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2016 United States ARDF Championships


Field of Bluebonnets by Julian Onderdonk (1882-1922)

The championships will take place in multiple venues in central Texas between the cities of Killeen and Georgetown. The primary site of the competitions will be the Parrie Haynes C5 Youth Ranch and the Parrie Haynes Equestrian Center, which are adjacent to each other about 10 miles (16 km) southwest of Killeen, Texas. The historic central Texas ranch is named for Mrs. Parrie Haynes (1873-1957). The ranch was donated by Mrs. Haynes to the state of Texas to help provide for the orphans of Texas and eventually came to be managed by the Texas Youth Commission (which later became the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.) In 1993, the ranch was leased by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for use as a youth camp. Since 2011, the youth camp at the ranch has been operated by the C5 Youth Foundation of Texas. You can read more about the history of the ranch in this article in TPW Magazine: "A Ranch for Raising Kids" by Martha Underwood.

In addition to Parrie Haynes Ranch, the Fox-Oring competition will take place at Dana Peak Park in Harker Heights, Texas. The park is a recreational facility on the north shore of Stillhouse Hollow Lake, a US Army Corps of Engineers reservoir. Additionally, a practice event will be held prior to the competition events at Berry Springs Park and Preserve in Georgetown, Texas. A large portion of the park was once a working pecan orchard with over 1,000 pecan trees, most of which remain. The park is also home to two donkeys, Bob and Amigo; visitors are allowed to feed them treats if they wish to: bring apples or carrots only, please.

Embargoed Areas

The following parks, management areas, preserves, and ranches are embargoed for competitors prior to the competition:

An embargo of the competition areas is now in effect, meaning that persons who will be competing in these championships must not enter Dana Peak Park or the Parrie Haynes Ranch between now and the time of the events. There are four exceptions to this rule:

  1. In the Parrie Hayne C5 Youth Ranch area, it's OK to be in the hilltop complex in the southwest corner where the cabins and dining hall are. But if you can't see the buildings, you're in an off-limits area.
  2. It's OK to be within 500 meters of the Equestrian Center club house. You can stay at the campground there, or the cabins, and you can walk around the camping area.
  3. You can drive on Gann Branch Road and Maxdale Road, and the driveway to the Equestrian Center. But don't leave the road.

Notes on Parrie Haynes Ranch

  • Maxdale Road is a caliche/gravel road between Clear Creek Road (State Highway 201) at its northern end and Million Dollar Road (it is a paved surface from Million Dollar Road onward to the south.) Gann Branch Road is also a caliche/gravel road for its entire length between Maxdale Road and the C5 Youth Ranch entrance gate. You will not need four-wheel drive to traverse the roads, but you might wish to drive slower to avoid the occasional pothole or bump. Maxdale Road is a public road with a 40 MPH speed limit on the gravel/caliche section. Gann Branch Road is a private road with a 30 MPH posted speed limit.
  • If you are approaching the ranch from the southeast on FM 2670 from Ding Dong, the signage will indicate that Maxdale Road continues straight and North Maxdale Road is a right turn. You want to turn right on North Maxdale Road.
  • Google Maps currently shows two locations if you search for "Parrie Haynes Equestrian Center." The correct location is the northern one on Maxdale Road at 31.017676 N, 97.811041 W. Google Maps shows a point for "Parrie Haynes C5 Youth Ranch" in the middle of the ranch, but you will want to drive to the Hilltop Complex on Gann Branch Road at 31.000180 N, 97.861185 W.
  • The Parrie Haynes C5 Youth Ranch is home to "The Big Tree", the second-largest tree in the state of Texas. A 500 year old live oak tree with a trunk circumference of 22.3 feet (6.8 meters), it is surpassed only by a 1000 year old live oak (confusingly, also known as "The Big Tree") at Goose Island State Park in Rockport (which has a circumference of 35.1 feet (10.7 meters).
  • Just south of the Maxdale Road/FM 2670 intersection is an old iron bridge over the Lampasas River. The Maxdale Bridge, a Parker Truss design, was built in 1916, but is no longer in service. The bridge is featured in local ghost stories.


The competition dates fall during peak bluebonnet season in central Texas. While bluebonnets (the official state wildflower of Texas) will bloom any time from mid-March to mid-April, and peak season can vary from year to year based on weather conditions, April 6-10 is likely to be a great time to see and photograph Texas bluebonnets. A local custom in central Texas is taking annual portrait photographs of babies and young children in fields of bluebonnets. You might see people on the side of the road taking photos. For more information, see: http://www.bluebonnetlove.com/.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Killeen, Texas is the closest city to the competition areas. The city has a population of about 140,000, making it the 22nd largest city in Texas. Killeen is the principal city in a larger metropolitan area that includes Temple, Belton, Harker Heights, Copperas Cove, and Fort Hood. The greater area (sometimes referred to as the "Centroplex") has a combined population of about 420,000 people. Killeen is adjacent to Fort Hood, one of the largest military bases in the free world, and as such its economy is heavily invested in the soldiers and their families stationed there. At any given time, Fort Hood has approximately 50,000 soldiers and civilian employees. Killeen is about 16 miles (26 km) west of Interstate Highway 35, the main highway between Austin to the south and Dallas-Fort Worth to the north. A KLRU television travel show called The Daytripper has a 30-minute episode featuring Killeen that you can watch online.

Georgetown, Texas is a major suburb of Austin, Texas and the closest suburban town to the competition area (about 30 miles (50 km) southeast of Parrie Haynes Ranch). While the greater Austin metropolitan area has a population of about 1.9 million people, Georgetown itself has a population of close to 50,000. Georgetown is home to Southwestern University, the oldest university in Texas (founded in 1840) and is known as the "Red Poppy Capital of Texas" for the abundant red poppy flowers planted throughout the city. This year, the Red Poppy Festival will be held about two weeks after the ARDF championships on April 22-24, 2016. The county courthouse at the center of town is famous as the site of the first successful criminal prosecutions of Klu Klux Klan terrorists in the United States. The September, 1923 prosecution was led by Williamson County native District Attorney Dan Moody, who would later be elected Governor of Texas. You can also watch an episode of The Daytripper featuring Georgetown online.

The closest major city to the competition sites is Austin, Texas. Austin is the fourth largest city in Texas, and the 11th largest city in the United States, with a population of about 913,000 in the city and 1.9 million in the larger metropolitan area. The capital city of Texas is named after the Alamo martyr and "Father of Texas," Stephen F. Austin. Austin is home to several universities including the University of Texas at Austin, which has over 51,000 students, making it one of the 10 largest university campuses in the United States. Austin is the "Live Music Capital of the World" and home to major music festivals including SXSW and Austin City Limits. A major tourist attraction is the colony of Mexican Freetail bats that live under the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge over Lady Bird Lake downtown from mid-March to mid-November. The nightly emergence over the lake of 500,000 to 2 million bats draws thousands of observers. The city's unofficial motto is "Keep Austin Weird."

Weather in April

The average high temperature for April 6-10 in Killeen, Texas is 74° F (23° C). The average low temperature for those days is 54° F (12° C). The record high temperature for those days is 87° F (31° C) (set in 2011), and the record low is 41° F (5° C) (set in 2009). In that time of April, rain or thunderstorms can happen on about one day out of every five, and the most common sky condition will be partly cloudy. All competitors should be prepared to compete in the rain if necessary.

Weather almanac for Killeen, Texas for the days of April 6-10 from 1996 to 2015


Send comments to: Ken Harker WM5R wm5r@wm5r.org
Last updated: 17 April 2016