Laura: On their turf

Edmond, Oklahoma–Those who have been part of the All Aboard Wheat Harvest Family for awhile may remember that Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children has helped sponsor the blog for several years. As part of their relationship with the program, they bring youth from their campuses to the harvest field. We and some of the other blog crews show them the ropes but usually end up learning just as much from them as they do us.

Recently, I reached out to Bo Blakey, executive director at the Boys Ranch Town in Edmond, to start the conversation about hosting students this season. I was traveling up I-35 when the call took place. When he learned I was passing through the Edmond area, he invited me out to Boys Ranch Town campus. I was only a couple exits to the north, so how could I say no? I turned the car around and headed to the ranch.

Boys Ranch Town of Edmond is only a stone’s throw from Edmond and is a beautiful oasis in the midst of urban sprawl. RJ Shelton, head of the campus’s cattle program, met me at the office and took me on a tour of the grounds. I was able to see the outside of some of the facilities including the auto mechanics shop, welding shop, gymnasium, arena, rodeo grounds, cottages, the pool, and the pasture, which is currently home to the facility’s fall calving cattle. During the tour, most of the students were enjoying recreation at the campus’s pool. But somewhere along the way, one of the residents, who will be a junior in high school, joined the tour. He was a confident and outgoing individual and I learned he had the opportunity to try some the programs on campus but had learned his passion is sports. He hopes to attend college on a volleyball scholarship.

I appreciated my tour of the Edmond campus. It is a lovely and well-maintain facility with lots of opportunities for residents to participate in activities both on and off the grounds. It was fun to be on their turf. I hope we can get schedules to jive so they can come back to mine!

To learn more about the program, visit the following link at

Here is an example of a cottage. There can be up to eight residents living in a home with their host family.

The entrance to a portion of the agriculture facility.

The outdoor rodeo arena.

Indoor ag-related facilities.

The two buildings above are used for learning trade skills.

These houses are available for students who have graduated from the program. There are requirements for the housing like holding down a job or attending school.

Some of the cattle on the property. Part of the herd is away at their summer pasture.

Another view of the pasture. Everything was so green.

Laura Haffner can be reached at

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is brought to you by ITC Holdings, CASE IH, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, US Custom Harvesters Inc., Unverferth Mfg. Co. Inc., Lumivia CPL by Corteva Agriscience, Kramer Seed Farms, and High Plains Journal.


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