Ponderosa going out with a bang
As the Ponderosa Ranch heads in to its 37th, and quite possibly last, season as a tourist destination in Incline Village, employees are making the best of what could be the ranch’s final year.
Ranch veteran Ponderosa Ken has been able to live out his dream of being a cowboy in his nine years at the ranch. Ken, a country singer in the saloon, said he loves the atmosphere of the ranch.
“I’ve always been a cowboy at heart and the cowboy atmosphere at the Ponderosa lets me live that out,” he said.
A former fire chief in Tulare, Ken said that he is sad that the Ponderosa may be sold because of what it represents to the baby boomers.
“There’s a lot of history here,” Ken said. “This place represents history to those of us who grew up with television westerns. It’ll be missed. But these are great people and we’re going to have a great summer. There’s nothing sad about that.”
Nancy Collins, who works in the Indian store, has been at the ranch for three years. She came to the ranch to be with her husband Lloyd, who has been one of the ministers performing weddings at the chapel for the past six years.
“It took me three years to get up here,” said Collins, who spent several years in the corporate world. “Working here (Ponderosa) and in the corporate world is like night and day.”
Collins said that her experience at the Ponderosa has been nothing but positive.
“These are great people to work for and I’ve met so many other interesting people in my time here,” Collins said.
Asked her reaction on the possible sale, Collins said, “I say, good for them (Geddes and Anderson families, owners of the ranch). Sure, it’s sad, but I’m happy for them. They’ve worked hard for a lot of years and they deserve a break.”
As for how Collins will approach this possible final season, “We’re just going to have fun and make the most of it for our visitors and ourselves.”
Rookie employees Bob and Micki Dougherty from Fresno are making the most of the ranch’s last season by taking advantage of a very popular feature at the ranch.
“We’re going to renew our vows in the chapel,” Micki Dougherty said.
The Doughertys, who deem themselves ‘RVers’ said they spend most of their summers traveling and the ranch seemed like a great place to work.
“This is a ball,” Micki Dougherty said. “And I do feel sad that this may be the last season. These are great people to work for. They’ve made it fun.”
“Oh, it is too bad that this could be it,” Bob Dougherty said. “But we’ll make the most of it.”
George Bogue was always a fan of ‘Bonanza’ growing up in Longview, Texas, so he couldn’t believe that he would actually be working at the Ponderosa.
“I travel around in a fifth-wheel to various resorts around the country, but this is the ultimate,” Bogue said. “I always watched ‘Bonanza’ growing up, and to be here is fantastic.”
Bogue, who will head for Arizona in the winter said that he is sad about the possible sale but, “I feel very fortunate that we had at least one year here. It’s a part of our culture and I’ll miss it but now I can say that I was part of it.”