This fifth-generation family-run Saskatchewan business looks to highlight its traditional ranch and cultural heritage to European visitors through CTC’s program.
Millions have dreamt of being a cowboy. At Historic Reesor Ranch, SK, travellers from around the world get to play out that ambition. From guided hiking in the Cypress Hills Wilderness Area to as much horseback riding that visitor saddles can take, it’s an authentic way for travellers to connect to Canada and its people.
The Cypress Hills Cowboy Adventure is a valued member of the Canadian Tourism Commission(CTC)’s Signature Experiences Collection® (SEC). CTC News is running a series of case studies putting Collection members under the spotlight and letting them tell their stories in their own words. Here, Scott and Theresa Reesor, co-owners of Historic Reesor Ranch, tell of their family’s history in this majestic slice of Saskatchewan countryside and their role in keeping it alive.
What inspired you to get into the tourism business?
My mother started a B&B here in 1991. When we moved back to the Cypress Hills we helped her out with the business and decided it was a good way for us to diversify as well. In the fall of 1997, the baton was officially passed to us. We draw continual inspiration for our work from the notes in the guestbook and keeping the local history and culture alive. We’ve got a great tourism destination here—not just our ranch but also the surrounding Cypress Hills area, where guests can go hiking in the nature reserve. It’s really in the heart of nature, with a beautiful dark-night sky. The closest town is an hour away by car.
What’s the biggest challenge facing your business today?
The fact that we are so remote means getting here can be tricky. There’s quite a bit of gravel on the roads. There’s the weather, too. It gets very muddy in the spring, while the snowload is heavy in the winter. Being right on the border of Saskatchewan and Alberta it’s tough for us to get consistent road maintenance.
Have you worked with the CTC before? If so, how did that go?
Tell us more about the Cypress Hills Cowboy Adventure experience in the Collection.
Guests come here to experience real ranch life, usually in spring, summer or fall. Part of that is giving them hearty, ranch-style meals like breakfast, with bacon and eggs, fresh fruit, coffee and toast, or supper when we can cook some of our own grass-fed natural beef from the ranch for our guests. There’s horseback riding of course—as much as they want! If people are here during the round-up and branding week, they can help out with that, too, moving cattle around on horseback. Then there’s swapping stories round a campfire, or just taking in the incredible peace and quiet of life in the open air.
What immediate benefits do you see for Historic Reesor Ranch through being a Collection member? And how are you promoting your membership?
It’s been great. We’ve already had a heap of increased publicity and PR exposure through being a member. CTC has great inroads into markets overseas and across Canada that we can tap into now. We’ve also given all of CTC’s toolkits a good read, and we’re using the “Canada—Keep Exploring” logo on our website. We’re really honoured to be part of the program—it’s a win-win for us. We’re also really thankful to Tourism Saskatchewan for helping us so much along the way, and we look forward to seeing even more members join in.
Are there specific international markets that you can see your business resonating in through the Signature Experiences Collection®?
It should really raise our profile in Europe. The German market is especially big for us.