by Tony Coppi
The Rawhide Ranch and Retreat is truly a unique lodging experience. It provides adventure, activity and comfort for those who love the outdoors.
Rawhide Ranch resembles the old western towns like Tombstone, Dodge City, Cheyenne, Loredo, and the O.K. Corral. The only things missing are the Indians circling the covered wagons and cattle drives, yet it is only a few minutes from downtown Nashville. Outdoor activities include horseback riding, guided trail rides, hayrides, a riding arena, fishing, a playground for children, campfires and more.
The Ranch House sits on a knoll overlooking 50 acres of peaks and valleys. It is a rustic and very comfortable home for special events featuring a wooden deck with enough space to accommodate large parties. There are three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a full kitchen. It is surrounded by trees and hills and is bordered by the thousands of acres of beautiful scenery of the Brown County State Park.
The Buck Inn sits in a valley. The private recreational development is not a typical hotel but a horsetel—it’s a hotel for horses and people.
The lower area of the Buck Inn is a 32-horse stall barn (16 outside and 16 inside) the interior is utilized for large groups, cowboy suppers, and barn dances.
The upper level has eleven rooms—each with its own individual restroom and sleeping from two to six. The decor is rustic with furniture custom designed and handcrafted by the Amish.
Every ranch has a bunk house. At this ranch it serves as an office to arrange special events, company parties, and corporate or business meetings. Souvenir T-Shirts and caps are available.
The tepee at the entrance of the ranch is in a large meadow. Guests can spend the night in the large wigwam with a campfire in the middle and with enough space for eight to ten people’s bedrolls.
People who are not experienced horse riders may take lessons in the riding area.
Rawhide Ranch is a perfect setting for family vacations, group vacations’ reunions, horse shows and even old-fashioned hayrides followed by a campfire and a singing cowboy.
After spending a day on trail rides, fishing in the well-stocked pond, pitching horseshoes, shooting hoops at the basketball court, or riding all day in the saddle it’s a good time for relaxing in one of the two jacuzzis located in a secluded wooded area.
Last September two men from Indianapolis, real estate developer Dan (better known as Hoss) Cartwright and David Stirsman, an attorney, purchased the property.
“David and I have been going out west for 20 years for pack rides in the Rocky Mountains and would stay in the mountains for five or six days. These experiences out west really encouraged me (and David) to find a place that we could operate and try to replicate the old west atmosphere that we experienced in the last twenty years. That was really the motivation to buy this land and try to replicate our own experience out west for people in Indiana,” Cartwright explained.
Ranch hands include Mike Ryle, the foreman and Jennifer (Jenny) Cartwright, the ranch manager.
Ryle has been around horses most of his life. “I worked on a racehorse farm and broke a couple of horses, but I it was hard on the body,” he said. He once helped to bronk-bust a horse for an Indianapolis Colts football player. He keeps his own horse, Pete, at the ranch.
Jenny Cartwright is the daughter of Hoss Cartwright. She began riding horses when she was only seven years old and has shown horses at open western shows. She also serves as a trail leader and gives riding lessons at the ranch.
Rawhide Ranch is also the perfect setting for the filming of a western movie—the wilderness trails, the horses grazing in the pastures, the surrounding beauty of the hills and valleys, the rolling meadows, and the rustic buildings are reminiscent of the days of the old wild west.
Rawhide Ranch Outfitters is located at 1292 State Road 135 South and can be reached at 812-988-0085 or on the web at <www.rawhideranchoutfitters.com>.