At the base of Kelly Canyon in what some people know as the Big Hole Mountain range, you’ll find an idyllic ranch reminiscient of the wild west. Home to campers in the summer and people eager for some holiday cheer during the christmas time. It’s called the Mountain River Ranch.
“In ’85 I got the idea to build a convenience store down on the corner here, and what a bad idea that was, ” said Tran King, as he laughed at the thought of the beginnings of the ranch.
Back in the 1970’s King traveled to the area looking for lava rocks and peered down and saw a nice piece of land a long the river. King walked down and saw the land was for sale and went ahead and bought it. “I’ve found in life that your life can turn in just one word,” said King. After going back home in the east he decided to move out to Idaho with his kids about a decade later to open the convenience store he called a bad idea. “In the summer it did fine with the campers, but then winter came and it was like the road split in two,” said King.
After the downfall of the general store, King got an idea that shaped the Mountain River Ranch into what it’s best known for today: an entertainment hot spot in Ririe, Idaho. “I got this idea that maybe people would like to go for a sleigh ride and I could push back the tables in the store and serve them spaghetti,” said King. He did what he could to gather talent and while he admits it was an amateur production, King feels that’s what gave the production it’s charm and kept people wanting more.
King calls himself a “people person”, something he says he brings to the ranch and the performances every year. “I’m not much of a computer guy,” King notes “I say let’s sit and talk let’s get to know each other a bit,” said King. With his “people person” attitude, that might be what turned what was once a piece of land he saw in the hills into a staple for at least a couple of seasons in eastern Idaho.
If you’re interested in catching some of the final shows of the holiday season, visit the Mountain River Ranch’s web page here.