Wyoming Couple Overcomes Devastating Challenges After Buying Dream Ranch: 'We Almost Had to Close'
Episode 4 of AMERICAN DOERS, a new 12-part video series featuring original thinkers, innovators, craftspeople, risk-takers and artisans across the United States.
If there’s anything Wyoming couple Tim and Debbie Bishop have learned in their 14-year-career as range owners, it’s that living your dream isn’t always paradise.
The college sweethearts met on a dude ranch in Colorado and after tying the knot, they pursued their dream of owning a ranch of their own.
On Nov. 1, 2002, the couple purchased the Medicine Bow Lodge is Saratoga, Wyoming, a ranch and lodge that was first established in 1917 as a tent camp for hunters and fishermen and later for place for venturers to experience the Western life.
But following their dream came with challenges. In 2008, fewer guests showed up at the ranch doors due to the economic crash. The following year, the lodge was nearly destroyed in a devastating fire.
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“There was absolutely nothing in the bank, we didn’t have any money,” Debbie tells PEOPLE. “We almost had to close at one point. Then we had the fire.”
“We gotta rebuild, but how?” says Tim. “We were just sitting on the couch crying, praying, because we didn’t know how we were going to go on.”
The couple remained strong and rebuilt and remodeled their lodge.
“It’s a testament,” says Debbie on achieving their dream. “In July, we’re having the centennial, the ranch will be 100 years old.”
Adds Time, “To be working with people, working with horses, working outdoors — what could be better?”