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Hyrum man brings Old West to life in his own backyard

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HYRUM — A Hyrum man is bringing his love for the old west to life right in his backyard.

He's spent the last two years building a small town center. Just beyond an aluminum gateway is where visitors can walk into Bruce Olsen's world.

Olsen said a lot of his interest is in the old west, but it's easy to see this is more than fleeting interest.

"It became a hobby, then it became an obsession," said Olsen's wife, Judy Ann Olsen. "He worked down here 10, 12 hours a day, and I had to drag him up to get him to eat."

Retired from the Forest Service, Olsen spends much of his daytime hours at the old west town, constantly tinkering and improving. His only name for it is the Quitchupah Ranch.

He's built up several storefronts, including a blacksmith shop, post office, bank and a hotel. And of course, an old jail.

"We do have three inmates right there," Olsen said. "There they are they're good looking guys — but they kind of act mean, don't they?"

You can get away from the world that way.

–Bruce Olsen

The whole project started at the bunk house. It's just sort of a fun place, where the grandkids can hang out and have some fun. They've got a nook where they can watch videos and play some games, and there are bunk beds where the kids can sleep for the night.

One day, Olsen decided maybe the place has a lot more potential, and somehow, he ended up with this project that's never quite finished.

"Well, in fact, I'm the one who cranks the sun up every day," he said. "Maybe people don't know that."

Olsen says much of the town was built on donated materials and stuff he already had.

What started as something fun for the grandkids has grown into so much more. Olsen says over the past two years, he and his wife have hosted several groups and parties at the old Quichupah Ranch.

He says seeing others enjoy the old west town has made all the hard work worthwhile, and he plans to continue making it available for use within the small community.

"We're glad we did," Olsen said. "It's been fun for us."

Olsen says he's had several church groups and even the local senior center ask to hold events in his old west town. For the next phase he plans to add a stage and covered entertainment for music acts.


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Mike Anderson


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