“It’s a paradise,” Oppermann says. Situated about a kilometre off Highway 11 in a park-like setting, the ranch is ideal for a variety of year-round activities such as weddings, family reunions, anniversaries, company functions, corporate events and seminars.
Circle H Ranch was previously owned and operated by Harvey and Donna Pelletier. “They had a booming business. When Harvey passed away, Donna carried on alone for several years, but she was finding it difficult and approached us to do the catering for her. We did that for four years with an option to purchase,” says Oppermann. In April 2012, Oppermann purchased the property and the business has grown dramatically. The ranch has a dance hall that can accommodate 200 people, a large wedding tent that can hold up to 500 guests, and a chapel (the Wedding Chapel of Hope) located on the property.
During the summer there are hay and buggy rides available, as well as ball diamonds, a large picnic and barbecue area, a beach volleyball court and horseshoe pits.
“A neighbour provides the horses for the hayrides, and we have beautiful custom-made coaches,” Oppermann says. Winter activities include sleigh rides and cross-country skiing.
“People like country weddings — a location where they can come, relax and visit after the ceremony. Relatives and friends sometimes travel long distances and appreciate the exclusive nature of the site — it becomes their space. It’s the same for conventions. The ranch is like a retreat, yet close to the city. There is also plenty of parking. I think that makes the Circle H attractive,” he says.
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Oppermann has ongoing plans for the ranch. He’s already made numerous renovations to the dance hall, and has equipped it with Wi-Fi and overhead projectors — important for corporate events. “I think I could do some wonderful things out here.”
Oppermann was born in Germany, and at 14 years old became an apprentice as a cook, working at the Berlin Hilton on completion. He transferred to the Hilton in Vancouver, B.C. when he was 19. “I spoke no English when I came to Canada,” he says.
In 1972 he married Evelyne Boutin from the small community of Domremy, north of Wakaw, Saskatchewan. “We decided to move to Saskatchewan and experience the Prairies — the real Canada,” he says, and they purchased a small restaurant in Allan, Saskatchewan.
Over the years Oppermann has also cooked for 1,000 at a mining camp, been the chef instructor at the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology, and had a catering business. “As time went on, our catering got busier and people would ask if we had a hall. We played with the idea of a storefront because we were a kind of virtual caterer, so when this opportunity with Circle H came along, it was a perfect fit.”
For more information, visit the Circle H Ranch website.