Back to the Ranch was a great success! With a support staff of almost 30 people composed of models, assistants, make-up artists, VIP instructors and myself, it was one of the largest events Iâ€™ve ever handled and weâ€™re going to do it again. Many thanks to everyone that made it such a great event. An event like no other ever held before that will leave memories burned in people’s minds, in addition to great friendships and photographs.
It began around 2 a.m., Thursday morning, as I drove out to Canton, Texas in my packed Suburban. About 45-minutes down the road on Interstate 35 North, I made a decision that almost sent BTTR into a whirlwind of uncertainty as I opened the sunroof directly above me for some fresh air. First there was that rushing air sound, as I was driving at 70 mph, then a sucking vacuum cleaner sound like something had just flown out the roof.
That something was not planned. After a few seconds, still traveling at a high-rate of speed down the inside lane, I realized, it was the cashierâ€™s check to pay for our lodging for the entire group of photographer attendees, my models, make-up artists, assistants and VIPâ€™s.
A check with a value of two-digits in front of three zeros, right out the window on the busiest Interstate in Texas, often know as the death trap between San Antonio and Austin. I immediately slowed down, panicked, and pulled over inside toward the concrete barrier. I began thinking, as I cautiously, but dangerously backed up looking in my mirror for that now lost checkâ€”what if a the check had floated down into another vehicleâ€™s grill or bumper and was head down the Interstate on itâ€™s own? What if it had floated to the other side of the expressway and was now headed back to San Antonio?
Short of a heart attack, my thoughts raced in my head, what do I tell the folks at the Mill Creek Resort, the dog ate the check? It never worked for my teachers with homework. Then after a coming to my senses, I crossed three lanes of traffic to the shoulder side of the road, at the same time noticing a car, backing up on the access road, not just any car, a Sheriffâ€™s deputy car. As I exited my vehicle, I ran through the grassy area between the expressway shoulder and the access road and when the deputy rolled down his window, I said, â€œOfficer, I need your help, I just lost a high-dollar cashiers check on the expressway, and without hesitation the deputy parked, took his flashlight and helped me with the frantic search.
About fifteen minutes later and a quarter-mile of the Interstate thoroughly searched, he crossed the expressway and found it next to the concrete divider. As he crossed back to the safer shoulder, I thanked deputy S. Masters of Comal County profoundly. He told me to put the check safely away and not to place it on the dash or the visor area. As he drove off, I was still in disbelief.
Fortunately, though there were a few very minor glitches, BTTR didnâ€™t follow the early morning format of almost giving me a heart attack, instead, with the help of 14 great models, assistants, make-up artists, the VIP instructors and the attendees, we overcame some minor quirks and pulled it off with great success. Like VIP Shelly Katz stated at the closing ceremony, â€œRemember, this was the first Back to the Ranch and youâ€™ll always remember it as there will be a second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, etc., Back to the Ranch Event, but there will only be one first and you were here, thatâ€™s why I we took that group picture too.â€
Harrison Funk added, â€œI had such a great time, I canâ€™t wait to do it again.â€ I commented back Harrison with, â€œwe will do it again.â€ While the attendees were in awe of the VIPâ€™s and all the great talent, it ultimately took 30 support staff, plus the staff at Mill Creek, to pull it off. We all did it as a team, but more importantly, because of the passion. It wasnâ€™t just another event. Like when American Idol Superstar Amy Davis sang to the group at both the opening and closing ceremonies, we felt her passion in her voice just like the passion in photography and modeling filling the air at the Mill Creek Resort in Canton.
There are many memories and more that Iâ€™m sure will be talked about for the days and years to come. Great friendships and photographs were created and we all gained some type of experience weâ€™ll never forget.
As I drove away from the â€œranch,â€ I opened my sunroof, though this time I made sure there was nothing in my visor and the sound of the air rushing buy as I drove down the Interstate was like a breath of fresh air, I was satisfied and so were the attendees, models, assistants, make-up artists and the VIP photographers and I thought of Eli Reedâ€™s closing remarks the night before, â€œThis was like a vacation, I truly enjoyed it and look forward to it again.â€