I arrived in Gillette, Wyo., in the middle of February, when the temperature was a balmy 1 below zero. But I didn’t hear anyone complaining about the wind kicking them in the teeth or the hands they could no longer feel. They were too busy putting together a frozen connex that doubled as a gym, splitting wood for the fire and putting in work with the Sig Sauer MPX while charging through 3 feet of untouched snow. No, you would have only seen shit-eating grins and sweaty foreheads from this group—and for any group that is brave enough to experience the High Bar Homestead in the middle of winter.
If you’re asking yourself, “What the hell is the High Bar Homestead?” It’s hard to define. It is a multifaceted, but well-oiled machine of chaos and calm.
It can be whatever you want it to be. If you’re looking for a team-building retreat, a training facility, a place to shoot your next TV or magazine ad/editorial or just want to get away, this place is the ultimate facilitator. The ethos is in the name, and the staff sets its standards far above average to give every person who visits a world-class experience that cannot be matched by your average business retreat or vacation.
“Homestead” is appropriate because once you walk through the door, you truly feel among friends and family. You may attribute this sentiment to the massive fireplace in the corner, the wet bar stocked with everyone’s favorite libations, the comfiest leather couch your hindquarters may ever experience or the assortment of trophy mounts on the raw-lumber walls.
For me, the feature that truly made this place feel like home was the intoxicating smell coming from the gourmet kitchen, where Chef Tex prepared his “upscale ranch cooking.” Rest assured that you can always rely on Tex for a great meal—morning, noon and night—accompanied by a story that will leave you in tears (the happy kind).
Pushing Limits at High Bar Homestead
I had the opportunity to experience this place for myself and, while I had no real expectations, I wasn’t disappointed. Yes, I could have researched it further beforehand, but what would life be without the element of surprise?
When asked to participate in an event at the High Bar Homestead alongside Sig Sauer and BeaverFit USA for the ultimate experience of pushing myself to the limit, declining wasn’t on my radar. And when they said they intended to push us to our breaking points, they meant it.
Each day we were up and out before the sun and returned long after the sun had retreated behind the mountains. Our days consisted of shooting every Sig Sauer weapon imaginable — including the MPX, P365, MCX Virtus, suppressed P229 Legion and more — while literally running through courses in several feet of snow, working out on the frozen BeaverFit USA connex, rock climbing and trail running up and down the sides of mountains. We finally returned to the barn for a relaxing evening of Muay Thai boxing led by U.S. Army veteran Grant Rung.
Oh, and did I mention that we scaled snow-covered mountains with compound bows and SIG binoculars while wearing First Lite hunting gear at Dixon’s Outlook? (The temperature was still in the single digits, so I’d like to give a shout out to First Lite and Arc’teryx for my cold-weather gear. You were truly the real MVPs during these excursions.)
Downtime at High Bar Homestead
The evenings were arguably the best part of the week. After rewarding our practically immobile, frozen-to-the-core bones with long, hot showers, it was customary for everyone to throw back a shot or two celebrating a job well done and a day well spent.
I was fortunate to be surrounded by many fellow veterans. Two of the three Marine Corp vets, Jason and Jack, work for BeaverFit USA. They are based out of my home city of Reno.
Another Marine Corp vet, Justin Miller, and Army vet Grant Rung exchanged stories with everyone but never let the atmosphere get too serious, as we all know too well that life is short. It wasn’t long before we all felt like family, even though most of us had never met prior to this event.
To some, this exhausting experience may sound awful; perhaps like their own version of Hell on Earth. But to those who embrace and understand that hard work can be synonymous with a good time, who aren’t afraid (or actually enjoy) to get sweaty and dirty, and who find comfort and camaraderie in mutual adversity and victory, the High Bar Homestead is definitely worth checking out.
For more information, visit HighBarHomestead.com.
High Bar Homestead Range Breakdown
Whether you’re a competitive pistol shooter, a long-range savant or an avid hunter, the options for learning at the High Bar Homestead—and being humbled—won’t leave you disappointed. Here are three (of many) prime examples.
This is a 1,800- and 2,000-yard range marked by a 2.5-ton 1961 GMC flatbed. The shooting positions consist of several prone locations and spotter positions in the rear of the flatbed GMC. There is an elevation increase of 300 feet from the shooting location to the man-sized targets at 1,800 and 2,000 yards.
Simunitions and paintball shoothouse includes mockups of movie theater, classroom and bus entry scenarios. There are also several vehicles that can be shot from or around, adding to the course potentials. There are dozens of half-IPSC drop targets along the perimeter for additional course scenarios.
This range allows you to practice your shotgun skills, and near the shooting position is a clay-throwing station for trap and skeet. A mix of steel targets can be engaged with slugs out to 200-plus yards. This range also can be repurposed to be equally useful for carbines.
Gear You Should Bring to High Bar Homestead
If you’re brave enough to experience Gillette, Wyo., in the middle of winter, how prepared you are will heavily dictate how much you enjoy the experience. While the High Bar Homestead provides most of what you might need and want, some things are on you, because a store doesn’t exist for several miles. So here’s a list of essential items for visiting in winter.
- Water-resistant jacket, pants, gloves and boots
- Neck gator
- Several pairs of expensive/thick socks
- Eye protection/sunglasses
- Hearing protection made for all calibers
- Hand/foot warmers
- Portable water source
- Water-resistant hiking/range bag
- Cleaning kit
- Your favorite pistol holster
- Lip balm
- Cell phone charger
This article is from the fall 2018 issue of Ballistic Magazine. Grab your copy at OutdoorGroupStore.com.