Site Visit: Knibbe Ranch

By Anna Dunn, September 2, 2015

The Knibbe (pronounced ka-ni-bee) family has called this working cattle ranch home for five generations, and owner Chuck Knibbe beams when he tells the property’s detailed history and shares about his great-great-grandfather, Dietrich Knibbe, who founded it in 1852. Knibbe Ranch occupies 1,000 sprawling acres of land in Spring Branch, Texas (in the heart of Texas Hill Country), with a 12,000-sq.-ft. main hall, a 1,100-seat rodeo arena and a campfire area.

Through partnerships with three Marriott properties in nearby San Antonio (Rivercenter, Riverwalk and JW Marriott Hill Country Resort & Spa, all part of Marriott’s Convention & Resort Network), groups of 4,000-plus staying at those hotels can also hold events at the ranch. “When people come to Texas, they want to have an off-site ranch experience,” says Knibbe.

Groups can participate in classic Western activities, such as horseback riding, rodeos, skeet shooting, Texas two-stepping lessons and s’mores-making; or the less common, like armadillo races and mechanical bull riding. In July, as part of its annual convention, the Southwest Meat Association held its chairman’s dinner and dance at Knibbe Ranch, complete with live music.

For memorable teambuilding, consider the ranch’s signature teepee-making activity, where teams construct their own camp area using cowhides; gather and cook their own food; and come up with a history of their tribe. Clearly, creativity is encouraged: “The most memorable [activity] in my mind was the jousting knights we had in the rodeo arena instead of a rodeo,” says Knibbe.

Insider Tip
Installed this year, the ranch’s barbecue can grill up to 98 steaks at a time. “You can put half a cow on it if you want!” Knibbe shares.

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