PLATTE COUNTY – Myrle Ingle and his wife Birgit made the move from Colorado for the same reason many before them have. They fell in love with Wyoming.
“We were actually going to build a horse barn in Colorado,” he said. “And we found this place three years ago, so we came up to look at it, fell in love with it and decided not to build and to go ahead fix this place up.”
The ranch which has 59 acres of land had good bones, but just needed a little updated and sprucing up, according to the couple. As they purchased the property, the name they came up with was as long as a sunset and explained who they were.
The Rafter MB with, of course Myrle and Birgit’s initials which is also in their iconic logo which combines those initials fashioned under the rafters of their huge show arena and built into a cowboy spur. The full name explains not only who they are, but some of the things they offer branding themselves The Rafter MB Quarter Horses Arena And Event Center.
One of the things you notice right away, driving up to 210 Sybille Creek Road in Wheatland is the massive arena on the property which has provided a venue for many events during the past three years.
“We’ve had some horse shows here,” he said. “We would be having clinics right about now, but the COVID has kind of slowed that down a little bit. We’ve had to cancel our spring clinic and we try to do three clinics a year.”
During the winter the arena is available for roping, ranch roping, team roping, training and riding.
“And in the summertime, we have the weddings,” she said, adding to her husband’s comments.
The Ingle’s marriage is a team. Whether they are building stalls together, remodeling their home or in this case, finishing each other’s sentences and explaining their story together.
Weddings are a big thing at The Rafter MB. With a large venue, kitchen facilities and even viewing bleachers, a mass wedding with a western theme is a marriage made in heaven. Although inclement weather could change wedding plans and move the ceremony inside the arena, the magical spot on the property is the marriage pond which is an idyllic setting among grazing horses, an orchard of trees, finely cut lawn and the Laramie Mountain Range as a backdrop. It is a photographer’s dream for surreal wedding photos.
“They have the ceremony down by the pond,” he said, “and then they have the reception right there in the arena. We have had inclement weather where they had to have the wedding in the barn, but you know, that’s weather.”
The couple note that they provide the wedding venue, but they leave the wedding planning and setup to the wedding coordinators. They have the additional advantage of having engagement photography and wedding day photography done at The Rafter MB.
“They love having pictures taken out here,” he said. “During the springtime and summertime everything’s leafed out and pretty. You got the mountains behind them.”
The ranch is currently home to 13 horses which include geldings for sale, mares for sale, their brood mares and horses that they are boarding. Aside from the normal things an arena and events center may provide for people, they also have a focus on the equines.
“We have a horse motel,” she said. “If people are traveling on the interstate and the weather gets bad, we provide a place where the horses can board through the storm. Or if people are on vacation and traveling with their horses. We have 40 stalls for horses.”
Birgit mentioned that a Caravan of show horses came through last year and needed a place to board 15 horses for a few nights. The Rafter MB could accommodate.
Myrle who was a professional trainer, now enjoying amateur status is also proficient in breeding and selling horses. From their 4 brood mares they have the offspring for sale.
The coronavirus has been tough not only on the economy of the ranch, but he has also been working up until just recently in the struggling gas and oil business as a well site manager in South Texas.
He has seen it struggle and says that it’s a combination of two things. An overabundance of oil supplies and due to the quarantine, many people are not out driving around. He also mentioned that most manufacturing is shut down and that the price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia has also been a problem.
As to the arena activities, all things rodeo and competition with horses has also been shut down for a year.
People that are wanting to get back into riding or even novices wanting to learn horsemanship, riding and caring for horses are also encouraged to consult with the Ingles. One thing to note is that they must have their own horse and then the option is available to board the horses for $450 per month which includes pretty much everything but the veterinary care and costs.
“We have been looking into getting a trainer,” she said, seeing as Myrle cannot as an amateur receive any pay for his services or he will lose his amateur status. In the three years that the Ingles have been running the arena and event center, they say that they try to breakeven, but in light of the recent events, they say that it’s harder now.
The couple have been married over 25 years and have three grown boys.