Campers flock to Country Jam Ranch, but thunderstorm looms

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MACK, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Country Jam Ranch 2018 got its first residents of the year Wednesday morning. Campers were able to head to the ranch and get set up at 9 a.m.

There are nearly 4,000 campsites this year. Campers flocked to the site all day Wednesday, setting up their tents, RVs and filling their pools.
A camper at the event, Travis Shull, was setting up his campsite mid-day.

“Right now we have camp DD being set up," said Shull. "(We’ve) got a dance floor, a beer pong table, a pool, corn hole table."

He’s excited to be at the festival and hang out with friends he hasn’t seen in a long time. He said they plan for about a year to get everything ready. Across the way, another dancefloor was going up at “Cadillac Ranch.” It’s campground club of sorts.

"We have a lot going on this year,” said Steve Archer, who runs Cadillac Ranch. “We have themed nights."

It was a beautiful day to set up camp, hardly a cloud dotted the sky. However, that may change soon enough.

"Our chances for lightning look pretty good this weekend," said Norv Larson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

That storm can bring relief with moisture, but with it can also come lightning, which can be problematic for multiple reasons—fire included.

"Any lightening right now is probably going to start a fire,” said Larson. “Now, the hope is for this weekend with these storms, is that we get enough moisture associated with these storms that that won't be an issue."

Lightning strikes can also be a hazard out at the Country Jam Ranch. Tall metal structures are planted around the site, and that’s just what lightning would be looking for.

Larson said in case of severe lightning, the best place to seek shelter is in a car. If that’s not possible, he said to find an open space and crouch down. Lightning tends to strike the highest object.

While it might be a safety hazard, the moisture is severely needed in more way than one.

"It would be great to get rain for one year, kind of just make sure all the dust doesn't kick up all the time, and that would be beautiful if it rained out here," said Mario Vigil, a camper at Country Jam.

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