One could nearly hear the iron triangle clanging away, followed by the long-awaited cry: “Come and get it!”
Hundreds converged upon the freshly-completed MC Chuck Wagon exhibit on the afternoon of Saturday, Aug. 10, near the junction of highways 140 and 395, for a grand scale celebration of sorts. Not only did the occasion draw locals in droves, but many well-wishers and celebrants from multiple states also arrived for the occasion.
The celebration, of course, centered on the new, scenic addition to the Town of Lakeview, a western-stylized exhibit building that houses the historic MC Ranch chuck wagon.
Appropriately enough, the lunch, prepared by Lakeview Lockers’ Ross and Kelly McGarva, served as the final meal offered up on the wagon, prior to its final retirement within the new exhibit house for permanent public display. The Old Time Fiddlers provided an appropriate musical backdrop against the festive setting.
Visitors lined the wooden walkway/porch area to peer inside the building’s interior, which features interpretive signage detailing historical elements of the famed MC Ranch, along with numerous articles of historical significance, including saddles, bridles, tack and bedrolls.
Among the VIP guests for the occasion were the project’s progenitor, Jack Nicol, who developed the project in coordination with the Town of Lakeview. John Conroy Construction handled the actual construction of the site.
Other special guests included Bill Reynolds, publisher of the magazine “Ranch and Reata,” as well as Carmel Valley, Calif., western artist Jack Swanson.
Nicol’s niece, Amy Thompson, with whom he co-authored the book “Bill Kitt: from trail driver to cowboy hall of fame,” also coordinated the celebration and was markedly pleased with the turnout.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “We’re honored so many people wanted to take part in the celebration.”
Thompson said that the guest list included attendees from Hawaii, Seattle, Wash., Portland, St. George, Utah, San Diego, Calif., and Boise, Idaho.
Nicol provided a brief history of the MC Ranch as well as the chuck wagon, noting that authenticity was key in the project’s construction. Old barn wood from the MC Ranch buckshack was utilized, inside the building, along with genuine Warner Valley dirt.
“There isn’t going to be anything in there that didn’t come from where the wagon came from,” he said. “I kept the wagon, because I didn’t know where it would end up… I knew it belonged in Lake County, and judging by this crowd, I’m glad you all agree with me.”
Will Cahill, a trustee on the exhibit’s non-profit board, helped arrange the loan of the historical saddles and other items for display and also helped dismantle the MC buckshack, from which wood was utilized inside the building. Cahill expressed gratitude to the Nicols and other families that contributed numerous items for display inside the exhibit.
The culmination of the celebration occurred with the formal presentation of the property deed to the Town of Lakeview by Nicol to Town of Lakeview Mayor Mike Patrick and Town Mgr. Ray Simms.
“It’s a great (tribute) to the western way of life and your family, and we appreciate it,” the mayor said.