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Mile High Natural Awakenings

A Colorado Bison Adventure

Jul 12, 2019 04:43PM ● By Doug Zerbarini

One hallmark of a successful event is that participants are left pondering what they experienced for days afterward. That is what happened for us after attending the Bison Adventure at Bella Vista Bison over the Fourth of July weekend. 


Owners Neal and Theresa Fischer left behind their suburban roots to dedicate themselves to raising bison, while also aiming to educate as many as possible. Their story of the uniquely American bison is a message of conservation and respect for natural resources.

While not open to the public, their bison ranch sits on stunning property amongst the rolling plains of Elbert. They host various events from weddings to corporate meetings, and the Bison Adventures and Encounters occur during the summer and fall.

As we arrived, everyone was hand-feeding a small group of bison on the property, including 
 a rare white bison (only 1 born out of every 1-2 million). The Bison Adventure is old west dinner theater at its best. A traditional Native American blessing precedes the buffet-style dinner as the Lakota-Sioux family of Team Bearsheart showed off stunning traditional and updated dress, award-winning Hoop Dancing, and gratitude to the 
 ancestors for the food we were about to share.

 Afterward, the crowd filed inside the Blue Barn for a barbeque family buffet of pulled pork, smoked turkey, corn salad, potato casserole, slaw, rolls, tea, lemonade, and no alcohol, all served on real plates and silverware at tables of eight. Meanwhile, live music (70’s and western) was kept to pleasant sound levels and a small contingent of “bison rustlers” from hand-made “Wanted Posters” were rounded up and arrested by none other than Wyatt Earp himself.

Part of the fun at our table was getting to know the other guests, as well as reviewing the guesses we had made about what was on the menu since it wasn’t published beforehand. We were all surprised that bison was NOT on the menu. I asked Neal about that, and he said he was still navigating how to inspire people with a conservation message about bison while serving them up on the menu. This is the first year of holding these events and they are still making creative changes. Our thought was that the beginning of the meal would be the perfect time for Team Bearsheart to talk about the traditional value and respect given to the bison as a gift from Spirit that provided food, shelter, clothing, tools and overall security. No part of the animal was wasted. This may help attendees see a connection to the land and its flora and fauna, which fulfilled their survival needs.

 

After filling up on the excellent food, attendees had their choice of three educational performances in rotation. Team Bravesheart talked about bison from a Native American perspective, invited us into their teepee and then kids searched for “lost” arrowheads that were scattered around the site. 


Meanwhile, Teddy Roosevelt, aka Kurt Skinner, gave 
 a delightful talk on his exploits as a Rough Rider, hunter, President, and conservationist. His costume was amazing; he nailed the perfect accent; and his knowledge of Roosevelt’s life and exploits was top-notch. 

 Lastly, the hayride took groups out into the pasture to feed and meet the bison up close. 

One of our favorite parts was the toast with apple cider at the end of the evening. Teddy gave his famous “Dare Greatly” speech, exhorting us to live passionately, to work hard at work worth doing, and to “dare greatly.” It brought the entire evening to an inspirational and thoughtful close.

The Fischers were warm, pleasant and friendly, and we truly enjoyed chatting up the other attendees, from young families with kids to retirees enjoying life, as everyone seemed to take on the spirit of friendliness and community.

Bring your kids and your inner child to Bella Vista Bison for a memorable experience. If you’re looking for a fun summer or fall activity that sneaks education and inspiration into an outing for the whole family, you can’t go wrong at Bella Vista Bison.

Contact Neil and Theresa Fischer at , and book your bison adventure at BellaVistaBison.com