It’s the Pitts: Really Good Bad Idea
by Lee Pitts
I was talking with my buddy Ralph who lives in “America’s Outback,” and he was complaining he couldn’t participate in the trend towards “agri-tourism” because his starve-out ranch is right in the middle of Nevada’s big nowhere.
“Not every ranch is blessed to be a dude ranch hotspot,” said Ralph. “The only reason people come to Nevada is to gamble or to get married, which, I suppose, is redundant.”
“You just have to work with what you have plenty of, like heat,” I replied. “Have you ever thought of offering the world’s only outdoor slot machines? You could advertise them as the ‘hottest’ slots in Nevada. Or, to take a page from Las Vegas, you could make it a ‘clothing optional’ slot resort.”
“And, since your average tourist wants to go places where there aren’t a lot of tourists, you could put a billboard on I-80 steering everyone to your place, promoting the fact you offer plenty of elbow room and the largest parking lot in the world,” I added. “You could bring the folks in on party buses from California.”
“This is the best bad idea I ever heard,” said Ralph. “ Do you have any others?”
“Well, I suppose you can’t grow pumpkins or strawberries in your semi-arid desert, so a pick-your-own farm won’t attract anyone,” I said. “And since you don’t have any trees, a zipline is probably out of the question. I don’t know if you can make wine from locoweed either, so you might have to skip the wine tasting tours. By the way, what can you grow on your God-forsaken place?”
“It’s 110 degrees Fahrenheit out here during the day and 20 degrees below zero at night, so our ‘growing season’ is relatively short, which rules out a corn maze. Radishes are about the only thing we can grow because they grow in 21 days,” Ralph said.
“That’s it,” I screamed in excitement. “You could have the world’s only radish maze! It would be a huge hit for the intellectually challenged amongst us.”
“I suppose it would be easier than a corn maze, and insurance would be cheaper because no one would get lost,” said Ralph, warming to the idea. “About the only other thing we can grow out here are tumbleweeds, and the sagebrush stands five feet tall in a good year.”
“There’s another great idea,” I said. “You could have a ‘you-pick’ sagebrush farm at Christmas time and sell environmentalists on the idea sagebrush Christmas ‘trees’ are far more environmentally friendly than trees you have to grow and water.”
“I can just hear it now,” said Ralph. “As the family gathers around their tumbleweed to decorate it on Christmas Eve, they’ll be yelling ‘Ow! Ouch! These limbs have @#$&*^% stickers on them!”
“Yeah, I see your point. Everything in your neighborhood either tends to have thorns or is poisonous. Is there any wildlife on your ranch hunters might like to take a shot at?” I asked
“Well, no one has seen our Congressman in this neck of the woods since he got elected and went to Washington, D.C,” he replied. “Other than that, the only thing folks out here would like to kill are scorpions and rattlesnakes. We do have way too many federal bureaucrats and wild horses despoiling the country, but lobbing as much as a paintball in their direction would land one in prison for the rest of their life.”
“Are there any endangered species enviro-visitors could take pictures of?” I asked.
“The only thing out here that’s endangered are cows. Thanks to the Bureau of Land Management, we hardly ever see one around here anymore,” he answered.
“That’s it!” I exclaimed. “Cow safaris! Agri-tourists could shoot photos or guns at cows. You could mount ‘dudes’ on the wild horses they love so much and turn them loose to shoot the cows they seem to despise. If you run out of wild cows, you could buy shelly, old canners and cutters to replace them at the sales yard. I think it’s what professors and bureaucrats call a ‘sustainable business.’”