Community Helps Wrangle Up Dozens of Horses after Ranch Hit by Tornado
By Kirsten McIntyre, NEWS 9
WAYNE, Oklahoma -- A twister hit a horse ranch in McClain County Monday, leaving three horses dead and about a dozen others injured. However, those who work at the ranch said they are counting their blessings.
At the Royal Vista Ranch in Wayne, the work must go on, despite the damage left behind by Monday's tornado. The twister uprooted trees, tore off shingles and brought down fences. The storm also caught employees off guard. They didn't even have time to make to the shelter.
"Loud, so loud it was deafening but at the same time, it seemed silent. I can't even really describe it," said Laura Wipf, Royal Vista Ranch owner.
When Wipf emerged and discovered her employees were safe, she said her next thought went to ranches' 175 horses. Three died after being crushed by a shed, about a dozen were injured, and dozens more were also roaming the 95 acres at the time storm.
"There were horses everywhere and they're panicked, scared obviously," Wipf said.
But it didn't take long for help to arrive.
"The horse community in Oklahoma is very close, and gosh, I think people knew about this within an hour of it happening and everybody was here to help," said Phillip Stewart, who helped at the Royal Vista Ranch following the tornado.
Even by Tuesday afternoon, the help was still coming, trailer after trailer hauling off horses to nearby ranches until repairs can be made.
"Everybody around here is really good neighbors. When somebody needs help we're right there to help them," said Verle Bohner, who helped at the Royal Vista Ranch following the tornado.
Even though the horses are being moved to local ranches until the fences are fixed, the ranch is still business as usual since it is currently the busiest time of the year for breeding.
The damage at the ranch could be as high as $500,000.
The Mid-American Tech Center, which is right next to the ranch, also received some tornado damage.