Flying W Ranch
The Flying W Ranch was a working mountain cattle ranch, and since 1953 a tourism venue in the foothills of Colorado Springs, Colorado. From May to October, the ranch featured outdoor chuckwagon suppers typical of those served on cattle drives, and western style living history areas.
Beginning the first weekend in October, meals and entertainment moved indoors to the Winter Steakhouse, through the third weekend in December and again from early March through mid May. The Picketwire Bar, named for the Purgatoire River was built in the 1880s and moved to its present location in 1969.
Meals were followed by the cowboy singing by the Flying W Wranglers. The Flying W Wranglers were a part of the ranch's traditional entertainment from 1953 to 2012, making them the world's second oldest western singing group. Made up of working cowboys on the Flying W Ranch, the members participated in branding each fall as well as all other duties of farm-and-ranch life. There was an on-site recording studio where the Flying W Wranglers preserved their music.
The Flying W Chuckwagon (with the Flying W Wranglers) was part of the Chuckwagon Association of the West, that consisted of five other member chuck-wagons located in Wyoming, South Dakota, New Mexico, Missouri, and Colorado, all of which featured traditional chuck-wagon cooking, followed by professional-quality after-supper entertainment of comedy and western songs.
The Flying W Ranch was destroyed by the Waldo Canyon fire on June 26, 2012. The owners have committed to rebuilding it. The General Manager at the time, Jay Chladek, had his wedding and reception June 22, 2012, and left for his honeymoon the morning of the evacuation. He was still on his honeymoon when the Flying W Ranch was destroyed by the fire. He worked for the Flying W Ranch for almost 27 years. The final event at the location was a wedding in the Old Chapel on Saturday June 23, 2012. The wedding party and guests were evacuated by police immediately following the service as staff and employees rushed to save as many artifacts as possible.