I Bar Ranch History

Details on the I Bar Venue

The I Bar is an authentic western heritage event center that seats up to 515.  It is situated on a 10 acre converted hay meadow, 250 ft off of the Tomichi Creek at the base of ‘W’ Mountain in beautiful Gunnison, CO.  The Colorado DOW operates the buffer of land between our venue and Tomichi Creek and offers access to amazing fly fishing and equestrian/hiking opportunities.

The I Bar is situated 1.5 miles southeast of downtown Gunnison behind Jorgenson Park and the Pioneer Museum.  Its unique setting is what makes it very special; just on the edge of town, but deep into the quiet spaces of agriculture and recreation.

The venue is a converted hay barn with stage, lighting & sound.  While the sides are open to provide fresh air and scenery, there are curtains that can be closed for inclement weather.  The venue is in operation from May-October for community orientated events.

Details on the business I Bar, Inc.

The owner of I Bar, Inc., Bryan Wickenhauser, and his family are well ingrained in the Gunnison community. Bryan operates Midwest Leasing, Inc., and is a multi-sport athlete / ski race event director in the area.  He has been a board member with the Crested Butte Nordic Center for the past eight years and is a three-time GORE-TEX Grand Traverse ski champion.   His wife, Jennifer Michel, is the head Men’s and Women’s Cross Country and Assistant Track Coach at Western State Colorado University.  She is a former three-time NCAA Div. II National Champion and two-time NCAA Div. II Men’s Coach of the Year.  She is also the women’s record holder of the ‘W Mountain’ running race.  They have two daughters Eliza – 3 & Gianna – 6

Bryan and Jennifer had their wedding reception at the I Bar Ranch back in 2004 and are excited to see the facility utilized as a community event center showcasing its authenticity.

 

History of the I Bar Brand

Powderhorn, CO rancher, William Clark Howard, originated the I Bar Brand.  Three generations of the Howard family have since passed along the I Bar brand. Ed Howard’s grandfather, William Clark Howard, came to Lake City, CO in the 1880’s to work in the mines.  He then operated a freight business driving teams of horses and loaded wagons destined to the railroad in Creede.  In the early 1900’s, he got into cattle ranching in the Powderhorn and Cathedral area where he began using the I Bar brand.  His son, David Howard took over the ranch and operated it until 1977 when the reigns were handed to Ed Howard.  The current use of the I Bar brand at the I Bar Ranch was permitted by Powderhorn, CO rancher, Ed Howard.

The I Bar venue was first built and operated by Dick Bratton and Gary McCorkhill, brothers-in-law of Ed Howard, in 1993.  The current ownership falls under the Gunnison Valley Properties, LLC.

The I Bar Brand is valuable because of its simplicity making it easy to use and easy to read.