MORA — David and Brandy Von Holten, formerly of Higginsville, are in the process of making the Von Holten Ranch a weekend destination, complete with horse trails and competitions, cabins, RV camper sites and other amenities all on 300 acres of beautiful Pettis County land.
The ranch, located on Pacific School Road, is a Century Farm that has been in David’s family since 1906. Remnants of the original buildings are still present on the property.
“This has been in my husband’s family for 108 years,” Brandy said. “We’re the fourth generation to own this piece of land.”
Brandy will begin teaching seventh and eighth grade science this fall at Smith-Cotton Junior High School, and David, who previously co-owned U.S. Rents and Sells in Sedalia, will work full-time at the ranch.
The couple has plans to officially open the last part of July. Once all construction is completed later in the year, they will have 40 electrical sites for RVs, five cabins with air conditioning, an arena, a lounge, guest showers and restrooms, 124 horse stalls, and riding trails.
“We’ll have over 40 miles of riding trails that are marked and color coded,” she said.
The public can bring their own horses and ride for $10 or rent the ranch horses for a guided ride at $40 per person.
Brandy said the electrical sites for RVs and horse trailers with living quarters are 20, 30 and 50 amp. Cabins are rented at a per night rate of $60 for small cabins, $120 for medium cabins and $180 for a large cabin. She added the shower house will feature six showers and six bathrooms.
The Von Holten’s are in the process of building the cabins and will soon begin building their own home on the property.
“We are in between houses right now,” Brandy said. “We will have a house built for us toward the end of July. We’re going to build a small section of our house that will have the lounge, where we’ll have custom horseshoe artwork that David makes. And we’ll have supplies in there for sale.”
The lounge will carry horse supplies plus memorabilia and souvenirs. They are also starting construction on an approximately 150-by-200-foot horse arena that will eventually be enclosed.
“We’ll have rental horses,” Brandy added. “We’ll have a pony for birthday parties.”
Jolly Rancher the party pony will entertain children and the Von Holten’s matching pair of Haflinger draft horses, Sunup and Sundown, will be available to pull wagons.
“They are seasoned wagon pullers,” she said.
The couple has also planned several horse related competition events open to the public this fall.
“We are hosting the first ever Missouri State Championship for the EXCA … and that is Extreme Cowboy Association,” Brandy said. “That’s a huge deal — it’s been underrepresented in Missouri. It’s basically a competition of who is the best cowboy. You have to able to jump a barrel, make your horse walk sideways, crack a bull-whip while you are standing on top of your horse, you have to able to do anything.”
The EXCA Championship will be Sept. 6 and 7 at the ranch and is at the top level of the “cowboy challenges.” The Ultimate Horsemans Challenge Association (UHCA) is slightly less difficult and the American Competitive Trail Horse Association (ACTHA) being entry level.
Brandy said a “big draw” for people to enter the EXCA championship is that during the ranch’s Missouri State Championship they will receive double points. This will help increase the rider’s chances of going on to compete in the world championship. She added that the event should bring in more than 100 cowboys from all over.
“You’re going to have some world-class cowboys right here in Sedalia,” she said. “It’s a world-class event.”
The ranch’s next event will be a horsemanship and obstacle clinic with Lee Hart, of Topeka, Kan.
“He’s been a world champion in several different genres,” Brandy said. “He’s coming here to do a three-day clinic.”
The event will be hosted Oct. 10-12.
“But on the 10th, he’s going to do a free kid’s clinic,” she noted. “And I’m asking for a donation, and the donation will go to Children’s Mercy Hospital. That is just for the first 12 kids and I’ve already gotten six signed up.”
Oct. 11 and 12 is an adult clinic. Hart will be giving the clinic at a reduced rate of $175 for both days.
The third event will be the ACTHA Missouri State Ranch Series to be hosted in October.
“I came together with three other trail riding facilities in the state of Missouri and then we went together and made a buckle series,” she said. “So it’s four competitions, and our’s is Oct. 18 and 19. You have to register online at the ACTHA site. But our competition, everyone is going to win a prize.”
The Grand Opening for the Von Holten Ranch will be hosted Sept. 20.
“We have Hawaiian dancers coming in from out-of-town,” Brandy said. “We’ll have a smoked hog, and then we’ll have music and entertainment.”
She added that when the arena is finished they will have an event room for weddings.
“We’ll also have a certified kitchen in 2015, where we can serve meals,” she said.
Also in the works is a chuck wagon race and national barrel racing competitions.
Von Holten Ranch will be open to the public the last of July. Their hours of operation are from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. The ranch is located 14 miles southeast of Sedalia at 30455 Pacific School Road. For more information, call Brandy at 816-719-5988, email her at email@example.com or visit their website at vonholtenranch.com., or visit facebook.com/vonholtenranch1906.