Saturday, February 21, 2009
Sayersbrook: Entrepreneurs Utopia
I went to SayersBrook Bison Ranch on Thursday to spend a day in the wilderness. Well, it was almost the wilderness. We rode around in that red, white and blue Hummer H1 all day and bounced around on level 3's (jeep lingo for scale of trail difficulty, 10 being the highest).
Skip Sayer was our tour guide, the SayersBrook Bison Ranch owner told his story throughout the day, showed Kevin (the bald guy) and I around the grounds, feeding the bison and living the life of a bison farmer for a short time. Then when lunchtime arrived, we stopped at the house where Connie, Skips wife, cooked up one of the creatures and served it to us in a delightful stew, hearty with potatoes and vegetables, home made cornbread, ah yes. It was quite nice.
I do need to point out that there is something about seeing and loving a bison before you place a piece of its muscle into your mouth and chew. I got through it pretty well, but had my lovely wife Janie been with...well, I ain't too sure about that. I thought that place was really neat and I plan on returning with a group of executives someday; to hammer out what will come of their and my business if things keep headed downward to the abyss. I also want to help Skip and Connie get things going as it relates to this sort of thing. They are real nice people and, as far as I am concerned, way ahead of their time. While I am not in to the killing of things, the guns, the hunting and motor sport stuff and such. I have some ideas for Skip, and John Daley, his friend and confidant.
John (Coach) Daley was our host on the way down and boy, did we have the political rant--that which was our destiny to talk about during the 80 minute drive to the base of the Ozark Mountains: government and politics. We would later consider our trip to be Utopian adventure of sorts, a getaway from the bullshit of today's economic climate. Since we were on our way to the middle of nowhere, a private piece of 2000 acre goodness, the conversation went on to cover a hand full of "what ifs" and "what would you do's" as conversations related to the governments "hell in a hand basket" scenario.
So I can say with all certainty that none of us are too supportive of more government, big government or any government program requiring more funding from our taxes. We own small businesses for christsake! Kevin pointed out more than once how, with more government, the greater the illusion will be portrayed for the need of more rescue, more programs, more spending on programs, more bureaucracy, more handouts to those unaccountable, and eventually, more taxes to support the government. Daley mentioned that the feds have hired a bunch of IRS people to elevate the process of dialing in the governments tax income more vigorously--you can expect aggressive process from them as things fall short in years to come. Well isn't that predictable?
We were all pretty disgusted with things by the time and we had gotten within a half hour or so of the ranch. And I noticed that things were beginning to change a little bit. We saw the occasional confederate flag and there appeared to be an over all feeling that screamed "leave us the hell alone". The nearer we got to our destination, the more we stuck out. I could feel the energy, that which was heightened by our conversation, of course--that which referenced things like "if it gets too bad we will have to hunker down" or "there will sure as hell be a limit to how much we will take if things continue this way, if despair takes over confidence and hope". We agreed that when it comes down to feeding your family, housing our children and now parents, providing care for your loved ones--it will be "anything goes". And the government will find themselves in a position to remedy the situation. Other than martial law and other control measures to thwart an uprising, I am unsure that they will be supported and that can be bad. There are lots of hidden line items in lawmaking nowadays, take the time to see what gets voted on and why. Was it truly possible for law makers to consume 1000 pages of the stimulous plan in such a short amount of time?
Now that is some fairly spirited negative fodder for a trip down to Potosi, huh?
Let's reference Ann Rand. The author of Atlas Shrugged, a reference to what can happen when government forces the entrepreneur into hiding, creating our own faction/understanding and prescription for our own capitalistic culture--that which stands for less government, is more efficient and disregards/succeeds from the due process of government. Rands perspective, written in the 50's, mind you, seems to be a pretty clear picture of what can and seems to be happening.
As we pulled into the gates of Sayersbrook we all felt relief, like an elixir had kicked in and suddenly come over us "Look at the trout stream?" I said, as the bulging heads of bison turned and slowly walked up to the fence line to see who was coming to visit. And it was suddenly obvious. Sayersbrook is a utopia for entrepreneurs, eerily similar to what is referenced in Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Skip and Conny were waaayyy ahead of their time when moving there in 1996. So it is not surprising that Skip has a thing or two to say when it comes to what he calls "air force one" politics. Ironically, a few months ago a press release in the business journal reported that the place was for sale assuming that the dream might be falling short. That is when John Daley got involved and his life began to change as a result.
I am so intrigued by this gem of a place, what skip and his family have built from generation to generation.
A little about Skip
Herbert Sayers (Skip) is the visionary owner behind the SayersBrook Bison Ranch. Skip started his life in St. Louis, Missouri. Born into the printing business, he enjoyed his youth participating in the family business by week and spending weekends with his parents and grandparents helping to build the ranch. After the armed forces, Skip became President of the Sayers Printing Company, President of the Graphic Arts Foundation, President of Graphic Arts Council of North America and finally President of the American Bison Association. He currently is active in tourism, running the ranch, and hosting events for businesses and club destinations.
My hats off to Skip and Connie, and best of luck to John Daley, Wapiti and the rest of the folks who will be encouraged to see what utopia looks like. You can bet your boots that I am going to do what I can to pass on the message, ifyouknowhatimtalkinbout.