Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas to you and yours…from Sandhills Western Vacations!
Remember the Reason for the Season…know that He is watching you like a hawk, keeping you close to his heart!

Meanwhile, if you didn't get what you'd hoped for Christmas…you can always plan your very own Christmas present…for when it warms up a bit…with your very own Sandhills Western Vacations!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Getting into the spirit of shopping, Christmas at the Bowring Ranch and your family!

 Snow has covered the Sandhills abundantly! North central Nebraska received between 11 through 15 inches!  With that came an arctic cold blast that makes it feel like the North Pole! What better weather than to get out and enjoy your Christmas Shopping!

The crews in Valentine have cleared the streets for you and the stores have their shelves stocked and ready for wrapping under the tree.

But some of the best gifts you'll find shopping in Valentine, Nebraska, are the memories you'll make.

There are several places you can stay while you're in Valentine...just for fun. To make memories. Trade Winds Lodge, and Valentine's Niobrara Lodge, are a couple. These lodging facilities can also be a God send for your out-of-town guests or a girls retreat for a shopping get-together!

What about a winter family vacation? What? Most vacation time renews in January...what a great time for family to get together and really enjoy each other and their surroundings. This is a great time to book a staycation at the Double R Guest Ranch, There are many things to do including watching migrating birds, fishing, snow fort making, and whatever your imagination can dream up. Get out and cabin fever this year!

 There is nothing quite like winter photography! A dusting on the hills, migratory birds, deer, ice sculptures, snow drifts, family decked out in vibrant colors against a snowy backdrop, sledding down these pristine hills...captured for a future of memories!

 Gift giving can be as simple as contacting Brewer's Canoers, for a summer trip instead.

Gift Certificates are another great gift idea. With all the craziness of buying presents it can sure limit friends and families' grocery budgets. How about the gift of groceries from Henderson's IGA, Henderson's IGA can also simplify your parties and get-togethers by catering with the best food!

For something completely unique and one of a kind, Outback Screen Printing and Embroidery, and the Quilting Cupboard,,  can help you out.

Do you know someone who needs prayer? How about yourself in this busy season. Patterns from Fear Not Pattern Company, to the rescue! Something for everyone...stitch by stitch pray for the recipient - even if it turns out to be you!

Finally, it's time for family and friends to gather together for the annual Christmas at the Bowring Ranch. This Saturday, in Merriman, at 6:00 p.m. MOUNTAIN TIME, you'll be treated to the best beef steak BBQ, music, dancing, and if you don't know anyone when you get there, you'll leave having made friends to visit with again next year. Tickets go fast. Call Park Superintendent Diane Burress at 1-308-684-3428. Find out more by going to

One of the best gifts our community has is the gift of each other! This is made possible, in part, through Cherry County Hospital. Keeping our family, friends, and neighbors healthy. We're a blessed community!

Share your blessings here in Valentine, Nebraska...make it the place where you and your family have warm, treasured memories, all year long!

 Celebrating the REASON for the Season! 
Merry Christmas

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Outback Screenprinting and more for Christmas!!!

Are you looking for something unique?
Something personal?
Something special for that special someone?
Why not travel to Outback Screenprinting to have your special gift hand made, right here in Valentine, NE? You don't even have to travel, you can call them at 402-376-1190 or send your graphics (high resolution) to and have the perfect gift's an example of what Jo and the crew can do.

For a nice full screen experience go to:

Did you see a mug on the video? That would make a great gift for your parents or grandparents...have a photo of your family emblazoned on there with a catchy word or phrase; how about I love you. They're dishwasher safe! Plates are also available to make a complete set!

Another gift idea is a T-shirt, sweatshirt, or jacket with a family portrait - a one of a kind gift for sure! Outback Screen Printing can also add all the glitz, glitter and bling anyone would ever need to truly make it unique.  After all, failure is not an option!

Their goal is to have all Christmas gifts completed two weeks before Christmas - so if you're stumped, clueless, and need a little help, get a hold of Outback Screen Printing for your one of a kind, unique,  Christmas gifts for the ones you love!!! They're located at 235 N. Main St. Valentine, NE.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

SANTA IS COMING TO TOWN! Shop and win $$$

This Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Santa will be at Heart City Dance in downtown Valentine to listen to the kids requests. And yes, Santa will even listen to what moms and dads want as well!

But that's not all! The shops downtown will have special hours and showcase their Christmas splendor! What does that mean? Valentine has an awesome family of shops...with gifts for everyone in your family.

And with a little bit of forethought, if they don't have the item you most want, they'll go above and beyond to get it here, in time, for you. Without leaving town!

Furthermore, shop owners, who know our families, can pass along that Dad was looking at the new drill, or mom wanted that sweater in pink. Takes the stress out of shopping - right!

Some of the shop owners may have treats, specials, and drawings. The Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a shoppers contest. Get a card and take it to all the shops listed and have them stamped  by the shop and enter for a chance to win $$$$$$. 

But all this can only be done this Sunday, November 17, at Valentine's Holiday Preview.

Now is the time to believe in magic...wishes on millions of little stars and HIS miracles!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hunting and fishing friendly lodging for fall adventures

It's fall - full blown, colorful, beautiful, and ready for you to explore!!!

 Valentine had her first frost Friday, October 18, 2013, and it sure did something spectacular to the leaves.

It wasn't long and the sun warmed up the crystals and all you could hear were the trees releasing each leaf...cascading them to the ground below where they raced down the street in a noisy clatter.

Are you a bird watcher? They are beginning their migration and there are many, many, places that you can watch them as they prepare their travels.

 Also beginning their transformation are the caterpillar. This one is a white lined sphinx moth caterpillar; also called a hummingbird moth caterpillar. Once it goes through its metamorphosis, it will sip nectar from morning glories and other long necked flowers, with its long tongue.

With the government shut-down over, there will still be hunting at Valentine National Wildlife Refuge. But for the best time ever, why not book your hunting or fishing expedition with Double R Guest Ranch They have the best facilities way out in the middle of nowhere for an experience of a lifetime.

Trade Winds Lodge also caters to the thoughtful folks who enjoy hunting and fishing with facilities to help get their catch cleaned and on its way home. To make reservations go to They're open year-round with doorways open to the parking lot - NO STAIRS!!! In the morning, there's a breakfast bar that will get you on your way - even when the sun's not up quite yet!

 Even though there's a chill in the air, the Niobrara River is serene this time of year without the company of the summer visitors, yet flamboyant in its colors! Why not take a fall trip in a canoe or kayak? You'll still need some sunscreen, and there's still going to be some nice weather before a full fledged winter comes on~right?

  Here's a sunset taken over the Niobrara River which you could be experiencing, along with the beautiful foliage and nature hikes available when you enjoy a fall vacation in the Sandhills.

 Let the sponsors of make your family fun, four season vacation  a trip to remember.
Comments and suggestions are welcomed at

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Old time fun at Old West Days and Nebraska Poetry Gathering!!!

Time is passing  by so quickly, just in case you didn't remember, it's time for the 22nd annual Old West Days and Nebraska Cowboy Poetry Gathering at Valentine, Nebraska. There's four days of fun, learning, culture, art, crafts, quilts, writing workshops, poetry and music. But one of the best things is meeting up with old friends. They'll all be there waiting to see you too.
The fun begins Thursday, October 10, with a parade at 4:00 p.m. Only non-motorized entries are allowed in the Old West Days Parade...

 Get your fill Thursday evening with a hamburger feed held at Security First Bank...

before the first showing of the melodrama put on by the Valentine Players. This year's jolting melodrama is Pony Expresso or... the Villain came to a Grinding Halt. Puns galore and a wonderful cast will have you hootin' and hollerin' for the good guys and booin' for the bad guy! And believe me...he's BAD!

Friday begins the poetry and music sessions. Make sure you get your tickets early since they can go quickly. After the sessions, held at the Valentine High School, there are vendors who have all their  western arts, crafts and and homemade items. the past there's been homemade candy. But you'll have to come out and see who will have their booths set up in the gym.

Saturday will be more poetry and music sessions. Lyn Messersmith will be teaching at 10:00 a.m. about how to Write the West. She is truly one of a kind, and brings the west to life with her practical approach to life, love, ranching and her gift of conveying it simply but with a great amount of heart. In fact, she's written several books but this one is special: My Sister Mariah. It may at the resource table in the gym or at Plains Trading Booksellers on Main Street. There is a blog entry about Lyn's book which can be found under the year 2011, in September for the 20th annual Old West Days. 
Books also make great Christmas gifts and it's not too early to begin thinking about that.

Some of the featured poets and musicians include: RP Smith, Paul Larson, Yampa Valley Boys, and Pat Richardson to name a few.  Pictured below is Brett Burress who plays a mean fiddle!

Sunday morning, worship Old West style with several of the local churches. Then enjoy God's own country on horseback with the annual trail ride which begins at 1:30 p.m. Meet at Bill Ward's residence for a look at Fredrick's Peak on horseback. You must provide your own horse. To see the map and for more information about the trail ride visit this link:

The 22nd annual Old West Days celebration will conclude Sunday evening with the final performance of the melodrama at 7:30 p.m.

Please be sure to use the sponsors of while making your plans to visit. They want to welcome you to Valentine and help you to be a part of the Old West celebration. Want to go down the river? Visit with Not sure where to stay? How about visiting or
Henderson's IGA will have plenty of quick food to keep you full and ready for your next adventure at: They could even fix you up a picnic for the trail ride, or a fall trip down the Niobrara River.

Businesses downtown will also welcome you. Be sure to stop at Outback Screen Printing for Husker gear. Discover what you'd like by visiting them on-line at and pick it up while you're here. Or call ahead and have them make you something special.

The Quilting Cupboard, has all you need to make fall that much more cozy...quilting cottons in contemporary, Americana, Civil War, baby soft colors, and Christmas. There's wool for applique projects and patterns to complement the seasons.

They also have wool applique patterns by Fear Not Pattern Company Why not pick up a craft pattern and woolens now for a great Christmas gift ... which is right around the corner.

You won't have a better time this fall than a visit to Valentine's Old West Days. It's family fun done right!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy Labor Day!!

For those of you who couldn't make it to the Sandhills for Labor Day's a little bit of the Sandhills brought to you!

It's not terribly hot at the moment, and the cicadas are droning on and on and on...signaling that there isn't much left of summer.

Using the power of your imagination, this could be you enjoying the splendor of Smith Falls!

 The giant rock at the middle right, fell from the falls in 2009, due to the heat, cold, and ice; changing its face forever.

After the water flows over the falls it continues down a small stream, over the small, cascading falls and out to the Niobrara River.
Again, using the power of your imagination...pretend you're here.
With your family.....friends....extended buddies. Whatever. The tents are up, smoke from grill fills the skies, and you know it's Labor Day Weekend. Can you smell the hamburgers? Steak? Maybe it's s'mores? All of which can be found at our local Hendersons IGA.

Some mammatus clouds fill the sky as evening descends. The backside of the hail storm Hay Springs got?

Here's a Labor Day worthy sunset - no matter what type of weather you're experiencing. Cool winds, not too much humidity, and a crispness that indicates fall is around the corner and the end of the droning of these cicadas.

Really, The Sandhills are beautiful regardless of the weather! Actually, it's their moodiness that make them such a fantastic place to visit...Happy Labor Day, even if you're on work break checking this out on your phone, tablet or desktop. We're always open for adventure and you're always welcome!
Check out the sponsors of and make your reservations for next week, or next year. Stay at Trade Winds Lodge or Valentines Niobrara Lodge. You may want to make reservations now for the annual Old West Days and Nebraska Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

It's not too late to enjoy the fall colors on a trip down the Niobrara with Brewers Canoers. The scenic Niobrara River is a little quieter this time of year.

May you enjoy your pretend visit to the Sandhills of Nebraska!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Yay!! Stary Party!!! Where are you going to stay? (Double R Guest Ranch??) Who will you meet?

The 20th annual Nebraska Star Party will officially begin tomorrow. You can still sign up if you haven't already. Or you can just show up at Boardman Campground at Merritt Reservoir from 4:00 - 6:30 p.m. and pay for your fees that include: Individual or family plan, then choose your meal plan or not. There's even T-shirts available. Visit for the schedule of events that will keep you busy the entire week.

You'll have to hurry though if you want to hear what Nebraska's only astronaut will share with the star gazers. He will be at the Star Party Tuesday, August 6, at the observing field.

Not sure if you can get a reservation in town? Try one of the sponsors of like Double R Guest Ranch who does have vacancies and they're only 56 miles from the observing field at the Snake Campground on Highway 97. Find out more at:
Double R Guest Ranch has plenty of fun things to do while you're there: fishing, hiking, bird watching, trapshooting...
...Sandhills golf, horseshoe pitching, photographing, ranch activities and - of course - deep dark skies too.

The next morning, go horseback riding (for a fee).

Once you're here, it's time for Star Party activities! Clayton will be speaking at the children's program from 1:00 - 4:00 at Valentine High School, Wednesday, August 7. All children are welcome to attend.

Here's a little bit more about Clayton - Nebraska's only astronaut.
There’s only one astronaut from Nebraska and that’s Clayton Anderson. He’s the special guest speaker, Wednesday evening, August 7, 2013, and will be at the Valentine High School to give a presentation about his adventures aboard the International Space Station at 7:30 p.m.
There’s no charge for the public to attend with the event sponsored in part by the Valentine Tourism Board and the Nebraska Star Party.
When asked what the number one question he gets asked a lot, Clayton said, “It’s hard to narrow it down to one. I do get asked how we go to the bathroom in space a lot.”
Clayton has an impressive bio which can be found at:
Clayton has since retired from NASA as a “public servant” he said and is broadening his horizons so to speak.
One of them is giving back to Nebraska, the state he says made him.
“I never quit and I applied 15 times,” Anderson says of becoming an astronaut - a true Nebraskan trait.
One of Clayton’s many talents include his humorous yet understanding way of explaining things while not being an astrophysicist.
Clayton says it takes 8.5 minutes to get to space at 17,500 miles per hour. In fact, it takes less time for Clayton to reach space - only 250 miles straight up - instead of the 1,114 miles he’ll travel from Texas to Valentine.

How does it feel being shot into space? “It’s awesome. It’s the greatest roller-coaster ever.”
He says the Russian rockets use liquid fuel which burns much smoother and give a much better ride. “A piece of solid fuel has air pockets and it burns rougher. The shuttle, when it was flying, has solid rocket thrusters. The orange tank was filled with liquid fuel. After the solids it continues with the liquid fuel.”
Once they’re up there, what do they do?
Clayton says a typical day would begin at 6:00 a.m. where he shared the ISS with two Russians. “There were three guys using one toilet. The Commander had the first shot, the second in command was next and the kid from Nebraska was in third.”

Of course they had to rotate to use the shower as well shave and Aqua Velva. “The kid from Nebraska was in charge of getting toilet paper out and a clean towel out for guests,” Anderson joked.
“Breakfast was the most disappointing meal of the day. There wasn’t enough of the stuff I liked. Being a rookie space flyer, I didn’t realize I could request more.”
Then it was on to ops. It’s not like they could just “step outside” whenever they wanted. “It was days worth of protocol. We had to size the suits, make sure the procedures were correct and the work you’re going to do and how you’re going to crawl to do it. And whether you need the robotic arm, like a cherry picker.
“My first space walk ever I threw away trash. One was the size of a double refrigerator and one the size of a table. So we created two satellites that burned up in the earth’s atmosphere. We threw it in a direction that would allow gravity to capture it and pull it closer to the earth. And in doing so, there’s a huge amount of friction and it cases the pieces to burn up.”That’s physics.
“We had a daily schedule that was dictated with tasks, science experiments, or maintenance. Or there could be a public event with kids on earth from space. Those were enjoyable for me. Basically you go to work, e-mail to answer, and meetings, tasks, or a science experiment to monitor. A lot of maintenance.”
The day would end with them finishing their administrative tasks, dinner, and a chance to visit with their families.
They didn’t have Serta’s to sleep on, instead they slept in a bag affixed to the wall the size of a phone booth. “I slept pretty well in space. Some astronauts sleep three or four hours and I need seven or eight.”
One of the things Clayton hasn’t conquered is the publishing world. But he’s thrusting himself into that arena with a book he’s written which has an exciting chapter called “The void of Outer Space,” which will answer the question he’s asked a lot.

Take in all, part, or some of the 20th anniversary of the Nebraska Star Party and make memories for you and your family at Double R Guest Ranch.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Celebrating our Vietnam Veterans!!!

It's not always easy to give back to those who give so freely. "What can I give?" you may question...

 Wood Lake, Cody, and Valentine's Legion Auxiliaries got together and planned a 50th anniversary Welcome Home celebration for our Vietnam veterans.

They planned a parade...

Here's people getting ready to enjoy the parade....

Several sponsors were in the parade as well...

Youth showed up...

 So were our emergency vehicles...

All to honor our Vietnam Veterans!

A homemade meal was made by the Legion Auxiliaries from Cody, Wood Lake and Valentine to show appreciation for their service!!!

Lil Sis was listen...and offer healing hugs!

At the end of the Welcome Home, donated prizes were given to the veterans. Richard Reese of Reese Propane and Appliance  donated a Traeger Grill in memory of his veteran father; a warm quilt by Mary Lou Kerr, and a Remember flag.

Vietnam Veterans...we do remember! Thank you for allowing us to show we care after all these years have passed. Welcome HOME!!! And thank you for your service!

From everyone especially the ladies of the American Legion Auxiliaries who did....
receive a standing ovation...

Right back at YOU Vietnam Veterans!
That's what we can give back... our appreciation, respect, a thank you and Welcome Home!!