or an afternoon of Horseback Riding some folks chose to sit back at the pool and relax before their trip home. Most of the Wheeling on Sunday was wrapped up by 2:00 pm but the Rough and Ready Blue Group did not roll up to the lodge until about 4:30. I think they just had a hard time having the weekend coming to an end.

On a personal note, Id like to thank the Staff of the Y.O. Ranch for yet another memorable Y.O. weekend. Id also like to say Thank You, Sam & Margo Davis for inviting me to assist on the trail guide team. Brad, Max, Shawn you were a fantastic group of guides to work with, I had a blast. To all my new buddies on the Yellow Group both Saturday and Sunday thank you for trusting us with your rigs! We hope to see all of you all at another YO Wheelin weekend at the Y.O, Ranch soon. Please enjoy the photos they are there for all of you to recall our weekend together or assist you in making plans for joining us for future events and making your own Y.O. Ranch Memories.
See you on the trail soon,
Greg Machado

If you have pictures or video to share from this event, email info@JeepTales.com and we will send you a link to upload your images.

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Tanya Phillips Red
William Crawley Red
Sam & Margo Davis
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