For more than 300 years, ranching has been a way of life—and business—in Texas. The uniquely Texan ranch experience has captured the imagination of the world, and ranches have served as uncredited “stars” for some of Hollywood’s most iconic productions: from Reata, the fictitious ranch depicted in the classic movie “Giant,” to the glamorous Southfork Ranch, home of the primetime soap opera “Dallas.” Longhorns, horses, cowboys, rodeos, 10-gallon hats and cowboy boots: There is an alluring mystique surrounding Texas ranches. So, fully immerse your out-of-state guests in this quintessential Lone Star adventure by heading to a ranch for some good, old-fashioned team-building. As an added bonus, the wide open spaces of “land, lots of land” also encourage an open-air, socially distanced environment. So, saddle up and check out the team-building activities available at these two Texas ranches.

Circle R Ranch
Set on 60 acres of rolling hills and pastures, Circle R Ranch is easily accessible from the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center for conventions and conferences looking for some off-site team building. The ranch offers a number of options for bringing groups together including:

  • Cowboy Up Rodeo Challenge: Working together as a team under the direction of one of Circle R’s facilitators, teams compete in various ranch activity options, such as rollo roping, target shooting and barrel racing. You can also check out the “The Amazin’ Cattle Pen Maze,” a 5,000-squarefoot wooden maze that challenges team members to assist and motivate each other while navigating the labyrinth’s twists and turns.
  • Chili Cook-Off: Ready to chow down, chuckwagon style? Spice up your team-building program with a chili cook-off. Teams compete to win “Chili Bucks,” which they can use to purchase ingredients to whip up their championship recipes.
  • Biker Build-Off: Through Circle R’s Great Biker Build-Off, your participants will compete in a series of challenges including Road Trip, Trivia, and What’s That Part to earn “Biker Bucks,” which can then be used to buy the parts and tools to build a bike. This fun and interactive company experience not only builds a strong team connection, but also has an equally powerful result: the customized bicycles are donated to children in need. And if you’d like to conduct some meetings between team-building, the ranch can take care of that, as well. Its 27,000-square-foot Western Pavilion accommodates from 100 to 5,000 guests and includes a game room, stage, on-site catering and a 5,000-square-foot covered patio. For smaller groups, Circle R’s 5,000-squarefoot Chisholm Ranch House features a main room with a fireplace and elevated stage, as well as an adjoining sun room and an outdoor, covered veranda with views of grazing horses and longhorn steers.

Pedrotti's Ranch 
Enjoy a hearty breakfast and a breakout session before getting down to team-building business at Pedrotti’s Ranch near San Antonio. The venue has spaces of up to 30,000 square feet and can accommodate groups from 50 to 2,000. Large conferences and conventions can go from plenary session to breakouts to lunch to breakout to team-building activities without ever having to leave the property.

Team-building activities include game shows (“Family Feud,” “Jeopardy”), cooking competitions (Chili Cook-Off, Top Chef Challenge, Margarita Pour-Off), stand-alone games (cornhole, horseshoes, Jenga, Ping Pong), and talent shows (“American Idol”), as well as Tee Pee Builds and Texas Hold ’em. For the full Texan experience, your guests can even sit back and cheer on a rodeo in Pedrotti’s full-featured, private, 16,200-square-foot rodeo arena, complete with bleacher seating.

The ranch has a number of facilities where groups can cross off all of those agenda items too. The 12,000-square-foot Shooting Star offers easy access to both the rodeo arena and The Corral, an enclosed patio. It includes a bar and a stage (post-team-building awards ceremony, perhaps?).

The 7,500-square-foot Corral is perfect for overflow—or added social distancing—and features an outdoor, covered patio. The largest facility, the Lone Oak, is 14,400 square feet, and can accommodate up to 1,500 guests. It has a stage and a bar, as well.

Spaces can be rented solo or combined for larger events. The ranch also offers virtual team-building and high capacity Wi-Fi, and can equip your meeting with A/V screens, projectors, audio sound systems and stage lighting.

What’s that saying? Everything’s bigger in Texas? That’s certainly true of team-building, Texas ranch-style.

In 1927, Hilton Hotels founder Conrad Hilton said, "Abilene, Texas will be well prepared to handle large conventions and please the most fastidious visitor." Nearly 95 years later, Abilene has fulfilled this vision and is excited to welcome back the Hilton family of hotels in the heart of Downtown Abilene with a recently announced DoubleTree by Hilton.


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According to MPI’s report “Spring 2021 Meetings Outlook,” three-quarters of meeting professionals predict a face-to-face event this calendar year. And that definitely rings true for Lisa Williams, executive director of sales for the hotel.


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