DEL RIO (WATE) – Have you ever wanted to get the experience of going to a dude ranch but traveling out west was just too costly?
You can get the cowboy experience right here in East Tennessee and it takes less than a tank of gas to get there from Knox County.
The Wild West is in East Tennessee, complete with cowboys and a cattle drive. One of the owners, Bobby Gannon, says he has always been a cowboy at heart and opening up a ranch was his dream.
“I’ve been a cowboy basically since I was a kid. I started when I was 5 or 6 years old riding mules on the farm, and about 10 years old I started riding horses,” said Gannon.
Gannon and his son Shawn opened the French Broad Outpost Ranch in 2001. It’s located on Old River Road in Del Rio.
“Tennessee just had land that we could afford, so we came to Tennessee and started looking around. We started out toward Middle Tennessee and ended up here in Cocke County,” said Gannon.
The Gannons own dozens of horses and a top-of-the-line lodge in hundreds of acres and breath-taking views. The ranch is a vacation destination ideal for any level rider, beginner to advanced.
Many people like Robert Powell escape the city to relax at the ranch.
“This is definitely not normal because you can come out here even if you’re not a cowboy type, which is nice and be one for a little while,” said Powell.
The ranch offers many horseback riding activities, from going on a cattle drive and team penning to trail riding.
At the ranch you don’t just ride a horse. You take care of one by grooming and saddling the animal yourself so you build a bond with it.
“We’re going to teach you how to saddle, how to groom, how to take care while you’re here, because you get a horse for a week if that’s how long you stay,” said Shawn Gannon.
If horses aren’t your thing the ranch also offers rafting, swimming and live entertainment. The ranch is all-inclusive. Everything from lodging to the home-cooked meals is included in the package price.
Robert says with all the horseback riding and relaxation, he and his wife will return.
“The combination of the horses, the atmosphere and the people, we will definitely be back for sure,” said Powell.
For more information on the French Broad Outpost Ranch call 1-800-995-POST or visit their website.