SYCAMORE SPRINGS RANCH: a once in a lifetime experience!
Published on Mon, 05/04/2015 - 1:27pm
It’s all been a vision for Jerry Rush, owner of Sycamore Springs Ranch. Rush says, “My goal is to make Sycamore Springs Ranch a destination place for all ages. “Anybody can come out here and enjoy the ranch. We’re pretty much centrally located in the country from north and south and east and west. The location is great.”
Where it All Started
“Believe it or not, my family bought part of this property in the early 1960s. I remember being in second grade and in those days it was really out in the middle of nowhere. My dad worked in Tulsa for American Airlines and with the drive back and forth, it was too much for him to take care of. So, after four years, they sold the place. We had a small part of this property, but it was more than my dad could take care of, so they sold it. It really broke their heart, and I told my dad that some day I would buy it.”It was not something the family wanted to do; it was just something that had to be done. “As kids, we loved it so much, and mom always said she wished we could get it back.” That became a motivation for Rush. Instilled by his father with the belief that he could achieve anything he wanted in life as long as he was willing to work for it, Rush kept the dream that someday the property would be his once again.
“It was after both of my parents were gone that I had the opportunity to buy the original part of the property we had. The gentleman that had originally purchased it from my dad passed away, and the family was going to sell it. That was in fall of 1999.”With that, Rush began the slow process of renovating the property and even began to build things that his mom and dad wanted to do back then, but couldn’t. “They are not here to see it, but they know I am doing it.” Over the years, Rush has been able to add on to the property parcel by parcel as neighbors put their land up for sale. Rush describes the 1,400-acre ranch as both rough and majestic. Rush says, “It’s rough terrain with lots of hills straight up and down similar to the Ozarks.”And he has kept building to the point that Sycamore Spring Ranch is a popular destination for people from across the United States. “Everything I have done, I have tried to be a visionary.” Thus all buildings and trails are designed to offer guests the optimum “outdoor” experience.
From the spectacular natural surroundings to the many recreational activities of the Arena and the main ranch, Sycamore Springs has everything an individual, family or group will need for an enjoyable and relaxing time. “We have five arenas including one that is covered, a state-of-the-art sale barn and the entertainment center referred to as the Mule Barn.” The luxury log lodge and cabins can accommodate up to 55 people. On event weekends, guests will enjoy hot home-cooked meals from the Chuck Wagon Café, which is located at the Arena or a short distance down the road at Rush’s Los Ranchos Authentic Mexican Restaurant.
Nature viewing expeditions can be done via horseback to enjoy the outdoors along with the opportunity to view a large variety of exotic animals. For those that own an RV, there are over 90 RV’s sites available along with covered stalls for equine partners.
Sycamore Springs Ranch can even tailor a special package and hosts packages for both individuals and groups:
- Reunions and proms.
- Company picnics
- Formal dinners
- Spiritual gatherings
- Business/corporate meetings
To help Rush’s vision to become a reality, he has recently hired Pro Rodeo announcer Tim Fuller as Arena Manager and Mesa Pate as Bull Trainer and Livestock Manager. Fuller and Pate are both highly recognized in the rodeo and bucking stock industry, which will increase the growth of Sycamore Springs Ranch.
Over the years, Rush has spent a lot of time raising and showing mules and donkeys. As he traveled the country, he noted all of the different styles of arenas. Then on a trip to California for Mule Days, he experienced a facility that made him decide to construct one at Sycamore Springs. “The goal was to build an arena that people right here in this area could enjoy.” So, the process began, and Rush has been expanding and upgrading the arena for the past six years. It is to the point now that it truly is a state-of-the-art arena and indoor sales barn.
The sale barn, designed and built for exotics, is used repeatedly for exotic sales, production sales for horses, commercial cattle and bucking stock cattle. It is a very unique sale barn where animals may be moved up and down the alleys as well as in and out the ring by means of sliding solid partitions.“There is great interest in exotic animals,” says Rush. “I designed this facility to make it the safest one possible for both the animals and the humans working the animals.” Rush has continued to add to the arena/sales facility with the construction of the café.Sycamore Springs Ranch offers guided hunts for elk, bison, water buffalo, fallow deer, axis deer, blackbuck antelope, sika deer, Russian wild boar, exotic rams, mouflon, aoudad and more.
Western Days Celebration
Recently, Sycamore Springs Ranch was host to over 2,500 people who attended the 4-day Western Days Celebration. Rush partnered with former professional bull and saddle bronc rider, Cord McCoy to make the four-day celebration a go-to event for all ages. It was the best the West could offer over a four-day period with all kinds of rodeo events plus a trade show with all kinds of vendors. The event was the time for those in attendance to kick up their heels and enjoy all of the activities including western music, trail rides and plain old western fun! Of the entertainment at Western Days, the Saturday evening performance was standing room only in a packed Mule Barn as those in attendance enjoyed the entertainment of western performer Red Steagall, who is known for his music, stories and cowboy poetry representing the American cowboy and western heritage.
Throughout the year, bucking bull associations hold events at the arena. They are competition events where the bulls buck against each other for pricey stakes. There are several classes of events, including the futurity class where a mechanical dummy is used on the bulls. Other classes include the derby, classic and maturity classes where riders are used. “While the rider classes are used in showcasing the bulls, the riders are also in competition.”
It’s About the Kids
Rush has a special place in his heart for youngsters, and with it has come an annual event: the Sycamore Ranch Kids Day. “So many kids never get the opportunity to be part of the outdoors. So, we have partnered with the Oklahoma Wildlife Department to host a special kids day each year. It’s all about introducing the kids to the great outdoors.”
Participating schools use the event as their end-of-the-year Field Trip. Each year it has grown to the point that Rush anticipates about 2,500 youngsters from up to 15 schools will attend this year’s event on May 8. “The Oklahoma Wildlife Department brings their educators and staff to help lead the Sycamore Springs Ranch volunteers, so we have plenty of adult supervision. There are activities for ages 6-9 and for ages 9-15.”
Activities all revolve around the outdoors with learning and hands on stations set up for the kids to experience: a freshly stocked fishing pond, duck and goose calling, trapping, skeet shooting, .22 rifle target shooting, pellet gun shooting, archery, a display of snakes of Oklahoma, a bass fishing simulator and even a mechanical bull. For small children, an inflatable’s playground is set up for them to enjoy.
“We had one young man a couple of years ago that couldn’t get enough of skeet shooting. He was so excited because he had always wanted to shoot a shotgun, but he had never had the chance!”
Rush is an avid hunter, outdoorsman and sportsman. From showing to riding and breeding world class world champion mules, performance donkeys, plus bucking bulls that have been selected to buck at the PBR world finals. Rush, who has hunted all over the world, loves hunting with bow or firearms. His favorite, bow hunting, has allowed him the honor of placing a number of trophies in the record books.
Build It and They Will Come
In a way, that’s what Jerry Rush has done with Sycamore Springs Ranch. As he has built it, the people have come. He has recaptured the joys of his youth and is now sharing it with others. And the vision is not complete. Rush hopes to make the ranch a place where people can come for an event and Sycamore Springs Ranch will be able to accommodate both people and animals with a comfortable place to stay. For more information please visit www.sycamorespringsranch.net.