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 up to 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. The ranch works with Destinations by Marriott chefs—donning white chef coats and black cowboy hats—and event coordinators who handle everything from transportation to F&B to activities.
Baptist, Lutheran and Evangelical church groups have used the serene property for small-group devotions and Bible studies. Groups can also participate in classic Western experiences 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. The ranch’s signature teepee teambuilding activity is a memorable experience 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.
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.
Photo credit: JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa