Gift #55: Flying W Ranch

When my family lived in Colorado, one of our very favorite places to go was Flying W Ranch.  I mentioned Flying W in a previous post when I was on vacation in Denver.  Founded in 1953 by Russ and Marion Wolfe, it’s been a working ranch and tourist destination ever since.  We would always go early to tour the Old West town before dinner.  They had a lovely little town with a general store, chuckwagon, tepee village, prison, school, and church.  There were also lots of trails to hike on.  One of the hidden gems on the ranch was Marion Wolfe’s cooking library.  She loved to cook and amassed so many cookbooks that they fill and entire room!  There are lots of tables in the library so you could leisurely browse and copy the recipes you liked.  Another popular destination was the biscuit stand, where you could get fresh biscuits and honey – right from the pan.  But better not spoil your appetite for dinner!

Ahh, yes, the dinner.  It was a fabulous chuckwagon supper complete with trimmings.  They served tender beef and chicken, swimming in barbecue sauce, baked potato, red beans, applesauce, more biscuits, and spice cake that was imported direct from heaven.  To this day,  I have never tasted anything like it.  Then there was coffee, tea, and lemonade to drink.  After everyone was served (this took a while because there were often more than 1000 people in attendance) and enjoying their meal (and you could go back for seconds…or thirds), then the concert would start.  The Flying W Wranglers would put on quite a show.  They are the second oldest western group (right behind Sons of the Pioneers).  They’d play the great classic Western songs, original compositions, and some funny songs too.  One of my favorite memories is of one of the members, Scotty Vaughn, dressing up as a squirrel and singing the Mississippi Squirrel Revival. 

We had great times there and spent so many summer evenings down there.  I learned today that it burned to the ground on Tues in the Waldo fire, along with many homes in the area.  I am heartbroken to hear the news, as it was such a special place to my family, and to the thousands that came each year.  My heart and prayers go out to the owners, management, employees, and friends of Flying W. 

Flying W Ranch

My favorite place at Flying W was the church.  It was the perfect, quintessential prairie church.  Made of rough-hewn planks, it was very rustic, but beautiful, with just a simple podium and tall windows along the length of building.  It was a functional church, and was open for weddings and special occasions.  Scotty Vaughn, one of the Flying W Wranglers, is the senior pastor of Church on the Ranch.  He had written this song back in 1993 and it was one of my favorites that they played for concerts.  I always thought about this song when we visited the church and it seems appropriate to share it with you today in honor of this special place.

Church out on the Plains
There were just six folks attending that old Church out of the Plains,
A tattered roof that needed mending, but no one there complained.
An old white picket fence that went just halfway around,
They just leaned the gate against it since a norther blew it down.
Through the window past the altar how those distant mountains shone,
It seemed like they climbed straight on up unto God’s holy throne.
And I know that in my heart Jesus Christ will always reign,
But I was never closer in Him than that Church out on the Plains.
I still get a picture in my mind’s eye now and then,
Of my Daddy reading scripture, then Mama’d sing a hymn.
It seems no matter where I might have traveled in my life,
I could go back in my prayers on any given night.
That cross on the wall was fashioned by my Granpa’s hand,
My Mama’s Uncle Paul carved angels on the Bible stand.
They built a temple to the Lord that’s stood in wind and rain,
And they built a faith in my heart at that Church out on the Plain
–Scotty Vaughn

Please join with me in remembering the people of Colorado Springs in your thoughts and prayers. 

Blessings to you,


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