Where it is today
How it all Began
An R6 History
R6 Ranch, originally named Rafter Six Ranch, was founded in the 1920s by a harness maker from Vermont by the name of Herbert Alonzo "Soapy" Smith and Eva Alice Coates.
Soapy fell in love with the beauty of the region and began sharing it with guests as the Rocky Mountains became increasingly accessible because of the Canadian Pacific Railroad.
Where We Are Now
Continuing the Journey...
In 2015, after many years of hard use, the first steps of restoration began at the R6 Ranch to return it to its simple roots. Despite considerable effort, not all the historic buildings could be saved.
Today, the R6 Ranch honours Soapy's and Eva's desire to share the majesty of this region with people who seek solace from our modern world.
The R6 Ranch values, expressed in the hardy Alberta wild rose, guide our actions and remind us how important it is to connect with our land, animals, and to one-another.
empathy & kindness
A Message from the Founder
I’m not a rancher, nor a cowgirl. I don’t know if I’ll ever become the horsewoman I aspire to be. What I do know is that I have always loved wilderness, horses, and adventure. That’s what led me to Australia in my early 20s where I got a job during the spring muster at one of the huge cattle stations in the Kimberley region.
My journey to Australia shaped me forever. I remember vividly the vast beauty of the half desert, how many billions of stars there were at night when I slept beneath them in my bedroll. The cold, dark mornings, the colour of the sky when we rode out early just as the sun crested the horizon, living outdoors day in and day out. There were no walls around us, no time on our wrists or on a screen. There was no TV or radio, no instagram or snapchat; just the wind, the sky, the sun and the earth beneath our feet, the wildness of the work, the cattle and the horses, and the daily tasks which grounded us to something tangible leaving us inspired by the beauty of our surroundings and proud of what we had accomplished.
That time is past. I cannot recreate that exact experience for others, no matter how badly I might like to, yet the memories of adventure and joy are as clear to me today as they were then. The lessons I learned allowed me to grow and shaped who I am now.
What if, in a world that feels so out of balance, I could provide an opportunity like the one I had, for today’s youth, for others? I believe I can; at this ranch. There is such beauty and strength in the nature of these lands that are still so perfectly wild, they must be shared. The R6 Ranch is a space to experience the power of nature, to learn from the wisdom in wilderness and become attuned to the quiet and often sensitive language of animals.
Many years after working on Ruby Plains Station in Western Australia, on the day two of my three children left home, I received this message from a friend: “Follow your passion and you will inspire others to be passionate about it too”.
I believe the R6 Ranch is a place which has the capacity to inspire and guide us to find that balance so crucial in order to thrive in today’s world. Join us, and together we’ll hitch our wagon to a star...