By CHARLIE PRITCHARD For Le Courant
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP – About a year and a half ago, Ventnor resident Jackie Blake and a business partner rented a potato farm in a remote part of the township with the intention of starting a ranch. They then proceeded to clear the land before buying the property last month and naming it Rockin’ J Ranch.
An open house was held on Saturday to officially launch the operation of the ranch. Hundreds of visitors came to the site on Avenue de Leipzig.
“We had a food truck, but they had to leave early because they were out of food,” said marketing manager Carrie Corea.
Attendees had the opportunity to ride horses, tug of war, see demonstrations and enjoy refreshments. There were also games and crafts for the children.
They also had the opportunity to meet the ranch management team, Brian and Morgan Johnson. The Johnsons moved to this area from Stephenville, Texas, where they were accomplished equestrians.
Brian was born and raised in Las Vegas. He played football until his sophomore year of high school where he discovered his love for rope and joined his high school rodeo team. He received a rodeo scholarship for the rodeo team at Tarleton State University and earned a degree in animal science with a minor in equine studies.
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He specializes in training foals and working with problem horses. Brian was the No. 1 stringer in the nation with the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association for four years, with his horse Maverick. Brian started training horses about seven years ago.
Morgan McCracken Johnson was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. She started pee wee rodeo at the age of 5, and got her pro card at the age of 13 on her horse Blue. The year she was heading to the National Rodeo Finals, Morgan lost Blue in a very tragic accident and stopped riding for a while.
Meanwhile, Morgan’s father ran a breeding and training center, so Morgan began training and breaking horses. She started a lesson program with the horses she trained and discovered her love of working with children.
“We’re here because we love working with kids,” Brian said.
“We want to impact lives,” Morgan said. “You don’t do this to get rich. We do it for the lifestyle.
“We hope to attract more high school students,” Blake said. “We want to expand our existing steering team.”
Rockin’ J Ranch works with the New Jersey High School Rodeo Association (NJHSRA), a program the ranch encourages all of its children to join. There are many events during the school year to choose from for ages starting as young as 5 years old through senior year.
“We travel and compete against other East Coast states,” Blake added. “Our children get a great experience and Rockin’ J makes it simple and easy to participate. We will be hosting a New Jersey Rodeo event on April 23-24. »
Blake said he wants to expand his therapy programs, especially for children with autism.
“Riding and grooming horses is a great source of relaxation,” she said. “It’s very therapeutic.”
Blake points out that the facility is a western horse ranch as opposed to one that offers English riding.
“We want everyone to have a real western experience,” she said.
In addition to training and therapy programs, the facility offers both an indoor stable and paddock, lessons and horse rentals. They also offer to organize two and three hour birthday parties.
Corea said they are also looking to form partnerships with local businesses.
“Seaview Country Club is working with us to provide a discount because their customers would like to do more than just visit casinos,” she said. “We also hope to partner with Renault Winery soon.”
She added that they had a romantic affair which often led to a marriage proposal.
More information about the Rockin’ J Ranch can be found on their website, rockinj-ranch.com.