Butte Star Ranch offers a place for family fun
Kristen Bisby and some of her siblings may feel like dudes on their new ranch, but their dad is an old-time cow poke.
"I'm the oldest and know the most about horses, so they let me manage it," Joe Handy said about his family's new venture, the Butte Star Ranch.
The Sutter ranch used to be called the Rafter K Stables, and was best known for its cowboy poetry festivals.
Bisby, her brother Jerry Handy and her parents, Becky and Joe Handy, are partners in the 19-acre ranch on South Butte Road they bought in February.
Now, they want to take a different tack with the business, encouraging families to bring children to the ranch and saddle up and take lessons, or just rent a horse.
Kristen Bisby said the place used to have a reputation for cursing and drinking, something her family would like to change to more of a family-oriented atmosphere.
"We want to make this stable a family atmosphere, that people can come and know that it is safe for their families," Bisby said.
In a way, the family is coming back to its roots.
While Bisby, a Realtor, doesn't have much horse background, her father grew up on the family's Handy Ranch in Browns Valley. In its heyday, the ranch owned by Pert and Gladys Handy had 400 head of cattle and ten horses.
The family approach will combine the talents of both her parents. Bisby's mother, Becky Handy, ran a daycare center for 20 years, while father Joe owned a construction business.
Now, he's the manager for the ranch, which has indoor and outdoor riding arenas, boarding stalls and a concession stand.
"I was raised in Browns Valley around horses and cows, so doing this is fun," Joe Handy said.
Bisby said there is room for additional horses, as a lot of the boarders went with the ranch's previous trainer.
This summer, the ranch will be the setting for gymkhanas and junior rodeo competitions, including a June 6 junior rodeo.
Appeal-Democrat reporter John Dickey can be reached at 749-4711. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.