National Ranching Heritage Center Hosts 49th Annual Ranch Day April 13

More than 5,000 visitors are expected for a day of fun at the ranch during the 49th Annual Ranch Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 13 at the National Ranching Heritage Center (NRHC) on the Texas Tech University campus.

The annual event is a crowd-pleaser for both the young and young at heart as chuck wagons, horses, cowboys, cattle, ranch wildlife, a “Snake Oil” magic show and an authentic Comanche tepee greet visitors. Admission is free with a suggested donation of $5 per family. Cash sale of hot dogs, hamburgers, kettle korn and lemonade will be available for those who want to eat while they visit.

Ranch Hosts dressed in pioneer clothing will be among the more than 150 volunteers who help with Ranch Day. Ranch Hosts will greet visitors and provide historical information about the 50 ranching structures that have been relocated and restored at the NRHC. The structures date from 1790 to the 1950s.

Ranch Day visitors can see an old-time “Snake Oil” magic show by magician Barry Moffitt at 10:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. in the 1909 Four Sixes Barn followed by an afternoon of branding demonstrations by Ranching Heritage Association members.

“Hands-on activities and demonstrations will focus on ranch skills and the history and science of ranching,” according to Julie Hodges, Helen DeVitt Jones Endowed Director of Education. “Children will have an opportunity to churn butter, ride a horse, make a rope and learn about wind energy, beef science, entomology, anthropology, forensic science, archery, ranch wildlife and more.”

Cabela’s Outpost will provide a safe shooting environment for children to shoot BB guns at targets placed inside an inflatable range. They also will provide an inflatable archery range with softtipped arrows for children to shoot plastic balls floating on air inside the range.

The Texas Tech Therapeutic Riding Team will help children with horseback rides while the Lubbock County 4-H Club will run a stick horse rodeo that will include roping and a bucking chute.

Hodges said children also can become ranch hands and receive work cards to earn wages for a hard day’s work. Ranch hands who complete six “work” activities can go to the 1880 Matador Office to spend their wages (reproduction of 1869 currency) on special items at the 1870s Waggoner Ranch Commissary.

Ranch Day also will emphasize contemporary ranching issues through hands-on ranch science demonstrations by the High Plains Water District, Quail Tech Alliance, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and other ranch-related organizations.

Supported by Texas Tech University and the Ranching Heritage Association, the NRHC is located at 3121 Fourth St. and is wheelchair and stroller accessible. For more information, visit or call 806.742.0498.

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