320 Guest Ranch hosts community pig roast series
Story and photos by Jessianne Wright EBS Contributor
GALLATIN CANYON – Each Monday night this summer, food and entertainment await those willing to make the 12-mile drive south on Highway 191 from the intersection with Big Sky’s Lone Mountain Trail.
Concentrated along Buffalo Horn Creek and its confluence with the Gallatin River, and tucked within the Gallatin National Forest with Ramshorn Peak as a backdrop, 320 Guest Ranch is well worth the visit.
Beyond its picturesque setting, 320 is home to the annual Monday Night Pig Roast, where locals and travelers alike come together weekly to enjoy the ranch over a locally sourced meal and live music from area musicians.
Entrance is $15 per person, and guests may help themselves to slow-roasted pulled pork sandwiches, potato salad, baked beans, and coleslaw—all made in the 320 kitchen. Later in the evening, sit around the bonfire, or perhaps test your skills swinging a lasso at the roping dummies set out on the lawn.
Heading south on 191, the 320 sign will be on the left, on Buffalo Horn Creek Road, and white letters read, “320 Guest Ranch. Lodging. Conference Center. Open To The Public Year-Round.”
Turn here and you’ll rumble across a wooden bridge and drive along a stand of jack-leg fence which then leads to a number of green-roofed log cabins situated at the base of mountains, hills and trees. This is where the night’s activities commence.
John Richardson, the ranch’s general manager, makes it a point to help out the staff and interact with guests. He welcomes visitors as they walk in from the parking lot or he may be found bussing tables, hands full of dirty dishes.
The pig roast dinners started nine years ago, and like anything, they evolved.
“They turned into exactly what we were hoping,” Richardson said. “The pig roasts are a weekly gathering for locals of all stripes, as a low-key, fun, community event.”
An average of 300 to 350 revelers come out each Monday night, and the roasts are held rain or shine. With threats of rain, the ranch moves the dinner and music indoors, but if the weather is good all activities are outside in the mountain air.
Providing a space for relaxation and fun is important to 320, which places emphasis on community. “Local” is a key word at the ranch, whether it is locally grown food, local musicians, the local public, or pairing with local partners.
“We all live here, we all work here, we all play here,” Richardson said. “It is important for us to give back to organizations that allow us to sustain our lifestyle.”
At the June 6 pig roast 320 met this desire to give back in a big way. Continuing its partnership with Ophir Middle School last year, the ranch donated $5 per plate to the eighth grade class and their May 2017 trip to Washington, D.C. to study the U.S. government.
Students worked during the event, clearing plates and helping 320 staff, and in return the ranch donated almost $900 to Ophir’s D.C. cause. The eighth graders plan to attend the 320 pig roast later in the summer as a second fundraising event.
Tony Coppola, a social studies teacher at Ophir and facilitator for the trip, said this kind of outreach is critical to the community. “Businesses such as the 320 and many others throughout Big Sky are invested in the future,” he said. “They want to see Big Sky prosper.”
The 320 Guest Ranch pig roasts are held each Monday night through Sept. 12, from 5-8 p.m.