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FIRST CHOICE ::


The lake is open for boating, swimming and fishing and is surrounded by an equestrian trail. There is also a nine-hole golf range close by. The lodge owners know the area well. Ronnie and Bev mar- ried in August 1977 just out of high school. He grew up five miles south of Chandler, while she lived about five miles west of it. Together they built their business, Kalka Construction Company, which they still operate. The couple did hire outside the family when they chose


Danita DeBord as Bell Cow Ranch Cabins marketing director. The Kalkas recruited her, because as Bev said, they needed a “people person.” When they first began discussing what kind of events to host


at Bell Cow Ranch, Ronnie said he was not thinking about weddings, but credits DeBord with that idea. Since they opened to the public in May 2013, they have hosted nine weddings, and the next year is booking quickly, some events a year in advance. Ronnie said guests enjoy the peace and quiet the cabins and lake provide as well as the customer service. “They like that we go that extra mile for them. They like the personal touch we add to each event,” DeBord added. Joe Ready, Chandler resident and chairman of the Chandler


chapter of Ducks Unlimited booked Bell Cow Ranch Cabins for the nonprofit’s yearly banquet in January. “There was no rock unturned working with them. They made it easy for me,” Ready said. Ready made use of Bev’s catering services. He said the steak and potatoes meal was “spot on,” and he specifically men- tioned homemade salad dressing, noting there were “no pack- ets” on the table. The food and the service get compliments, but so do the


architecture and the décor. Bev explained that the look is “modern and rustic.” For weddings, she said it’s best not to go too far in one direction or the other.


“It’s not too rustic, and it’s not too fancy pants,” she said. Ronnie drew the plans for the property, and enjoys describ-


ing some of the unique building materials such as the stone- work, done in local red rock, giving the building that familiar Oklahoma hue. Also the galvanized poles that display their signage are light poles from the Oklahoma State University football stadium, which were removed and sold after tornado damage.


Leading up to and on her wedding day Shields said all the amenities at Bell Cow added to her calm state. The suites on the second floor of the main lodge provide room for the bride, groom and their attendants to get ready in comfort. There are options for both in-door and outdoor weddings; there is not too much traffic, but it’s not too far from town either. The smaller building housed their rehearsal dinner, and the bride, groom, friends and family made use of the cabins during the wedding weekend. “It’s perfect,” Shields said. “There was no stress.” In the future there is talk of hosting a craft fair and events


for Relay for Life and Derby Day, and they are always open to ideas from the community. Ronnie said the experiences of running a special event facility change constantly. “We’re always trying to think of things we can do that are different. We want customers to get something they can’t get anywhere else,” Ronnie said. “That’s our goal.” For more information, visit http://www.bellcowranchcab- ins.com.


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