If you ever find yourself dreaming of a blanket of stars, the silent roam of cattle, or the crackle of campfire, Chico Basin Ranch plans to make this dream come true.
On Saturday, Oct. 6, the Ranch will host “Ranchlands Concert with Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans.” Proceeds from the all-evening concert will benefit the myriad of education and outreach programs offered on the premises.
The festivities kick off at noon on Saturday. The campground will open and concertgoers are encouraged to set up tents for the night ahead. An afternoon on the expansive Ranch blends gently into the night as Ranch Manager Michael Moon and his wife Dawn get the music started at 7:00 p.m. Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans will follow suit. Lund, whose album “Cabin Fever” went to number one on iTunes Canada, will breathe life into some rockin’ country tunes and dance concertgoers late into the evening.
Campfire stories and songs will be shared around the glow of firelight. Personal instruments are encouraged and the festivities are expected to continue until two in the morning before a soundless night’s sleep, home on the range.
Saturday’s event will mark the third consecutive year of fundraising concerts on the land. Past artists include Hayes Carl and Joe Pub. According to Cowboy David Leach, the magic of these concerts is their relaxed atmosphere and ranch setting.
Sustainability and profitability are challenging for any enterprise. The Ranch presently raises money through an active list of recreational pursuits. The public is welcome at any time and a day pass costs $15. Popular activities include birding, hiking, and biking on the extensive trail network. Hunting and fishing are also welcome and the Ranch hosts a specialized club for such sportsmen.
The education program is also quite robust. About 2,000 students participate in preservation and ranch-based activities each year, including groups from CC. According to Cowboy Brent Vale, “the education program is provided free for people to learn about ranching and nature and our land stewardship practices.”
School groups will often spend the afternoon re-enacting life as a pioneer in the renovated Lone Star Prairie School House. Other groups will take advantage of the Chico Basin Bird Roundup or the Prairie Ecosystem and Ranching the New West curriculum.
According to Vale, the latter two programs “cover prairie ecosystems in depth. We teach students about ranching’s role today and how we use cattle and rotational grazing to manage land, by mimicking the migration and grazing patterns of herd animals like bison when they roamed free.”
The education program is currently supported through a mixture of grant financing and fundraising. Chico Days, a family-focused May event, raises money with wagon rides, horsemanship demonstrations, and fishing activities throughout the day. The concerts themselves have been quite successful, and according to Vale and Leach, The Ranch anticipates expanding the annual concert series into a three-day festival some time next year. Musical acts both new and old will strum in the name of conservation education programs and several artists have already expressed interest.
Vale and Leach specify that “the fundraising goal is to eventually have the concerts supplementing the free education programs…and to make the programs as robust as possible.” So every little bit helps. So, come one, come all for an evening of music under the stars.
The Chico Basin Ranch is an 87,000-acre working cattle ranch, just 35 minutes southeast of Colorado Springs. Dedicated to sound stewardship of prairie land, the Ranch offers education and recreation opportunities in that vein. The Duke Phillips family manages Chico Basin under their company Ranchlands. Ranchlands assists the development and maintenance of ranch land throughout the West and elsewhere.
Tickets to Saturday’s “Ranchlands Concert with Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans” cost $20. Camping is $15. The entire event is BYOB. Burritos and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for sale. Directions to the Chico Basin Ranch are available on the website: http://www.chicobasinranch.com/
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