Sharing a Slice of Country
When most people, including those of us that live here think of Montana, we think of rural ranches, farms, wildlife and the great outdoors. However, there are so many of us that spend our days in our bustling little city, dropping off our kids at school, picking them up, running them to practice, and living our lives as city folk.
It is true that we are not far removed from the rural life that our state has such a reputation for, as it is truly right outside our door in every direction. As you drive out of Billings, ranches sit nestled in every corner. However, that is for many of us, where our connection with the rural ideals and ranch life ends. Seeing them as we pass by on the interstate as we drive out of town.
One local family however that has made the decision to open their world to the public to give “A Slice of Country” to those of us that have never experienced rural life or have become distanced from it.
The Weldon Ranch was homesteaded in the early 1900s and is still run by the Weldon Family today. Dick and Monica Weldon and their children, are the second and third generation to live on this ranch rich with rural culture. It was four years ago that they were sitting around an outdoor camp fire and made the decision to open up their ranch for group gatherings. “We were sitting around on a beautiful summer evening and were discussing just how lucky we were to have this experience.” says Monica Weldon, otherwise known as “Grandma to those who visit the ranch”. It was then and there that “A Slice of Country” was born.
Since then, many family members including granddaughters Katelyn and Helen share in the workload. Each have a special responsibility from caring for the animals, keeping us within the law and taking care of paper work, to grounds keeper (which just so happens to be Grandma Weldon’s job). Mr. Weldon is known as the farmer that drives the tractor that pulls the wagon or Grandpa Weldon. As a life time rancher and prefers that recognition to any other.
Over the past few years, the Weldons have hosted many groups. Many birthdays have been celebrated on the ranch along with a military reunion, family reunions, Christmas events, organization events such as The Red Hat ladies and the Friendship Force. Some of the favorite moments of sharing come from the many school groups that visit in the spring. “There are so many little ones that have never been face to face with these farm animals. They are unaware of where the food on their table comes from” says Mrs. Weldon.
There is plenty to do on the Weldon ranch. You can enjoy the country life and visit the many animals, take a relaxing hayride, sit around a campfire or just enjoy romping around the grounds complete with rope swings.
The Weldon family continues to create new ways to share this country experience beyond birthday parties and family gatherings. They are beginning summer camps this month to give children an experience with nature, animals and the outdoors. So if you are looking for “A Slice of Country” the good news is that you don’t have to look very far. For more information on “A Slice of Country” please call (406)245-1199. For more information regarding upcoming summer camps call (406) 670-4629.