SisterCreek Ranch
Story by Marilyn Short

Photos by Robbin Cresswell

If you’re ready to get away from the stress of the city or pressures from work and are a horse lover, you need to visit SisterCreek Ranch. SisterCreek is the perfect choice for an equestrian weekend get-away, offering spectacular scenery and a memorable Hill Country experience.

SisterCreek Ranch is the dream of owners Bruce and Beth Johnson, previously of Dallas, Texas. Bruce is the co-founder of Sage Telecom and Beth the author of “First You Sigh”, so both are familiar with the effort it takes to make a dream come true. This time the Johnson’s dream was to find a special place where they could kickback and enjoy life with their horses near by. It took the Johnsons 3 ½ years to find the perfect location where the serene quiet and beauty soothes and calms the soul and there is plenty of room to ride. They’ve found the ideal location, and they haven’t looked back.

SisterCreek Ranch consists of 700 acres of prime Texas Hill Country with three creeks, three lakes, six spring-fed tanks, several waterfalls, and incredible views…the perfect weekend getaway for horse owners. Upon entering through the ranch gate, you cross West Sister Creek and wind through the native scenery into a valley to KickBack Flats, the small western town created by the Johnsons at the heart of SisterCreek Ranch.

Like it’s name, KickBack Flats is a special place to kick back and relax. The town consists of two rustically elegant cabins, a ranch office, paddocks with shelters, a covered round pen, a 150 by 250 arena, stables, 4 RV sites, and at the center of it all, Sniffy’s Saloon.

When you enter KickBack Flats, you think you’re entering an old time western town. The old western ambiance is there, but it’s all brand new with the entire town taking a little over a year to construct. “The care, thought, and attention to detail has been amazing,” said Don Buyse, General Contractor of the project. “ The Johnsons have used native Texas materials for almost everything.”

Sniffy’s Saloon is the hub of KickBack Flats. It’s the place where guests can eat 3 meals a day, drink, play pool, shuffleboard, darts, watch satellite television, or have fun with a full Karaoke stage and equipment. The mantel over the floor-to-ceiling rock fireplace in Sniffy’s was rescued from an old barn, which was built in the 1800s. All the cedar used on the buildings was from the Wooden Nickel Mill in Center Point, Texas, and the tile for the flooring and counter tops was from Cinar Interiors of Boerne, Texas. Some of the tin used in Sniffy’s was from the old Luckenbach Gin that was destroyed in the July 2002 flood. The Johnsons were allowed to take the tin as a thank you for their generous contribution to the Luckenbach Flood Fund.

If you want to enjoy the outdoors you can take a walk by Jung Creek which runs along the back of KickBack Flats or play a game of horseshoes or washer toss. Or better yet, warm up your horse in the covered round pen or the 150 by 250 arena (both with crumbled rubber footing that is environmentally friendly) and then hit the trails. There are over 15 miles of roads on the property making for a day long trail ride, or for a more scenic and challenging ride, you can always ride the perimeter of the 700-acre ranch. The views from Pop A Top, elevation approximately 1,400 feet, are spectacular.

After a day of riding you can head back to Sniffy’s for dinner and a little fun or sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet on a front porch swing of one of the two newly constructed cabins. The cabins, named “First” and “Other” are identical with the exception of the décor. Both cabins have a fireplace, front porch with rocking chairs and a porch swing, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a loft, a kitchen with refrigerator, microwave and utensils, and a screened-in back porch. The craftsmanship of Darrel Kothe and Kenneth Raute, the sub-contracted builders, really shows throughout all the buildings, but particularly shines on the back porches of the cabins.

Like the building materials for KickBack Flats, Beth carefully selected and furnished each cabin with items she purchased throughout the Texas Hill Country, with most of the rustic furniture coming from 132 Main Street, Inc. or the Trades Day in Fredericksburg, Texas.

If you’re the more outdoorsy type, you can park your living quarters trailer or RV beside the lake at one of the 4 RV sites with electric, water, and corrals for your horses.

The horse facilities are one of the better features of SisterCreek Ranch. Your horse can be stabled in the new climate controlled, six-stall barn, outfitted with tack room, wash rack, grooming station, with a refrigerator, sink, and half bath for horse owners. The stalls were built and installed by Classic Equine Equipment, Inc. and are safe as well as comfortable for your horses. If your horses prefer the outdoors, you can choose to house them in one of the 7 paddocks located in front of KickBack Flats, which are also visible from the front porches of both cabins.

Although the Johnsons encourage their guests to bring their own horses to enjoy the ranch, they own 12 registered Tennessee Walking Horses, and one of their Tennessee Walkers can be provided to experienced riders. If you don’t know about Tennessee Walkers, the Johnsons are always happy to enlighten you about the wonderful breed.

The ranch is situated 9 miles south of Luckenbach on FM 1376 and only 20 miles from Fredericksburg, two of the most popular tourist destinations in the Texas Hill Country. So if you want serenity during the day and want to pick up your heels at night, you don’t have to go far for lively entertainment or shopping.

When you visit SisterCreek Ranch, you feel as though you’ve stepped back to simpler, safer place in time-a sanctuary buffered from every day stress.

If you would like to escape to SisterCreek Ranch, you can call Bruce and Beth Johnson at (830) 324-6525, email them at: info@sistercreekranch.com or visit: www.sistercreekranch.com.

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