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Reagan Ranch Edition

Dear Friend, “A Place to See the Real Ronald Reagan” is how a Washington Post headline described Rancho del Cielo. Although few reporters had seen the private quarters of President Reagan’s ranch prior to April 1998, most instantly recognize that it is overflowing with our 40th President’s character. What a tragedy it would have been if the Reagan Presidential home had not been saved for future generations. We would have lost the opportunity to see and understand the significance of the setting that shaped so many decisions that affected our nation’s history in the crucial 1981 to 1989 era. It is unlikely that an American President would surmise that future generations would come to know more about him and his times by visiting his private home. The White House is more likely to come to mind. Yet, the White House changes with each President. So Mount Vernon, Monticello, Montpelier, and other Presidential homes are where Americans go to learn about their occupants. Our nation’s efforts to save the homes of its chief executives would be irreparably undermined by missing the site of the most important President of the twentieth century. The Reagan Ranch is more than a Presidential time capsule. It is an ideal venue to pass on his ideas to future generations. Ronald Reagan had a vision for America that was motivated by big, powerful principles. He told us in his first inaugural address, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” To the new President, it was “time to check and reverse the growth of government.” He continued, “It is my intention to curb the size and influence of the federal establishment.” President Reagan had a clear understanding of the threats Socialist ideologies and modern day terrorism posed to freedom. He believed it was essential for our leaders to develop winning strategies to thwart these threats. Ronald Reagan’s principles are just as important today as they were in 1981. They are timeless. And they need to be taught to each generation. This was President Reagan’s message in his final address from the Oval Office. He warned us that we must do a better job teaching our children an informed patriotism. President Reagan worked with Young America’s Foundation for more than 20 years. He was eager to pass his ideas on to new audiences. It is fitting, then, that the leadership and supporters of Young America’s Foundation acted quickly and with sacrificial efforts to save this historic site. This issue of Libertas tells of President Reagan, his beloved Rancho del Cielo, and how we are utilizing the Reagan Ranch to pass on President Reagan’s principles to future generations. A special thanks goes to Peggy Noonan. She not only was an active partner with the President in the Reagan Revolution, but she captured the character of the Ranch itself in her writing. We appreciate the permission she granted to publish her insights.


Ron Robinson President

C ontents

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Riding With Reagan

The Western White House

President Reagan’s close friend, John Barletta, shares memories about riding at the Ranch and protecting Ronald Reagan.

President Reagan meets with world leaders, signs legislation, and changes a nation—all from his Western White House.

By John Barletta, United States Secret Service (Ret.)


Saving Rancho del Cielo

Ranch FAQs

Learn about Young America’s Foundation, Ronald Reagan, and why we saved his ranch.

Discover the answers to your frequently asked Reagan Ranch questions.

By Nicole Hoplin, Director of Foundation Relations


Preserving History

Young America’s Foundation uses Reagan’s ranch to inspire tomorrow’s leaders today.

Ranch Curator Marilyn Fisher discusses the preservation and restoration efforts necessary to protect the Reagan Ranch.

By Jessica Jensen, Editor

Television, radio, and print media bring the Reagan Ranch to millions worldwide. By Kate Obenshain, Vice President

The Ranch by Peggy Noonan


By Marilyn Fisher, Ranch Curator

The Reagan Ranch Today


Media and the Ranch


By Chris Miranda, Director of Marketing

By Jessica Jensen, Editor

The Reagan Ranch Center


The Foundation’s Reagan Ranch Center introduces increasing numbers of young people to Ronald Reagan’s principles. By Andrew Coffin, Vice President and Director of the Reagan Ranch

Author Peggy Noonan describes Rancho del Cielo in her best-selling Reagan biography, When Character was King. By Peggy Noonan, Author

On the Cover: This well-known image captures President Reagan at Rancho del Cielo in his much-preferred riding attire—blue jeans, a work shirt, and his cowboy hat.

Also in this issue: • The Ranch, Ronald Reagan, and Young America’s Foundation: A Timeline – page 24 • Learn More About Rancho Del Cielo and Ronald Reagan – page 34 Libertas, a publication of Young America’s Foundation, highlights the programs, events, students, staff, and supporters of the Foundation. You may contact Libertas and Young America’s Foundation by writing to: Young America’s Foundation, National Headquarters, 110 Elden Street, Herndon, Virginia 20170; calling 800-USA-1776; or visiting


Reagan Ranch Edition

Ron Robinson President of the Board Ronald Pearson Vice President of the Board Frank Donatelli Secretary and Treasurer of the Board T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr. Wynton C. Hall Thomas L. Phillips Peter Schweizer James B. Taylor Kirby Wilbur

Publisher: Ron Robinson; Editor: Jessica Jensen; Publication Design: Jonathan Briggs and Joshua McNary; California event photographers Jacqueline Pilar, Kevin Steele, and Jensen Sutta; Washington, D.C event photographer Spencer Anderson. This document and all herein contents, images, stories, graphics, and design, fall unto Copyright © 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 Young America’s Foundation, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Any use of Libertas’ content without the written permission of Young America’s Foundation is prohibited.

Frank Donatelli Chairman Judge William Clark Co-Chairman Edwin Meese Co-Chairman Governor George Allen John Barletta Dr. Suzanne Becker Lisa M. Buestrin Robert Cummins Becky Norton Dunlop Robert Giuffra, Jr. Timothy S. Goeglein Ambassador Patricia L. Herbold Eric & Nicole Hoplin Marty Irving Harold Knapheide Mark Larson Al & Bette Moore Governor Bill Owens Doug & Pat Perry Thomas Phillips Dr. Robert Ruhe & Lee Shannon Fred & Ruth Sacher Richard & Jane Schwartz Craig Shirley Owen & Bernadette Casey Smith Barbara S. Waddell

Thomas Phillips Chairman Alex X. Mooney Executive Director Kellyanne Conway Terry Eastland David Gracey Rich Lowry Matt Robinson Tom Winter

Riding With Reagan By John Barletta I n t r o d u c t i o n b y J a s o n B a r b o u r , Di r e c t o r o f D e v e l o p m e n t


ew Americans knew of John Barletta before his book, Riding With Reagan, was published in 2005. Young America’s Foundation encouraged John to record his many stories about his time as President Reagan’s longest serving Secret Service agent. We knew the impact and importance of sharing John’s stories with a wider audience, and the release of Riding With Reagan has undoubtedly helped pass on Ronald Reagan’s lasting accomplishments to future generations.

One person in particular who said this was Mrs. Reagan. She called John and asked if he would meet with Young America’s Foundation’s staff when it was apparent that the Foundation would be preserving Rancho del Cielo. John was not familiar with Young America’s Foundation but was happy to meet with us at the First Lady’s request. John remembers his initial meeting with the Foundation team: “They impressed me so much, that at the end of their presentation, I asked, ‘What do you want me to do?’”

Young America’s Foundation’s relationship with John began when we saved the Reagan Ranch in 1998 (see page seven).

Seeking out John’s assistance and guidance was great advice. His first-hand experiences with and knowledge of President Reagan make him an invaluable asset to the Reagan Ranch and Young America’s Foundation’s efforts. After Reagan took office, Secret Service Agent John Barletta was placed in charge of the equestrian team because of his love of horses and his mastery of riding. In 1987, he was assigned to the Western Protective Division to oversee the Reagan Ranch detail.

President Reagan tends to his riding equipment in the Ranch’s tack barn.

The Foundation team spoke with Reagan associates to document and preserve Rancho del Cielo’s important history. In these meetings, we were frequently told, “You should talk to John Barletta.”


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John traveled around the world with President and Mrs. Reagan, ensuring their protection and safety—from the White House to Camp David to Windsor Castle and even to Pope John Paul II’s summer residence near Rome. And, of course, he always rode alongside the President at Rancho del Cielo. John, throughout nearly two decades of service to Ronald Reagan, spent countless hours with

the President at the Ranch. Whenever the President was on a horse, John was right beside him. They shared a love of the outdoors—of riding in particular—and over time, became close friends. John Barletta is now retired in Santa Barbara, California, living just a few miles from his old workplace, the Reagan Ranch. He is an active member of the Reagan Ranch Board of Governors, and he continues to advance the President’s lasting accomplishments by helping Young America’s Foundation promote conservative ideas to young people.

flowers. Those are the state flowers, John. That’s Santa Rosa Island out there, John.” He was always looking for places along the path where he needed to clear some brush. . . . “John, see how the sunlight touches the trees,” he’d say, “and notice how the mighty oak tree bends but doesn’t break. Just hear that wind blow. . . .” Like all other Presidents, he still had to carry the weighty burdens of that office with him, but at least at the Ranch, he was in a place where he felt most comfortable. While riding his horse on the endless trails of his 688 acres, he could be alone with his thoughts and nature. Once when

The following are excerpts from Riding With Reagan: From the White House to the Reagan Ranch. In his book, John provides insights into what it was like to ride on horseback alongside one of our greatest Presidents. We thank John Barletta for his continued guidance and support of Rancho del Cielo, and we hope you enjoy these passages from Riding with Reagan.

Excerpts from Riding With Reagan A World Away From Washington, D.C.

One reason the Ranch seemed worlds away from the White House is that while we were there, the President never talked to me about

Agent Barletta shares a laugh with the First Lady just outside the tack barn at Rancho del Cielo.

we were at the White House, both dressed in tuxedos, he came to me, grabbing and shaking his lapel, and said, “Well, John, in four days we can get out of these store-bought clothes, get in some boots and jeans, and we’ll be riding. . . .” Horse Jumping

One of the things he loved to do most on a horse was jump. For those of us in the Secret Service, that was a nightmare. Here you had the leader of the Free World atop an eleven hundred pound animal, flying over logs and bushes. He’d jump over logs the height of coffee tables, and while we were frightened to death that something might happen, it was obvious that he just loved to do it. . . .

The President signed John’s favorite picture of the two friends, “Dear John, looks like a matched pair—or 2 matched pairs.”

anything related to what was going on in Washington, D.C. Even though he shouldered some of the burdens of the world, he was always able to see and enjoy some of the great gifts of life. While riding, he would talk to me about the scenery. He’d say, “This is what it’s all about. Look at that tree. Look at those yellow poppy

The President would stand up in his stirrups, put his knees into the knee roll, lean forward, get ready to jump, and take off. When the horse landed, he would ease back into the saddle. He did it with perfect rhythm. It was beautiful to watch. After each jump, he would get a big smile on his face. . . . Riding Routine

The First Couple again had a routine when the ride was over. . . . He would take his right leg and throw it over the horse’s neck and jump down from a sixteen-hands-high horse. I could Young America’s Foundation • Libertas


never do that, even on my best days. Besides, I wouldn’t want to do it. Out of the hundreds of times he jumped, only twice did he waver a little bit where I had to put my hands up to steady him. He would just look at me and say, “Thank you.”

making too many mistakes up there. I can’t protect him from himself. He’s making rookie mistakes, and he’s been riding fifty-five years. A new rider wouldn’t make these mistakes. I don’t think he should ride anymore. It’s getting that dangerous.” “Then you have to tell him, John.” “I don’t want to tell him that, Mrs. Reagan. You need to tell him that.” “No,” she said with tears in her eyes. “I can’t.” Mrs. Reagan had the wisdom always to know just what was right for the President. “John, you’ve got to talk to him and tell him, because he’ll understand, and he’ll take it better if you tell him. . . .”

The Santa Ynez Mountains provide a breathtaking backdrop for rides on the President’s favorite horse, El Alamein.

Next, he would put the halter on his horse and tie him to the hitching post. Mrs. Reagan would just wait patiently atop No Strings. That was her assignment. Finally, he would walk over and help her off her horse. She would swing her right foot across the horse’s neck like he did, while he held her by the waist. . . . He would still be holding her by the waist as she slid down the horse and into his arms. They would stand there kissing like two teenagers at a drive-in movie. . . . I would turn away giving them more privacy. Embracing her, he would stare at her after they kissed. It was the same after every ride. . . .

Tentatively, I walked down to the house, knocked on the door, and went inside. He was sitting by the fireplace, reading. He was an avid reader. He’d go to sleep with a book on his chest just about every night. “Mr. President,” I said, “we had a lot of trouble out there this morning, didn’t we?” “Yeah, I did.” Even in the bad times, he was still polite. I wanted to make it seem like I had been the problem—but that was just not the case. I went on, “It’s just at the point where this riding isn’t working out. Sir, I don’t think you should ride anymore.” Knowing him like I did and understanding what horseback riding meant to him, I felt like I was telling someone I don’t

Worst Day On The Job

As the [Alzheimer’s] disease continued its course, he relied on me even more. We were just about back from our ride one day when El Alamein threw a fit. There were ways to get in front of the President to try to help out, but that just made El Alamein act worse. I had to get off my horse and grab the President’s rein and walk El Alamein, otherwise he was going to dump the President. I could tell El Alamein was getting ready to explode. He was pitching his head, dancing sideways, and crow hopping. Earlier, the President would have been able to control El Alamein, and probably the worst thing you can do to someone who knows how to ride is to step in as I did. The President, however, didn’t say a word. We both knew he needed my help. . . . . . .[T]hings continued to deteriorate. I went to Mrs. Reagan and said, “Mrs. Reagan, he’s


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John Barletta helps President Reagan prepare El Alamein for an upcoming ride.

think he should breathe anymore. I was now practically in tears. He got up and put his hands on my shoulders and said, “It’s okay, John. I know.” That was it. We never rode again. We never talked about it. He could see how upset I was, and he was trying to make me feel okay. That was the kind of a guy he was. Source: Barletta, John. Riding With Reagan. New York: Citadel Press, 2005.

S av i ng

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To Preserve and Protect: Young America’s Foundation, Ronald Reagan, and Saving Rancho del Cielo By Nicole Hoplin, Director of Foundation Relations


newly-elected oung America’s President Ronald Foundation Reagan for a has a long history memorable dinner with Ronald banquet in 1981. Reagan. In 1962, At that banquet, then television host Reagan stated, of General Electric Theater Ronald Fellow Reagan joined citizens, fellow the YAF national conservatives, advisory board, our time is now. eventually becoming Our moment YAF’s honorary has arrived… national chairman, a If we carry position he retained the day and until after his turn the tide Presidency. In 1974, we can hope the Foundation that as long sponsored as men speak a nationally Clockwise from top: Students visit the Ranch and learn about Ronald of freedom syndicated radio Reagan. Foundation President Ron Robinson meets with President Reagan and those who program featuring in 1993. Members of the Foundation’s Reagan Ranch Board of Governors have protected California Governor and team gather in front of the main ranch house. (Pictured from left: Richard Kimble, Tim Goeglein, Ambassador Patricia Herbold, Ron Robinson, it, they will Ronald Reagan. Helen and Rich DeVos, Frank Donatelli, Tom Phillips, Nicole and Eric Hoplin, remember us Governor Reagan’s Kate Obenshain, and John Barletta.) and they will addresses, focusing say, ‘Here were on a variety of the brave and here their place of honor.’ issues including taxes, crime, and foreign policy, helped strengthen the future President’s national reputation. These words are now inscribed on Freedom Wall In the mid-1970s, Foundation leaders, including at the Reagan Ranch—a place of honor for all those President Ron Robinson and Secretary/Treasurer Frank generous Americans who stepped forward to preserve the Donatelli, helped establish the Conservative Political Reagan Ranch and protect freedom. Action Conference (CPAC) and were proud to host Young America’s Foundation • Libertas


Young America’s Foundation preserves Rancho del Cielo as it was when President Reagan resided there.

YAF and the Reagan White House

Foundation’s student leaders attending the National Conservative Student Conference in Washington, D.C. In 1993, President Reagan addressed the conference, saying, “Young America’s Foundation has been a refuge for students seeking an alternative to the politically correct environment enforced on many campuses. I know the conference will send you back to your campuses better informed, motivated, and trained. Your work is vital to the future of the nation.”

“The government has been taken over by YAFers,” opined liberal columnist Molly Ivins in 1981, after Ronald Reagan’s victory. In his book, A Generation Awakes, Wayne Thorburn catalogues the YAF alumni who put their careers aside to serve our country. Individuals at the White House included: speechwriters Dana Rohrabacher and Tony Dolan; Frank Donatelli as assistant to the President for political affairs; James C. Roberts as the director of the Preserving Rancho del Cielo White House Fellows Program; Ken Cribb (now Young America’s Foundation director) assistant to the President In 1998, when President Reagan could no longer care for domestic affairs; and Becky Norton Dunlop (now for the Ranch because of his ailing health, it stood in on the Reagan Ranch Board of Governors) as a screener danger of being lost completely. Local, state, and federal of potential hires at the office of authorities all failed to act and save Presidential personnel; among many this precious property; in the end, In 1998, the Foundation others. The New York Times reported Rancho del Cielo was saved from took on a great in 1981 that nearly 50 YAF members a purchaser with no regard for its had been appointed to the White historic value. responsibility, but we House staff alone! It was the appropriate step in did not do it alone. Our Many YAFers also served Young America’s Foundation’s supporters rose to the elsewhere in the Reagan relationship with President Reagan administration. These included: challenge and helped us to come forward during his time of Michelle Easton at the Departments need to protect the place he loved save the Reagan Ranch of Treasury, Justice, and Education; so much. After all, Ronald Reagan Don Devine as the director of the had been there for countless young for future generations. Office of Personnel Management; Americans over the years, inspiring Richard Abell at the Peace Corps; and supporting their budding Mark Levin at ACTION; Carol conservatism. Dawson Bauman at the Department of Energy; James V. Young America’s Foundation saw an extraordinary Lacey at the Department of Commerce; James Meadows opportunity to save a precious piece of American history at the Department of Agriculture; Steve Some at the and, at the same time, exponentially increase our ability Department of Labor; and so many more. to fulfill our mission. For Young America’s Foundation, During each year of his Presidency, Ronald Reagan whose own history and ethos is tied directly to President hosted briefings at the White House for Young America’s Reagan, saving the Ranch offered an unmatchable


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opportunity to protect his ideas and advance conservative principles. In 1998, the Foundation took on a great responsibility, but we did not do it alone. Our supporters rose to the challenge and helped us save the Reagan Ranch for future generations. One supporter’s assistance in particular cannot be overestimated. John Engalitcheff’s bequest John Engalitcheff, born helped Young America’s a Russian prince, worked Foundation save the Reagan his way through college Ranch. and later pioneered the development of air conditioning coils found in the building systems of Madison Square Garden, the Seattle Space Needle, and the St. Louis Arch. After fleeing his homeland during the Communist revolution, John Engalitcheff vowed to do whatever he could to fight communism, especially as it related to the Soviet Union. He admired Ronald Reagan’s tough “Peace through Strength” strategy and, at the same time, endorsed Young America’s Foundation’s quest to educate young people about the dangers of communism and collectivism. John Engalitcheff was also a guest of Young

America’s Foundation during the 1981 CPAC when Ronald Reagan addressed the conference. Before he abruptly passed away, John Engalitcheff made provisions in his estate for Young America’s Foundation. His generous bequest, in addition to lead gifts from F.M. Kirby and Tom Phillips, enabled Young America’s Foundation to step forward during Ronald Reagan’s time of need and save his precious home. We know John Engalitcheff would be proud to realize what his support accomplished for the man who brought communism to its knees. Rancho del Cielo is a place for young Americans to understand and be inspired by Ronald Reagan’s principles and character—today and for generations to come. Many generous Americans helped Young America’s Foundation preserve and protect the Reagan Ranch. Less than two years after saving Rancho del Cielo, Young America’s Foundation and our most dedicated supporters and friends retired the note on the property. The Reagan Ranch is the centerpiece of Young America’s Foundation’s student outreach programs. Preserving this property allows us to bring young people to the Western White House—to use it as a tool to teach these future leaders about Ronald Reagan. This bold undertaking fosters the virtues of individual freedom, limited government, patriotism, and traditional values in America’s future leaders. In teaching young people about Ronald Reagan’s accomplishments, Young America’s Foundation instills the very ideas that have been the core of our mission since our founding.

Before the Western White House José Jesus Pico, a Spanish settler who established his homestead in the Santa Ynez Mountains after leaving Mexico, built the original adobe home on the property in 1872. Rancho de los Picos not only provided sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Valley below but also supplied ample land for growing crops including beans, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and watermelons—even producing grapes that were made into 900 gallons of wine annually—and for raising hogs, chickens, cattle, and horses. The Ranch remained in the Pico family for 70 years until 1941 when José Pico’s son, Joe, sold the ranch to Santa Barbara County surveyor Frank Flournoy for $6,000. Tip Top Ranch, as Flournoy then renamed it, transferred hands only one other time, to Raymond and Rosalie Cornelius in 1955, before Ronald Reagan’s close friend, Bill Wilson, showed Governor Reagan the property in 1974. Governor Reagan purchased Tip Top Ranch in 1974 for $527,000. In his biography, Ronald Reagan wrote, “From the first day we saw it, Rancho del Cielo cast a spell over us. No place before or since has ever given Nancy and me the joy and serenity it does.” Ronald Reagan so admired the Ranch that he found it appropriate to rename it for the third time. Rancho del Cielo, or “Ranch in the Sky,” became a private haven for Governor and later President Reagan—a retreat for contemplative study and reflection during some of the nation’s most difficult times.

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R eagan

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P rograms

The Reagan Ranch Today: How Rancho del Cielo Advances Our Conservative Movement By Jessica Jensen, Editor


and many others resident have been to Reagan said, the Reagan “It is up to us, Ranch, but to work together Young America’s for progress Foundation sees and humanity, Rancho del Cielo so that our as much more grandchildren, than a scenic when they look site—although back at us, can its views are truly say, that we certainly not only preserved breathtaking. the flame of A trip to the freedom, but cast Reagan Ranch is its warmth and Thousands have visited the Reagan Ranch since the Foundation saved it in 1998. an unforgettable light further than Through the Ranch, we inspire and teach future generations about Ronald Reagan and journey to the those who came his lasting accomplishments. awe-inspiring before us.” landscape and humble home which—to President Young America’s Foundation stepped in to save Reagan—represented freedom and opportunity and the President Reagan’s Western White House, Rancho del very principles upon which this country was founded. Cielo, in the spring of 1998 to preserve it as a “flame For young people—many of whom were not even of freedom”—a living monument to Ronald Reagan born when Ronald Reagan was President—an afternoon which passes on his ideas and lasting accomplishments to at Rancho del Cielo can teach them more about Ronald future generations. President Reagan committed himself Wilson Reagan than they will learn throughout their entire to reaching young people with his ideas—a goal that is academic careers. also central to the Foundation’s mission of ensuring that They learn about hard work and its rewards, as they increasing numbers of young Americans understand and see the fence posts he constructed with his bare hands are inspired by the ideas of individual freedom, a strong and visit the tack barn in which he spent so many hours national defense, free enterprise, and traditional values. preparing his horses for trail rides. Today, the Reagan Ranch—accompanied by the They discover the importance of modesty and Foundation’s Reagan Ranch Center in downtown Santa generosity, as they explore his small adobe home, simply Barbara (see page 29)—is a place of inspiration for adorned with Western artwork, his favorite books, and the thousands of visitors each year. Numerous conferences, well-worn furniture of a beloved dwelling. seminars, training programs, and special events take place And as they take in the majestic views and valleys in the beautiful stretch of central California that Ronald cherished by President Reagan, these young visitors come Reagan called home. to understand what President Reagan meant when he Students, supporters, media personalities, authors, recognized God’s role in America’s destiny: Reagan administration officials, members of the military,


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I’ve always believed that there was some plan that put this continent here, to be found by people from every corner of the world who had the courage and the love of freedom enough to uproot themselves, leave family and friends and homeland, to come here and develop a whole new breed of people called American.  You look at the beauty of it.  God really did shed his grace on America, as the song says.

A trip to the Reagan Ranch is an unforgettable journey to the awe-inspiring landscape and humble home which—to President Reagan— represented freedom and opportunity and the very principles upon which this country was founded.

For conservative leaders and more seasoned activists, a journey to the Ranch reignites their passion for advancing freedom and reminds them of why they support our shared cause. Senator Jim DeMint commented, “Ronald Reagan was always a man I wanted to know. After visiting his ranch—now protected and preserved by Young America’s

Foundation—I feel like I do.” Governor Sarah Palin echoed this sentiment: “There are hundreds of places that bear his name, but the Ranch is one of the few where truly, when you are there, you can distinctly feel his spirit.” Young America’s Foundation’s student programs at Rancho del Cielo include the West Coast Leadership Conference—a gathering of key conservatives from around the country—the Reagan Ranch High School Conference; topical seminars on current issues such as the threat of radical Islam or the economy; our annual retreat for our top student activists; and more. The Foundation also provides our President’s Club and Rawhide Circle supporters with opportunities to visit Rancho del Cielo and attend special events in recognition of their gifts which make preserving and utilizing the Reagan Ranch

Notable Visitors to Rancho del Cielo

Governor Sarah Palin

Helen and Rich DeVos

Attorney General John Ashcroft and his wife, Janet

Members of the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Army ROTC

Governor Rick Perry and his wife, Anita

Speaker Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista

Baja Fresh CEO David Kim with Foundation Vice Presidents Kate Obenshain and Andrew Coffin

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Students explore Ronald Reagan’s adobe ranch home.

possible. Various programs include the celebration of President Reagan’s 1981 Economic Recovery Tax Act— which was signed into law at the Ranch—the President’s Club Reagan Ranch Weekend, and the Rawhide Circle Retreat, among others. Such events draw leading conservatives who educate, encourage, and motivate audiences—young and old—with Ronald Reagan’s values and ideas. Foundation speakers at the Reagan Ranch and Reagan Ranch Center have included Vice President Dick Cheney; Senators Mike Lee and Jim DeMint; Governors George Allen, Bobby Jindal, Bill Owens, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, and Scott Walker; Speakers John Boehner and Newt Gingrich; Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Edwin Meese; Secretaries Bill Clark, Jack Kemp, and Donald Rumsfeld; Congressmen Sean Duffy, Tom McClintock, Patrick McHenry, Ed Royce, and Joe Wilson; Congresswoman Michele Bachmann; best-selling authors Ann Coulter, Dinesh D’Souza, Brad Thor, and Michelle Malkin; and many more.

Young America’s Foundation also welcomes students from local schools and partners with like-minded groups to host their leadership, board members, and supporters at the Reagan Ranch. Such organizations include The Heritage Foundation, The Fund for American Studies, Focus on the Family, Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, Young Britons’ Foundation, Marriage and Family Foundation, Citizens United Foundation, Eureka College, Royale Energy, The Phillips Foundation, Eagle Publishing, Media Research Center, and others. Continuing Ronald Reagan’s deep appreciation and respect for our servicemen and women, Young America’s Foundation welcomes sailors and officers at the Ranch when their magnificent aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan, ports in Santa Barbara. The young soldiers not only visit the Ranch home, however. They also volunteer their time and energy to help trim trails, clear brush, repair structures, and perform other tasks that President Reagan so enjoyed during his time at Rancho del Cielo.

It is Young America’s Foundation’s hope—our vision—that all who visit Rancho del Cielo depart with an increased desire to protect and advance freedom, knowing that it is, as he told us, special and rare.

These and other programs, events, and special visitors help Young America’s Foundation ensure that Ronald Reagan’s ideas and lasting accomplishments inspire the next generation of young leaders. It is Young America’s Foundation’s hope—our vision— that all who visit Rancho del Cielo depart with an increased desire to protect and advance freedom, knowing that it is, as he told us, special and rare. Perhaps, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said it best when she stated, “We have one beacon to guide us that Ronald Reagan never had. We have his example.” And what an honor it is for Young America’s Foundation to preserve the home—the Ranch in the Sky—that truly exemplifies the great leader who led the Conservative Movement and changed our Young leaders from around the country visit the “Western White House” where they gain the inspiration and courage needed to advance freedom on their campuses. world for the better.


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C-SPAN uses Rancho del Cielo’s Secret Service Command Post to set up a broadcast from the Western White House.

Media Coverage Opens Ranch to National Audience B y K at e O b e n s h a i n , Vi c e P r e s i d e n t

(Above) The President and First Lady host the press corps at Rancho del Cielo. (Right) Fox News broadcasts live from the Reagan Ranch.


edia coverage of the Reagan Ranch and the events at the Reagan Ranch Center exploded over the past several years, enabling Young America’s Foundation to exponentially increase our reach and have significant, nationwide impact on public opinion about President Ronald Reagan. Polls gauging the relative popularity of American Presidents steadily increased for President Reagan since the Foundation saved the Ranch in 1998. In February 2011, Gallup conducted a nationwide poll

to determine which President Americans believe to have been the “greatest.” President Reagan won overwhelmingly, coming in five percentage points ahead of Americans’ second choice: Abraham Lincoln. President Reagan also topped the list in 2001, 2005, and 2009 and ranked first or second in eight of the ten “Greatest President” polls conducted by Gallup since 1999. Through print, radio, television, new media, films, books, magazines, and other resources, Young Young America’s Foundation • Libertas


America’s Foundation continues to reach new audiences with Ronald Reagan’s ideas and the role Rancho del Cielo played in his Presidency and his life.

Reagan 100 The Reagan Ranch and Young America’s Foundation achieved widespread media coverage during our 100th anniversary celebration of President Reagan’s birth in February 2011. The media stampeded to cover the weekend’s programs headlined by Vice President Dick Cheney and Governor Sarah Palin. Millions watched the live coverage of the festivities and speakers on C-SPAN, Fox News, and CNN. In addition, CBS, ABC, and CBN also had significant coverage of the weekend. Reagan 100 garnered significant print media coverage from the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Washington Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Santa Barbara News-Press, and Human Events, among other publications. New media coverage of the programs included the influential top spot on the Drudge Report and stories on Big Government and The premiere of the Foundation’s film, Still Point in a Turning World: Ronald Reagan and His Ranch, also won media attention. The participation of the film’s wellknown director, Stephen K. Bannon, and narrator, Patrick

Warburton of Seinfeld fame, only heightened the “buzz” on the internet—allowing Young America’s Foundation to effectively and aggressively reach out to young people via the mediums they use most. National media attention from Reagan 100 continues. Most major media outlets have used video or photographs of Governor Palin’s Reagan Ranch Center address in subsequent articles about the Governor.

Reagan Ranch Roundtables Attract Santa Barbara Media Young America’s Foundation’s Santa Barbara-based media coverage intensified since completing the Reagan Ranch Center in 2006. Monthly Reagan Ranch Roundtable events, featuring well-known conservative figures and held at the Reagan Ranch Center, have been instrumental in increasing visibility. These programs featured dozens of leading conservatives including Governors Bobby Jindal and Tim Pawlenty; Speakers Newt Gingrich and John Boehner, Senator Jim DeMint; and best-selling authors Michelle Malkin and David Limbaugh, among others. These events and others are regularly covered by the Santa Barbara News-Press, and several programs—including addresses by Governors Romney and Jindal—aired live on (Left) Michael Reagan, President Reagan’s son, broadcasts his radio program live from the Reagan Ranch Center’s Wendy P. McCaw Welcome Center.

(Below) The Santa Barbara NewsPress regularly reports on Young America’s Foundations events and conferences at the Reagan Ranch Center.

(Right) The New York Times covers the Foundation’s student programs at Rancho del Cielo.


C-SPAN, making Foundation programs accessible to more than 100 million homes nationwide.

Hollywood at the Ranch Hollywood, at least the conservative part of it, has taken notice of the Ranch as well. Actor Kirk Cameron featured the Reagan Ranch in his film, Monumental, a documentary seeking to uncover the key to America’s greatness. Filmmaker Ray Griggs narrated a portion of his film, I Want Your Money, from the Ranch, using the ranch house and the sweeping vistas as his backdrop. Speaker Newt Gingrich and Citizens United Productions also taped segments of their film, Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny, at Rancho del Cielo.

The President’s Passing Prior to Young America’s Foundation’s Reagan 100 celebration, the President’s passing in June 2004 was the most significant event leading to news coverage at the Ranch. The world’s attention was focused on his life and accomplishments. The Reagan Ranch was a key part of that story, and the Foundation team played a crucial role in honoring Reagan’s lasting accomplishments when the national and international media began reflecting on the life of this great leader.

Following Reagan’s passing, all of the major television networks either conducted interviews with Foundation leadership or actually broadcasted from the Ranch— including Fox News’s Hannity and Colmes, CBS’s Early Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, and NBC’s Special Report with Tom Brokaw and Today Show. CBS referred to the Ranch as “the one place in all the world that may have offered a glimpse of the real Ronald Reagan,” and Michael Reagan’s two interviews at Rancho del Cielo were the highest rated segments on Hannity & Colmes the week President Reagan died.

Special Features and Radio Since 1998, the Reagan Ranch has been featured on cable news networks, radio programs, and in television specials produced by CNN, PBS, C-SPAN, The History Channel, The Travel Channel, and even Entertainment Tonight. C-SPAN showcased the Reagan Ranch in its American Presidents series in December 1999. The three-hour Ranch broadcast aired live and featured members of the Foundation’s leadership team with C-SPAN Chief Executive Officer Brian Lamb. The popular Reagan program re-aired at least nine times. Fox News’s Hannity & Colmes, with its two million-plus nightly viewers, aired live from the Reagan Ranch on the 23rd

Legendary actor Charlton Heston narrates the Foundation’s first film about the Reagan Ranch.

Young America’s Foundation • Libertas


anniversary of the signing of the 1981 Economic Recovery Act—the single largest tax cut in American history. Fox News set up a remote broadcast with Michael Reagan, who was sitting in for Sean Hannity as a guest host. In September 2005, Huell Howser’s popular television program, California’s Gold, featured Rancho del Cielo. The Ranch was to be showcased in a typical 30-minute episode, but Huell was so excited about his experience at the Ranch that he decided to create a one-hour special, which continues to air throughout California. Also in 2005, Des Moines, Iowa’s WHO—the station where Ronald Reagan began his radio career as a sports announcer in the early 1930s—broadcast live from the Ranch’s Secret Service command post. In 2006, C-SPAN broadcast the Foundation’s program at the Reagan Ranch Center featuring remarks from Secretary Jack Kemp and Attorney General Edwin Meese on the 25th anniversary of the 1981 Economic Recovery Tax Act. In 2009, Sean Hannity interviewed Speaker Newt Gingrich live from the Reagan Ranch Center Exhibit Gallery and Education Center during Fox News’s Hannity. Numerous radio hosts have also broadcast their shows live from Rancho del Cielo, including Michael Reagan, Mark Larson, Lars Larson, Dennis Prager, and Michael Medved. These programs regularly feature interviews

with the Foundation’s leadership team, including Virginia Governor George Allen who—after being named the Reagan Ranch Presidential Scholar in 2006—was a guest on 75 radio programs.

New Media Young America’s Foundation is utilizing media to strike the “flickering spark” in young people that President Reagan knew existed, and the Reagan Ranch is central to those efforts. Almost all Foundation events held at the Ranch and the Ranch Center are now broadcast live to our website and on We also utilize, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to promote our Ranch events in a compelling manner to the next generation.

Books and Print Media Young America’s Foundation has welcomed to the Ranch more than a dozen authors who have written books about Rancho del Cielo or Ronald Reagan’s lasting accomplishments. Many—such as God and Ronald Reagan author Dr. Paul Kengor—found that the Ranch afforded a unique opportunity to “meet” the man. Others, such as Nelson DeMille, were so impressed by their visits that they included the Ranch in their writings. The climax of (Left) National and local media gather at the Reagan Ranch Center to cover Vice President Cheney’s and Governor Sarah Palin’s addresses during the Foundation’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth.

(Right) ABC’s Good Morning America features the Reagan Ranch during an interview with Speaker Newt Gingrich.

(Right) Speaker Newt Gingrich visits Rancho del Cielo to film segments of Citizens United Production’s documentary, Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny.


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DeMille’s New York Times best-seller, The Lion’s Game, occurs at Rancho del Cielo. Other best-sellers written by authors visiting Rancho del Cielo include: Peggy Noonan’s When Character Was King (see page 20-1); Dinesh D’Souza’s How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader; Edmund Morris’ Dutch; and Peter Robinson’s How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life. Riding with Reagan by President Reagan’s close friend and Secret Service agent, John Barletta, has also won the hearts of thousands of Americans—young and old. (See page four.) The Ranch has been written about in hundreds of print publications—including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Time, Newsweek, and Cowboys and Indians magazine—reaching millions of Americans. These media outlets and others allow Young America’s Foundation to reach a national, and sometimes worldwide, audience of millions of viewers, readers, and listeners with our message.

Reaching New Audiences

shared the inspiring values embodied by Ronald Reagan and his beloved ranch with 24 million American households. In addition, Young America’s Foundation has distributed more than 12 million calendars promoting “The Reagan Record” since 1998, and each issue of our magazine, Libertas, reaches more than 100,000 Foundation supporters, students, and friends. Introducing new generations of young Americans to Ronald Reagan and inspiring them with his ideas plays a critical role in securing Reagan’s position in posterity and advancing his ideas. Young America’s Foundation’s Reagan Ranch outreach efforts are making a tremendous difference. The Ranch is symbolic of Ronald Reagan’s love of freedom and love of country, and it is our mission to ensure that increasing numbers of young people are inspired by these very values. We look forward to our continued and vital work in reaching new audiences—in person and through the media (traditional and new)—with the principles embodied by Ronald Reagan and so evident throughout his Rancho del Cielo.

Hundreds of thousands of new households hear about Rancho del Cielo and Ronald Reagan’s accomplishments annually thanks to Young America’s Foundation’s communications with our supporters. The Foundation has

The Greatest President: President Reagan’s Rising Popularity 25%





0% 1999













This graph represents the increasing percentage of Americans who regard President Reagan as the “Greatest President” among those listed in Gallup’s polls gauging the popularity of past U.S. Presidents. (Right) Since 1998, more than 12 million households have received Young America’s Foundation’s popular Reagan Ranch calendar.

John O’Sullivan, columnist and National Review’s editor-at-large, reports on his visit to the Reagan Ranch in the Chicago Sun-Times.

(Above) Dozens of media outlets, including Fox News, CNN, and C-SPAN, broadcast Governor Sarah Palin’s speech from the David Louis Bartlett Outreach Center at the Reagan Ranch Center.

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Freedom Is the God-Given Right of All His Children: Make it Your Legacy Freedom is on the precipice in America. The Left is winning key battles to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” They know—as President Reagan did—that young people are the key to the long-term success of their agenda. That’s why the Left is launching the most expensive, most comprehensive, and most targeted effort in American history to win over young people. You can join forces with Young America’s Foundation to counter the Left’s influence and pass on Ronald Reagan’s freedom philosophy. Even though Ronald Reagan is no longer with us, there is still one place where young people can come face to face with all that Reagan stood for: hard work and its rewards, perseverance, humility, hope, love of family, and love of country. Our students tell us they are not only better educated about Ronald Reagan after visiting the Ranch, but they are also more committed to protecting America’s freedom. Ronald Reagan’s words inspire young leaders to embrace and strengthen the freedom movement. He said:

Freedom is not just the birthright of the few, it is the God-given right of all His children. You can help protect future generations’ God-given right to freedom by remembering Young America’s Foundation in your estate plans. Updating your plans to reflect your priorities enables you to control your legacy. If you die without a will, the government will decide how to distribute your estate for you—and take its share! Federal death tax rates the year you die may be 55% or more. The law has been in a state of flux for years because leftists want your money.

Giving a bequest to Young America’s Foundation reduces the size of your taxable estate. There is no tax on gifts to Young America’s Foundation. Tell your attorney to make freedom your legacy by adding this language to your will: I give, devise, and bequeath to Young America’s Foundation, tax identification number 23-7042029, 110 Elden Street, Herndon, Virginia 20170 (insert percentage, amount or nature of gift, or remainder of estate) to be used for educational purposes. You will be honored on Freedom Wall at the Reagan Ranch for your legacy gift. Please call Kimberly Martin Begg, Esq., director of planned giving, at 800-USA-1776 to request a free information packet or if you have any questions.

National Headquarters, F. M. Kirby Freedom Center, 110 Elden Street, Herndon, Virginia 20170, 800-USA-1776, The Reagan Ranch Center, 217 State Street, Santa Barbara, California 93101, 888-USA-1776




The Ranch By Peggy Noonan An Excerpt From When Character Was King

of anywhere on Peggy Noonan is earth. It’s also among the most where he decided prolific writers his future, during of our time. Her those days in gift for weaving the midseventies words and when he had to phrases together decide whether to led her to the move forward or White House stay-put. . . . This where she served is what it’s like. President Reagan You leave the as a speechwriter highway and go from 1984 to up Refugio Road, 1986. Noonan passing little returned to the lemon ranches White House President Reagan spent 349 days of his Presidency at his beloved Rancho del Cielo. and avocado to help write ranches. You’re the President’s on a one-lane blacktop, you see California live oaks and 1989 farewell address. Her Ronald Reagan biography, scrub and grass and wildflowers and telephone poles. You When Character Was King, captures the spirit of this pass little trailers, little avocado trees with their shiny great American President, and we are honored to light-green leaves. You pass a little stream with rocks and include a portion of this book’s chapter on Rancho del boulders. Now the blacktop is canopied by live oaks, but Cielo—“The Ranch.” Many have written of the Western it’s still a narrow old one-lane beat-up road. . . . You ford White House, but few describe this historic Presidential a little stream, pass a few little houses and some more property with Noonan’s beautiful observations and pickup trucks. None of it but the little ranches makes you profound simplicity. We are grateful to Ms. Noonan for think of California. Everything else makes you think of allowing us to reproduce her text and share with you this how you imagine West Virginia. . . . vivid portrayal of Rancho del Cielo. Suddenly you’re up high enough to see that you’re in — Jessica Jensen, Editor a fabulous mountain range, you’re up going toward two thousand feet above sea level and suddenly you’re in the onald Reagan’s ranch was the place he went for Santa Ynez Mountains, in a big rolling range. In late April peace, physical movement and thoughtfulness. It the mountains are a beautiful lush green and if you look was where he daydreamed, let his thoughts go down one way you’re looking into a beautiful valley, and where they wanted. The renter’s son who’d hop-scotched on the other side you look toward the light blue ocean, through Illinois had a place of his own rooted in the earth. and the Channel Islands just beyond. . . . In the last decades of his life it was his favorite place to be


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The Ranch by Peggy Noonan ––––––––––––––––––————–––––––––––– An Excerpt From When Character Was King ––––––––———––––––––––—––––––––––––

Today, Young America’s Foundation preserves and protects the “Western White House” to ensure future generations understand and are inspired by

It’s like what a settler would have seen from these hills long ago, and you understand for the first time why the Spanish named everything they saw here for saints. That’s Saint Barbara below and Saint Monica beyond, near the place of the Angels. Reagan later said that when he would ride in this area


Young America’s Foundation • Libertas

he would, inevitably, think of scripture. “It casts a spell. There’s such a sense of seclusion, and I suppose—I think of the scriptural line, ‘I look to the hills from whence cometh my strength.’” Judge William Clark told me Reagan called it “an open cathedral.” The ranch also made him think, irresistibly, of his oft-


d by

The Ranch by Peggy Noonan ––––––––––––––––––————–––––––––––– An Excerpt From When Character Was King ––––––––———––––––––––—––––––––––––

corner of the world who had the courage and the love of freedom enough to uproot themselves, leave family and friends and homeland, to come here and develop a whole new breed of people called American. You look at the beauty of it. God really did shed his grace on America, as the song says.” It’s a half hour trip up the road from the highway. You can’t go more than about twenty miles an hour most of the way. There is a point on the road—within range of mountains, the ocean, the fogbank, the Channel Islands, Santa Barbara—where you can see the coastline below running east and west. The sun rises on one end of the beach and sets on the other. You are stunned with the

The ranch also made him think, irresistibly, of his oft-stated views on American exceptionalism, the idea that America was created in a way unlike other countries, deliberately and for an exceptional purpose.

Ronald Reagan’s lasting accomplishments and values.

stated views on American exceptionalism, the idea that America was created in a way unlike other countries, deliberately and for an exceptional purpose. In a videotape he made about the ranch after his presidency he said, “I’ve always believed that there was some plan that put this continent here, to be found by people from every

beauty of the place, and now you know why they called it Rancho del Cielo, ranch in the sky. It’s a section of land, 688 acres, right on the top of the mountain. You enter a gate and there is a dirt road, and as you drive along you hear rocks crackling and sticks snapping. You pass horses, Arabian and quarter, and a few Texas longhorns, and an old gray burro named Wendy, who lived here when the president did. Now there’s a wooden sign hanging from a wooden bar on a wooden fence. It reads RANCHO DEL CIELO, R. REAGAN. He built the fence. You can imagine the expectations of Gorbachev as he was driven up this road. He knew about capitalism and how capitalists and powerful men live in America. And the expectations of the queen of England, who knew something of how the famous in America lived. And they saw: a shack. And they thought: This is how staff lives! This was nothing like his dacha, her castle. It is a little one story house with stucco and adobe walls. They are painted white. There’s a red tile roof. Young America’s Foundation • Libertas


The Ranch by Peggy Noonan ––––––––––––––––––————–––––––––––– An Excerpt From When Character Was King ––––––––———––––––––––—––––––––––––

There’s a sombrero, Indian peace pipes, Indian portraits, a potbellied stove, which provided the only heat in the house when he bought it. His books are still on the shelves: Odyssey of a Friend by Whittaker Chambers, A Very Strange Society by Allen Drury, a first edition of Witness by Chambers, Poverty Is Where the Money Is by Shirley Scheibla, Drury’s Advise and Consent, The Kennedy Promise by Henry Fairlie. Inside Football bears an inscription: “To Ronald Reagan, a great governor, George Allen.” Lonesome The wooden fence built by Ronald Reagan greets ranch visitors at the entrance to the property. Dove by Larry McMurtry, The Book of the American There’s a little patio; Reagan tore out an old West, edited by James Monaghan, four volumes of Arizona aluminum-enclosed porch and put in an overhang, tiled Highways, The Great Democracies by Winston Churchill. it beneath. Within the overhang there’s a little entry door A book of Irish traditions, a history of U.S. Cavalry, a book with an Irish tile on it that says O’REGAN. And an about Indians and horses. Jeb Stuart: The Last Cavalier by official-looking sign that says ON THIS SITE IN 1897, Burke Davis, The Treasury of Modern Humor, edited by NOTHING HAPPENED. Martha Lupton, Practical Horse Breeding and Training, by When you open the door you enter a porch room. To Jack Widmer, a book called Only an Irish Boy by Horatio the right there’s a hat stand with his favorite baseball cap, Alger. “United States Mounted Secret Service,” blue and gold. He read up here. He’d be out all day and come in He wore it all the time. There’s a cowboy hat too, and at five, before dinner, and sit in his favorite chair in the Indian memorabilia. The room smells cool, like wood. porch room. There is a vinyl floor. On the wall an Indian blanket, and The furniture is modest brown wicker, and scattered mounted near it the horns of Old Duke, his favorite bull. about are collections of things—little elephants, kachina

A White House rotary dial telephone sits by the entryway of the main ranch house.


The President’s and First Lady’s riding boots share a space in the master bedroom of the main ranch house.

Young America’s Foundation • Libertas

The President’s hat stand has its place near the entrance to the adobe ranch home.

The Ranch by Peggy Noonan ––––––––––––––––––————–––––––––––– An Excerpt From When Character Was King ––––––––———––––––––––—––––––––––––

dolls from the Hopi tribe of Arizona, little Indian spirits from the spirit world. There’s a painting on the wall called The Lame Horse—a cowboy walking next to a horse in the rain, holding the bridle. To the right there’s an eating area, a plain wooden table that seats six. For Thanksgiving they would move young Ron’s bumper pool table next to the wooden one to make enough room. Move deeper into the house. A chain of titles is framed on the wall. In August 1898, José Jesus Pico owned this land, in 1900 José Jesus Romero, in 1902 Belasano Robles, all Latino American ownership until the 1940s. . . . In the living room there’s a Sharps rifle, and other firearms in a firearm cabinet. The kitchen is small, with GE appliances, a GE stove circa 1974 and a refrigerator in the light mustard color GE

He read up here. He’d be out all day

and come in at five, before dinner, and sit in his favorite chair in the porch room.

The exterior of the main ranch house features an overhang and patio, both constructed by President Reagan.

There’s a turn-of-the-century U.S. Cavalry recruitment poster, and a beer stein with U.S. Grant on one side and Robert E. Lee on the other. There’s a private family room that only family was allowed into. Years later, after the presidency, Ed Meese went into it for the first time and saw that a painting Meese and the staff had given him had the honored place on the wall. It was where they watched TV after dinner, Jeopardy!, and Murder, She Wrote. He would always try to stay awake through the latter, and almost always fell asleep twenty minutes in. There’s a longhorn steer hide on the wall. . . . The master bedroom is small, yellow walled—bright

called Harvest Gold. A small Formica sink area, a spice rack, a small little window overlooking the pond and a trailer. He built the pond, and built the dock that leads to the water. It looks like a little kitchen in Indiana in 1950. Turn from the kitchen and you see the famous jackalopes on the wall. You take a jackrabbit’s head and ears and glue on vicious looking fangs and glue little antelope antlers on the head, and you mount them on the wall and tell your city friends, your eastern friends, the tale of the jackalopes, which roamed the mountains terrorizing all with their legendary speed and ferocity. Reagan had two on the wall. He liked to tell the press about them and once The New York Times is said to have almost run a piece on their existence. Reagan staffers stopped them, sadly enough. In a tiny wet bar area there’s a framed copy of the front page of The New York Times for February 6, 1911, his birthday. It headlines the latest in the Mexican President Reagan’s favorite books fill the shelves inside the ranch home—from classic Westerns to books on public policy. Revolution, a rebel victory near Jurez. Young America’s Foundation • Libertas

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The Ranch by Peggy Noonan ––––––––––––––––––————–––––––––––– An Excerpt From When Character Was King ––––––––———––––––––––—––––––––––––

Clockwise from left: The decor in the wet bar area adds to the Western theme of the home. The shower head is modeled after the Liberty Bell. Reagan’s Jackalopes, with faux fangs and antlers, often fool ranch visitors.

soft yellow was his favorite color. A modest old bathroom with a shower; the shower head is a liberty bell. There’s a vanity for Mrs. Reagan, a small sink. There are a few religious icons on the wall, delicate icons of the Virgin and Child; there are others scattered through the house, mostly gifts from Bill Wilson, who along with Judge Clark was always trying to convert Reagan to Catholicism. Reagan would listen politely and ask questions, but he’d already made his decision on that long ago. The Reagans’ bedroom is about twelve by eighteen feet, big for this house. Their bed was two twin beds pushed together, the bed posts tied to each other by rubber bands. A patchwork quilt on the bed, a little table with a rotary dial phone, a Westinghouse transistor radio, and a music box that plays “California Here I Come.” It’s odd to stand in this room years later, with it empty and no one living here, and wind up the little box and hear it play its tinny song. It sounds so old. There’s a small walk-in closet that was also turned into the safe room, with armored walls, when he was president. This is where the Secret Service would have secured the president if he came under attack. A few old work shirts hang inside, riding britches, Stetsons, cowboy hats and cowboy boots; Nancy’s slacks and jeans


Young America’s Foundation • Libertas

and shirts. Her red robe and sun hats. Here’s his membership patch from the Rancheros, a local riding group. And here’s a beautiful silver spur with a small plaque. THIS WAS FLOWN ABOARD THE STS7 CHALLENGER, JUNE 1824, 1983. PRESENTED TO RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. The Challenger, on its first flight. The people who came to this house always described it the same way: humble, basic, simple, plain, unpretentious. And then they’d always say: Like him. When he was president they had to add another little house on the property, a small stucco guest house—two bedrooms, two baths, and a small kitchen/sitting area. The ladies’ guest room looks like a 1970s teenager’s bedroom—nothing fancy, a wooden bed painted white. The gentlemen’s

The main fireplace room provides a private retreat for the President and First Lady. Here they relaxed, read, and watched their favorite television programs.

The Ranch by Peggy Noonan ––––––––––––––––––————–––––––––––– An Excerpt From When Character Was King ––––––––———––––––––––—––––––––––––

The people who came to this house always described it the same way: humble, basic, simple, plain, unpretentious. And then they’d always say: Like him.

guest room has a handsome antique bed and a Virgin of Guadalupe on the wall. The Gorbachevs, the queen, Mrs. Thatcher all used these rooms, but each stayed only for the day. There were never overnight guests at the ranch except for the Reagan children, and they were not often. . . . The stucco and adobe of the house hold whatever environment there is outside, and when it’s cool it holds the cool. But like old houses its windows aren’t big, and so it isn’t a bright house, and when you walk out and step past the porch and into the sun, its force can startle you. . . . His favorite horse when he was president was El Alamein, a white Arabian stallion, hard to control, given to him by President Portillo of Mexico before Reagan was elected president of the United States. His Secret Service men hated that horse. You had to be really good to ride him. Agent John Barletta would come up to the ranch a few days before the president visited and ride El Alamein to get the wildness out. Nancy’s favorite horse was a

Sunshine yellow walls and a large window give the President and First Lady’s bedroom a warm glow.

handsome sorrel quarter horse called No Strings. To get to the Tack Barn you walk past fences that Reagan made out of telephone poles, and up a few dozen graded wood and dirt steps. The Tack Barn is where he kept his saddles and spurs, the English saddles he favored and the western saddles Nancy used. . . . It was in the Tack Barn that Reagan would saddle his horse and Nancy’s. He didn’t like anyone else to do it, liked to do it himself. When he was done he’d ring the bell, an old railroad locomotive bell, to tell her to come up from the house, and they’d go riding. On the wall of the Tack Barn there’s a big map that shows all the trails on the land, trails that wind through meadow and brush, ridge and gully, and have names like Sunrise and Hanging Tree and Rock Main, Snake Lake Trail and Valley Trail. They crisscross the property. He cut a lot of them. All those vacations past, during the eighties, when you heard on the news, “The president cleared brush today,” that’s what he was doing. I In the quiet privacy of the fireplace room, President Reagan would enjoy watching vintage was a writer at CBS then and after movies. The painting over the sofa is titled “The Golden State” and was gifted to Governor a few years I thought, Isn’t he done Reagan upon leaving office in 1975. Young America’s Foundation • Libertas

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The Ranch by Peggy Noonan ––––––––––––––––––————–––––––––––– An Excerpt From When Character Was King ––––––––———––––––––––—––––––––––––

The ranch was a place not only where he did hard physical work, but the place where he could see the results of his efforts. In other parts of his life it was hard to do that, but here he could see the fence go up sturdy and do what fences do.

yet? How the heck much brush is there? And when you see it you realize: 688 acres. Snake Lake was where they put the snakes that had hatched in profusion when they were building things up in the early days. Dennis Le Blanc, who also worked with Reagan on the ranch, told me, “One year we transplanted over a hundred eighty snakes from the house pond to another pond because they’d hatched underneath the trailer I lived in next to the house. The snakes were going from the trailer to the pond, so we’d go into the pond and have to grab them out of the water. And I hate snakes! But he wouldn’t kill a thing. We’d put ‘em in a gunnysack and take them to the other pond. . .” There’s a gas pump outside for the farm and ranch equipment, and for the Secret Service vehicles and jeeps. There are no gas stations nearby, and when Gorbachev saw it, he finally saw an opening. “Does every American have his own gas pump?” Farmers and ranchers do, Reagan said amiably. It’s hard to drive a tractor to the local gas station. The ranch was a place not only where he did hard physical work, but the place where he could see the results of his efforts. In other parts of his life it was hard to do that, but here he could see the fence go up sturdy and do what fences do.

He liked his guns. He liked his horses. He liked his rails, his bells, his dogs and cattle. He was a movie star and he was born in Illinois but he was a westerner at heart. There was a small olive orchard. There were Secret Service shacks but he had them taken out, all but one, when he left the White House. He would ride the trails. When he was president he would ride up to the helicopter pad, where Marine One landed. The helicopter pad was twenty-six hundred feet high and you could see the ocean on one side and the ranges and towns on another. He would ride the trails up there, but when he left the presidency he told them to pull it all out, the concrete landing pad and the hangar. It’s empty now, the trappings of power are gone and the field is covered with wildflowers, which is the way he wanted it. —————————————————————————— Source: Noonan, Peggy. When Character Was King. New York: The Penguin Group, 2001.

A row of saddles remain in Rancho del Cielo’s Tack Room—a reminder of President Reagan’s love of horseback riding.

About Peggy Noonan Peggy Noonan was a special assistant to President Ronald Reagan from 1984 to 1986 and then left Washington, D.C., for her native New York, where she completed her first book, the best-selling What I Saw at the Revolution. Since that time, her articles and essays have appeared in Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Forbes, and many other publications. She is a columnist and contributing editor to the Wall Street Journal.


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By Chris Miranda, Director of Marketing


othing would have stopped Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip from seeing President Reagan and his beloved ranch on that dreary March day in 1983. Nothing. Not deluges of rainwater gushing across Refugio Road, the winding road leading up to the Ranch’s outer gate. Not a rainstorm that refused to subside and filled potholes in the roads. Threats of mudslides, a slippery road up to the Ranch, and poor visibility were treacherous conditions taken seriously, but no one dared cancel the visit—the Queen was determined to see President Reagan’s Western White House. After bravely battling the elements in a Chevy Suburban, the Queen safely arrived at the Ranch and graciously accepted Mrs. Reagan’s apologies for the inclement weather, responding, “I found the trip delightful and terribly exciting.” Indeed, President Reagan led us on an adventure; it was one we’ll never forget. The largest tax cut in United States history was passed against all odds; America’s very spirit was restored. The American people believed in themselves again. And just a few short months after he left office, millions of oppressed Europeans found freedom when the Berlin Wall crumbled. Communism was soundly repudiated. It was during these monumental years that President Reagan’s beloved 688-acre ranch

became the nerve center—the Western White House—for the most powerful nation on the planet. It was at the Ranch where President Reagan met or talked by phone with Margaret Thatcher, Secretary of State Alexander Haig, the crew of the Challenger space shuttle, and other great leaders. It was at the Ranch where he conceived his strategy to win the Cold War. Rancho del Cielo was a center of historic activity where our beloved 40th President gathered strength to change our nation and the world. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail and Raisa Gorbachev, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, and President George H.W. Bush all traveled to this ranch so dear to President Reagan’s heart. Today, a surreal walk in President Reagan’s footsteps at the Ranch will send shivers up your spine as you remember the Presidential history made there. If you were privileged to travel with the Queen or other world leaders that visited the Ranch, you would have reached Ronald Reagan’s rustic adobe home from “Pennsylvania Avenue,” the main road that Navy Seabees from Point Mugu built more than two decades ago. On stormy days, President Reagan reached the Ranch by automobile, instead of landing via the Marine One helicopter, his traditional way of traveling to the Ranch. Driving through the main gate, you

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probably would not have suspected the heavy Secret Service presence, including a full team of THE WESTERN WHITE HOUSE agents, snipers, weapons, and security vehicles. Imitation boulders and rocks were created by the Walt Disney Company to hide Secret Service security devices, detectors, and microwave sensors. Approaching the Ranch home, suddenly the beautiful, golden Santa Ynez Mountains unfold before you—these were the hills where Ronald Reagan drew his steadfast faith and steel-like strength to tell Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev “tear down this wall.” As President Reagan himself said, “I suppose it’s the Scriptural line, ‘I look to the hills from whence cometh my strength.’ I understand it a little better when I’m up here.” Ronald Reagan loved to show off his ranch and the rugged Western ideals it represented. That’s why you would find President Reagan greeting important ranch visitors in a pair of blue jeans, a denim jacket, his cowboy boots, and a warm smile. RANCHO DEL CIELO

President Reagan hosts Mikhail Gorbachev at the Ranch in 1992. The President was too polite to inform Gorbachev that he was wearing his cowboy hat backwards.

349 Days at the Ranch The “Western White House” was originally coined by a member of the press and adopted by some members of the Reagan administration. However, out of reverence for the true White House, you most likely would never hear Ronald Reagan use that name when welcoming guests to or describing Rancho del Cielo.

Rancho del Cielo’s trademark sign hangs off the front patio of the main home.

The Western White House served as President Reagan’s personal retreat where he focused on Presidential business away from the confines of Washington, D.C.

Vice President George H.W. Bush visits Rancho del Cielo in 1984.


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There is no doubt Rancho del Cielo was a real, working office. It was the Western White House—the site where Ronald Reagan spent 349 days of his Presidency working on major business of our nation. One of the most historic moments in Ronald Reagan’s Presidency occurred on August 13, 1981, at Rancho del Cielo. That day, President Reagan signed the Economic Recovery Tax Act at the patio table in front of the Ranch house surrounded by reporters. The 1981 legislation reduced taxes across the board by 25 percent over a three-

year period, and the Washington Post described it as “one of the most remarkable demonstrations of presidential leadership in modern history.” The bill launched the largest tax cut in our nation’s history and spurred unprecedented economic growth from which we still benefit to this day. President Reagan went to the Ranch to relax and re-charge his batteries, but he still conducted what he called his “homework” or official Presidential business. Morning security briefings were held in the main ranch house and could include Howard Baker, National Security Advisor William Clark, Secretary of State Alexander Haig, or Colin Powell, among others.

President Reagan signs the Economic Recovery Tax Act on August 13, 1981, from Rancho del Cielo. The legislation launched the largest tax cut in U.S. history.

Reporters stake out a nearby mountaintop to capture images of President Reagan at his ranch.

The President clears brush from the 688acre property—an activity that filled many of his days at Rancho del Cielo.

National Security Advisor William Clark notes, “When he was there as President, the Ranch was a critical place from which decisions were made...[u]sually, there was no reason to awaken him in the night, but we had standing orders from him that he be notified if we lost any armed services personnel overseas.” The President was at the Ranch when he was told that terrorists had attacked a Berlin disco in April 1986, killing two American soldiers and a Turkish woman and injuring 229 others, including 79 Americans. Reagan was also at the Ranch—out riding with Secret Service agent John Barletta (see page 4)—when the Soviets shot down Korean civilian airliner, flight KAL 007, on September 1, 1983. John Barletta wrote about the tragic event: “There were only two times I saw him [Reagan] angry, and that was one of them.” According to Barletta, President Reagan pounded his saddle and said, “Those were innocent people, those damned Russians. They knew that was a civilian aircraft.”

The Great Communicator

Although nearly 3,000 miles away from Washington, the President was fully accessible at the Ranch and able to communicate with anyone from around the world. The Great

President Reagan greets Queen Elizabeth at the Ranch. Both the Queen and Prince Philip visited the Western White House on March 2, 1983.


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Communicator’s revolutionary ideas spread like wildfire, and the heart of that fire was at the Ranch THE WESTERN WHITE HOUSE where President Reagan gave weekly national radio addresses on vital issues. The weekly Presidential radio addresses originated from Ronald Reagan’s radio commentaries—sponsored by Young America’s Foundation—that he made from the Ranch subsequent to his governorship. He delivered a total of 42 Presidential addresses on Saturday mornings from 9:06 a.m. to 9:11 a.m—all from the Ranch patio or a single-wide trailer near the Secret Service building. Prior to beginning his weekly radio address on August 11, 1984, President Reagan quipped, “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I have signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” Purportedly, the President hadn’t realized that the microphone was live to a national audience. The world was also listening when President Reagan demanded freedom for millions of oppressed people living under communism, subsequently winning the Cold War without “firing a single shot.” Years later, Gorbachev visited the Ranch and President Reagan drove him around the trails in his famous blue Jeep. RANCHO DEL CIELO

President Reagan’s favorite ball cap was this navy blue “U.S. Mounted Secret Service” cap which he frequently wore while working at the Ranch.

The media were fascinated by the President’s life at the Western White House. Here the President and First Lady host the press corps at Rancho del Cielo.

President Reagan drives Mikhail Gorbachev around the Ranch property in the President’s famous blue Jeep—the Gipper.

“The More I Visit the Ranch. . .”

President Reagan records one of 42 radio addresses he delivered from Rancho del Cielo during his Presidency.


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Early on in Ronald Reagan’s Presidency, Deputy White House Chief of Staff Michael Deaver submitted a travel schedule to the President to review for the following months. President Reagan stopped his aide and noted the lack of upcoming visits to the Ranch on the schedule. According to Deaver, President Reagan then said, “Mike, I happen to think the more I visit that Ranch, the longer I’m going to live.” Deaver couldn’t argue, and President Reagan was off to the Ranch for the first time as President in February 1981. Freedom was secured, our economy grew, and our American spirit was rekindled over the course of his Presidency. The Western White House inspired President Reagan, and President Reagan inspired a nation and a world.

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Rancho del Cielo: Frequently Asked Questions By Marilyn Fisher, Ranch Curator When did Young America’s Foundation save the Ranch? Young America’s Foundation purchased Rancho del Cielo from President and Mrs. Reagan in the spring of 1998 when the President’s illness made it necessary for them to sell the Ranch. Mrs. Reagan first approached President Clinton’s administration and requested it purchase Rancho del Cielo for preservation as a Presidential property. The administration refused. Mrs. Reagan then approached the California Assembly which also refused to act. The Ranch was then put on the market, and Young America’s Foundation stepped in and saved Reagan’s ranch. Young America’s Foundation preserves the Ranch as a Presidential property and uses it to pass on Ronald Reagan’s conservative principles to future generations. —————————————————— When did President Reagan purchase Rancho del Cielo? The Reagans purchased the Ranch in 1974, after their good friend, Bill Wilson, first showed them the property—known at the time as Tip Top Ranch. —————————————————— When did the President last visit the Ranch? Due to President Reagan’s fight with Alzheimer’s, his last trip to Rancho del Cielo was on August 15, 1995. —————————————————— Do Reagan family members and friends visit the Ranch? President Reagan’s son, Michael, has been actively involved with Young America’s Foundation since we saved the Ranch. He is a highly rated speaker at our events and takes a role in maintaining Rancho

Michael Reagan and his daughter, Ashley, are frequent guests at the Ranch.

The Reagan Ranch spans 688-acres and includes the main ranch house, the tack barn, riding trails, Lake Lucky, and many other features built and maintained by the President.

del Cielo. Michael, and his wife Colleen, as well as their children, Ashley and Cameron, visit the Ranch often. Patti Davis, the President’s daughter, has also visted. In addition, the Foundation is fortunate to have several of Ronald Reagan’s close friends and advisors serve on our Board of Governors and Board of Directors, including Judge Bill Clark and Attorney General Ed Meese. Frank Donatelli, who served as a senior advisor to President Reagan, is the chairman of the Reagan Ranch Board of Governors as well as a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. —————————————————— How did President Reagan get to the Ranch during his Presidency? Reagan was driven up to the Ranch on Refugio Road both prior to and after the Presidency. During the Presidency, however, he was transported to the Ranch via helicopter. Air Force One would land at the military base, Point Mugu, where Marine One would take President and Mrs. Reagan to Rancho del Cielo. A motorcade would escort the President to Rancho del Cielo on Refugio Road during the few occasions when weather did not permit travel via helicopter. —————————————————— How many Secret Service agents were stationed at the Ranch? The number of agents at the Ranch varied depending on national security needs. As

many as 150 to 200 Secret Service agents and support staff would be at the Ranch within a 24-hour period, and agents not on shift would relax in the Santa Barbara area. All agents typically served eight-hour rotating shifts. —————————————————— How often did Ronald Reagan visit the Ranch while President? Ronald Reagan spent 349 days of his eight years as President at Rancho del Cielo. —————————————————— Does anyone live on the Ranch today? We have a ranch manager who resides on the Ranch property. He cares for the Ranch animals and assists in maintaining the grounds. —————————————————— Is the Ranch open to the public? Prior to Young America’s Foundation saving the Ranch, it was not open to any visitors. Thousands of young Americans, Foundation supporters, and others have visited Rancho del Cielo since our preservation efforts began. We would love to open the Ranch to the general public, but the county must first make significant improvements to the road leading up to the Ranch. Young America’s Foundation’s Reagan Ranch Center in downtown Santa Barbara, however, is open to the general public. The Center includes interactive exhibits, classrooms, a library of conservative resources, Ranch-related items, a theater, and more. (See page 29.)

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R ancho del Cielo: Ronald Rea M

any momentous events took place at the Reagan ranch throughout the years. Several of these events are listed here.

September 1, 1983 President Reagan learns of the downing of Korean Air Lines Flight 007

November 13, 1974 Reagans purchase Rancho del Cielo

August 13, 1981 Economic Recovery Tax Act signed into law

May 27, 1977 “NDR & RR” carved into Heart Rock

February 19, 1981 Ronald Reagan’s first visit as President

August 11, 1984 During a National Radio Address, the President jokingly says, “I have signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” August 29, 1983 President Reagan learns of the bombing of U.S. Marine base in Beirut, Lebanon

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March 2, 1983 Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visit

84 9 1 August 6, 1984 Vice President George H. W. Bush visits

August 24, 1985 President gives a National Radio Address on education

86 9 1 85 9 1 November 30, 1985 Reagan gives a Thanksgiving Radio Address about the U. S. battle against espionage. He also asks Americans to “remember and give thanks that we live in the freest land God has placed on the earth.”


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September 5, 1987 President Reagan gives a National Radio Address on free trade

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November 27, 1988 Reagans leave the Ranch for the last time during the Presidency

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April 5, 1986 President Reagan is informed of the West Berlin disco bombing which killed two U.S. soldiers and a Turkish woman


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Summer 2006 Young America’s Foundation opens the Reagan Ranch Center in downtown Santa Barbara, California


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February 7, 1993 Lady Margaret Thatcher visits August 15, 1995 Ronald Reagan makes his final visit to his beloved Rancho del Cielo

April 5, 1993 Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and his wife, Mila, visit

May 3, 1992 Mikhail and Raisa Gorbachev visit

February 4 to 5, 2011 Young America’s Foundation celebrates the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth with our Reagan 100 Weekend Celebration featuring Governor Sarah Palin and Vice President Dick Cheney

April 21, 1998 Young America’s Foundation saves Rancho del Cielo

July 1993 Reagan addresses 15th annual National Conservative Student Conference

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The above Reagan Ranch items are preserved at the Ranch and the Reagan Ranch Center. Several items have been replicated. 1) Vintage railroad bell belonging to Mrs. Reagan’s grandfather 2) The President’s wool felt cowboy hat 3) Western Saddle blanket 4) Silver buckle commemorating the City of Santa Barbara 5) Three-buckle field boots worn by the President for riding 6) Main ranch house clock 7) Jelly bean jar with the President’s favorite snack 8) Early California-style Mexican spurs 9) Inscription inside the President’s boots 10) License plate for the President’s blue Jeep 11) Rancheros Visitadores paperweight 12) American Indian design applied to a leather table in the Ranch house 13) Hopi Kachina ‘Buffalo’ doll gifted to the President 14) Rocking chair with 1776 motif 15) The First Lady’s cowboy boots 16) Hand-tooled leather Bibles. 17) A jacket given to the President by the Secret Service 18) Hand-tooled leather box made by the Sisco leatherworkers 19) Elk antlers decorating the front patio overhang 20) Bronze plaque on the Ranch house main door

Preserving History: An Interview with

Reagan Ranch Curator Marilyn Fisher by Je s s ica Je n s e n , E ditor

Libertas: How did you become interested in preservation and curating?

the condition of historic vehicles and Ranch equipment. Later, I focus on the interior of the Ranch buildings and the preservation needs of historic items housed inside. I pay extra close attention to precious materials—such as silver, textiles, and paper—as they are most sensitive to climate changes. Preservation records are kept on all artifacts to monitor how the items respond to the fluctuating mountaintop climate. Dehumidifiers are checked along with the climate monitors that record temperature and humidity levels within the buildings. This is essential to maintaining a safe climate for all historic artifacts. ———————————————

Fisher: My background is primarily in museum studies, and I have always had a love for American history. Growing up near Boston, I learned American history at a young age and have always been fascinated with historic homes. I received my B.A. in museum studies and later my M.A. in history of American Western art. Of course, I never dreamed I would have the incredible honor of preserving President Reagan’s historic ranch. ————————————————— Libertas: How did you first become involved with the Reagan Ranch? Fisher: I have always had tremendous respect for President Reagan. However, my connection with the history of Reagan really began at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in 1991. Working with both President and Mrs. Reagan and their 100,000-item Presidential gift collection helped me realize the impact this great man had on America. My first involvement with Rancho del Cielo took place when Mrs. Reagan informed me that she would be returning select original Ranch artifacts to the recently sold Reagan Ranch and requested my help in preparing the artifacts for shipment. I knew that the Ranch had been sold to Young America’s Foundation but had no way of knowing at the time that I would become involved in Ranch preservation on a full time basis. In 2000, I accepted the distinctive

Ranch Curator Marilyn Fisher works to preserve Rancho del Cielo just as Ronald Reagan left it.

Libertas: What is being done to protect the 688-acre Ranch from fires and climate-related damage?

position of curator for the Reagan Ranch. This new challenge was a change from my work at the Library, where I had focused mainly on the Washington, D.C., aspects of Ronald Reagan’s history. ————————————————— Libertas: What would you consider a “typical” day at the Ranch? Fisher: A typical day begins with a meeting with the Ranch Manager to inspect the buildings and fences for any outstanding maintenance or preservation issues. The extensive telephone pole fence work built by Ronald Reagan is aging and requires regular inspections. We also discuss the needs of the Ranch livestock and review

Fisher: All historic properties have their own special needs. At Rancho del Cielo, time and weather promote a cycle of restoration typical of most ranches; this leads to continuous preservation projects of one sort or another. Hot summer winds and the Ranch’s location along the dry California coast increase the possibility of brush fires. Therefore, we take extreme care in protecting the Ranch. Roads and trails require regular grading and care, while trees and brush need constant trimming to discourage brush fires. Irrigation and fire suppression systems are also valuable safeguards. Rainstorms are another threat and can cause increased seasonal run off. The Ranch property is kept well-graded

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to handle flooding on slopes around the historic structures and roadways. ————————————————— Libertas: What are some of the most interesting items at the Ranch that most people may not know about? Fisher: There are many interesting Reagan items at the Ranch. For instance, the President’s favorite ball cap with “United States Mounted Secret Service” embroidered and gold braid resides in the master bedroom along with his riding breeches. The bookshelf in the main entryway contains more than 240 books by authors including Sir Winston Churchill, Louis L’Amour, Whittaker Chambers, William F. Buckley Jr., and Theodore Roosevelt and also includes personally inscribed books by Vince Lombardi and George Allen, among others. A cavalry poster on the wall in the bar area is a reminder of Reagan’s service in the U. S. Mounted Cavalry Reserve during the 1930s. Several paintings give the rooms a sense of the American West, and the Seal of the President of the United States, created from wood and nails, hangs above the mantle in the Fireplace Room. In the Tack Barn, Ronald Reagan’s favorite red Jeep, his tools, and chainsaws used to clear brush as well as his riding tack all sit as if waiting for him to return. The nearby yellow Hay Barn holds the “Gipper’s chipper,” which the President used to grind the brush he cleared from the riding trails. —————————————————

In addition, items from the personal collection of retired Secret Service agent and Reagan Ranch Board of Governors member John Barletta are on permanent display at the Center. These include Ronald Reagan’s well-loved pair of tall riding boots and his Western saddle.

This sign adorns the wall inside the tack barn at Rancho del Cielo.

————————————————— Libertas: How does the Reagan Ranch Center benefit the preservation of certain Reagan Ranch-related items? Fisher: The Center provides a stable environment to share and interpret Reagan Ranch history. Ranch paintings are displayed in areas of controlled temperature, humidity, and low light, ensuring that they’ll be enjoyed by visitors for years to come. The leather and wood “Tax Cut Table” and other artifacts preserved in the Gallery help

“Rancho del Cielo is unique in that it is completely intact, preserved as a time capsule of relatively modern artifacts...”

Libertas: What Ranch-related items are housed at the Reagan Ranch Center? Fisher: Visitors to the Reagan Ranch Center will see the blue Jeep Scrambler that President Reagan used to host Mikhail Gorbachev for his tour of the Ranch property in 1992. They will also find the United States Secret Service (USSS) trail markers, a section of Reagan’s telephone pole fence work, the beige phone and the chair he used to make many of his official phone calls from the Ranch, and his ranch Bible. The Exhibit Gallery also houses the original leather “Tax Cut Table” used to sign the 1981 Economic Recovery Tax Act at the Ranch.


visitors better understand Ronald Reagan and how he spent work and leisure time at his beloved Ranch. ————————————————— Libertas: How might preservation of a more modern property, like Rancho del Cielo, differ from that of older Presidential homes, such as Mt. Vernon or Monticello? Fisher: Among historic Presidential properties, Rancho del Cielo is unique in that it is completely intact, preserved as a

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time capsule of relatively modern artifacts from Reagan’s post-gubernatorial era. Young America’s Foundation acquired the Ranch, complete with all original furnishings and a few additions from the 1980s. Other Presidential homes have the challenge of replicating original artifacts that were lost before formal preservation could take place. It is fortunate for American history that Rancho del Cielo’s original artifacts and furnishings remain to tell the story of Reagan’s Ranch history. ————————————————— Libertas: Many friends have assisted with the preservation of this historic Presidential property. With whom have you had the pleasure of working with over the years? Fisher: Young America’s Foundation President Ron Robinson and our Reagan Ranch Board of Governors provide extensive leadership for Reagan Ranch preservation. President Reagan’s friends and associates, including Attorney General Edwin Meese and Judge Bill Clark, have generously shared their knowledge as well. In addition, we would not be where we are today without the kind generosity of our supporters, many of whom I have enjoyed meeting at Rancho del Cielo. ————————————————— Libertas: What is your favorite part of working at Rancho del Cielo? Fisher: My favorite part of preservation work at Rancho del Cielo is discovering and sharing Ronald Reagan’s history and his beloved ranch. He believed that hard work built character, and his handiwork is evident throughout the Ranch—from the telephone pole fence work and the stone patio to the dock on Lake Lucky and the many trails. This is the Ranch that Reagan built. A walk through the Reagan Ranch is a very personal experience and a special way to get in touch with this great leader. It is an honor and a privilege to walk the Ranch pathways in the course of my curatorial work. At the end of the day, you somehow sense that he is pleased with the way his beloved Ranch is being preserved.

The Reagan Ranch Center is Young America’s Foundation’s “Schoolhouse for Reaganism,” allowing the Foundation to reach increasing numbers of young people with Ronald Reagan’s lasting accomplishments and values.

The Reagan Ranch Center: A Schoolhouse for Reaganism b y A n d r e w C o f f i n , Vi c e P r e s i d e n t a n d Di r e c t o r o f t h e R e a g a n R a n c h


oung America’s Foundation’s Reagan Ranch Center stands tall on the busiest street in Santa Barbara, adjacent to the much traveled Highway 101, next door to the Santa Barbara Train Station, just two short blocks from the beach, and in the shadow of the Reagan Ranch. There could not be a more ideal location to draw people to learn about the conservative ideas championed by Ronald Reagan. With four floors of classrooms, banquet and conference space, a modern boardroom, a movie theater, exhibit galleries, and a library of conservative resources, the Reagan Ranch Center is a state-of-the-art facility that brings conservative ideas to life. The Reagan Ranch Center is an essential complement to the Ranch and the Foundation’s programs nationwide. It is here that we share the

story of the Ranch and its place in history with the public at large. This is also where students have access to the ideas and training that are sadly absent from their own classrooms. In a setting that reinforces—rather than undermines— conservative values, students are given the tools they need to protect liberty and lead our country. Jenna Burkey explores the Reagan Ranch Center Exhibit Gallery to learn about Ronald Reagan, his lasting accomplishments, and the “Western White House.”

A Tribute to Ronald Wilson Reagan The Reagan Ranch Center serves as an important tribute to the life and leadership of Ronald Reagan. This unique facility would not have been realized if not for the vision of many great Americans who gave key gifts to ensure that the Reagan Ranch Center was completed. Many stepped forward, at all levels of support, Young America’s Foundation • Libertas


The Reagan Ranch Center’s Exhibit Gallery and Education Center includes interactive displays and state-of-the-art Reagan Ranch exhibits that bring Ronald Reagan’s ideas and words to life for visitors—young and old.

but there are a handful of leadership gifts that came at critical moments for the project and deserve special recognition. In the early stages of development, a $1 million gift from Lee and Helen Lovaas to establish the David Louis Bartlett Outreach Center helped get the project off the ground. Named in honor of Helen’s beloved brother, the Outreach Center is at the heart our educational programs. Two years after acquiring the building that would become the Reagan Ranch Center, when progress was largely at a standstill, Al and Bette Moore stepped forward and became the primary building sponsors, with their total gifts to the project exceeding $3 million. Al and Bette made this heartfelt decision while spending a weekend with more than 500 energetic young people at Young America’s Foundation’s West Coast Leadership Conference in Santa Barbara. (The Moores later helped preserve another important part of the Reagan Ranch when they sponsored the Tack Barn Acre with an additional gift of $2.5 million.) Rich and Helen DeVos then took us into the home stretch with a magnificent gift of $5 million, completing the final

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construction phases of the Reagan Ranch Center. (The DeVoses would later expand on this support with a $10 million gift to the Reagan Ranch endowment.) Once the building was occupied, and the $20 million infrastructure investment made, it was essential that the Reagan Ranch Center be opened and outfitted for student and public outreach. A new friend in the Santa Barbara community emerged—someone captured by the unique role the Center could play on California’s central coast. Wendy McCaw, owner and publisher of the Santa Barbara News-Press, stepped forward with a $1 million gift to sponsor the Welcome Center— an important component of the Reagan Ranch Center, often serving as a visitor’s first experience with the Reagan Ranch.

Training Tomorrow’s Leaders Young America’s Foundation is the largest conservative student outreach organization in the country and the only such organization with offices on both the East and West Coasts. Week after week, high school and college students from

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Sarah T. Hermann Intern Scholar Ben Ashfar shows young students from Santa Barbara Christian School how to use the Center’s interactive timeline table exhibit to explore the history of the Reagan Ranch.

Foundation students and supporters gather in the Center’s entryway next to a 5,000-pound section of the Berlin Wall—a special exhibit sponsored by Harold Knapheide and family.

around the country visit the Reagan Ranch Center to attend conferences, seminars, and leadership retreats. They are eager to learn more about conservative ideas. The Reagan Ranch Center provides Young America’s Foundation with tremendous facilities to pass on President Reagan’s ideas. Some seminars focus on the nuts and bolts of campus activism, giving students the tools needed to influence their peers and hold effective events on their own campuses. Other seminars examine the great thinkers who influenced Ronald Reagan—conservative giants including Russell Kirk, Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, and Frank Meyer. Still others cover the most pressing issues of the day and introduce young people to conservative solutions. Reagan Ranch conferences and seminars feature some of the brightest minds and leaders of the Conservative Movement such as Vice President Dick Cheney; Governors George Allen, Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, and Scott Walker; Senators Jim DeMint and Mike Lee; Speakers

John Boehner and Newt Gingrich; Congresswoman Michele Bachmann; Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; President Reagan’s son, Michael Reagan; and best-selling authors Michelle Malkin, Brad Thor, and Ann Coulter, among others. The Reagan Ranch Center is also open to general community audiences. The monthly Reagan Ranch Roundtable luncheon series welcomes prominent conservative leaders to Santa Barbara. Designed especially for the central coast community, the luncheons advance the principles that Ronald Reagan championed and expose new audiences to our mission. Students, supporters, and new friends gather to hear from speakers such as Jonah Goldberg, Dennis Prager, Karl Rove, Ken Starr, Ben Stein, John Stossel, and many others. Holly Burwell was just a high school student when she attended her first Young America’s Foundation Reagan Ranch conference. Her words speak volumes: “I have always been taught to measure a lifetime by the number of lives that have been changed because of it. Young America’s Foundation can add one more life to their count: mine.”

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Reagan Ranch Board of Governors Chairman Frank Donatelli leads Vice President Cheney and his daughter, Mary, on a tour of the Reagan Ranch Center Exhibit Gallery and Education Center.

The Reagan Ranch Center provides us with exciting opportunities to reach young people, such as Holly, and to activate them for decades of conservative leadership.

Sharing the History of the Reagan Ranch Rancho del Cielo, President Reagan’s home for 25 years and the Western White House during the height of the Cold War, embodies the life and ideas of Ronald Reagan. The Exhibit Gallery and Education Center at the Reagan Ranch Center helps Young America’s Foundation share the important lessons about Ronald Reagan’s life and character found at the Ranch. These galleries feature original Reagan Ranch artifacts matched with state-of-the-art, interactive, multimedia exhibits that highlight the history of Ronald Reagan’s quarter-century at Rancho del Cielo and the accomplishments of his Presidency. A massive, 5,000 pound section of the Berlin Wall greets visitors as they arrive at the Reagan Ranch Center, reminding the world of Ronald Reagan’s role in eliminating this assault on human dignity and freedom. The President’s famous blue Jeep

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Scrambler, complete with the “Gipper” license plate sits in the center of the gallery, flanked by a selection of Ronald Reagan’s favorite books, an original saddle, and a chainsaw owned and used by President Reagan. More than six hours of dynamic multimedia exhibits provide access to exclusive speeches, interviews, radio addresses, and original video presentations. The centerpiece of the gallery is a 28-foot-long interactive timeline table that gives users the ability to explore the “Western White House” during the 1980s. The galleries also feature several unique collections on display, including the Lorraine Wagner Letter Collection—a nearly 300piece collection of letters written by Ronald Reagan over a 50year period—and the Russell D. Sibert Collection, featuring rare Reagan-related memorabilia and commemorative items. The Reagan Ranch Center is designed to engage visitors of all ages. Young children can earn their “Junior Secret Service Clearance” by completing a fun and educational scavenger hunt. Students better understand the context and significance

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Students from around the country gather in the David Louis Bartlett Outreach Center to participate in the annual West Coast Leadership Conference at the Reagan Ranch Center.

High school students explore the wealth of conservative resources in the Tom & Randall Phillips Library and Media Center in the Reagan Ranch Center.

of the historic sites they will see at the Ranch itself, and older visitors are reminded of how their lives were changed through Ronald Reagan’s leadership.

Alumni groups from Grove City College, Indiana Wesleyan University, and Eureka College (Reagan’s alma mater) and international groups such as the Young Britons’ Foundation and International Young Democrat Union (founded by President Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s) have also utilized the Reagan Ranch Center.

A Hub of Conservative Activity The Reagan Ranch Center has become a hub of conservative activity on the West Coast. Not only home to Young America’s Foundation staff and programs, the Center is utilized by like-minded organizations, private foundations, and educational institutions as a place to meet, share ideas, and gain inspiration. Since the Reagan Ranch Center opened its doors in 2006, Young America’s Foundation has been honored to host the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, Citizens United Foundation, the Phillips Foundation, Eagle Publishing, Bruce Eberle and Associates, Royale Energy, National Right to Work, The Fund for American Studies, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, the Liberty Fund, and the Heritage Foundation, among other groups, for board meetings, events, and conferences.

C onservat i ve

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher

L eaders

Speaker John Boehner


Striking a Spark President Reagan said, “There is a flickering spark in all of us, which, if struck at just the right age, can light up the rest of our lives.” That is why Young America’s Foundation saved the Reagan Ranch, and that is why the Reagan Ranch Center is so important. The Ranch and Ranch Center are the showrooms to share President Reagan’s ideas with future generations. Much more than an encounter with history alone, Young America’s Foundation’s Reagan Ranch programs strike a spark in the lives of young people, activating them for decades of conservative leadership for our country.

T he

Stephen Moore

R eagan

R anch

C enter

Lt. Col. Oliver North

Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

Young America’s Foundation • Libertas


Learn More About Ronald Reagan and His Ranch

Reagan advisor Peter Hannaford provides a fascinating portrait of the Western White House throughout his book, Ronald Reagan and His Ranch. (Publisher: Images from the Past, Inc., 2002) Remembering Reagan is a captivating photographic journey through Ronald Reagan’s life and career. The book by Reagan advisors Charles Hobb and Peter Hannaford includes many images from the President’s days at Rancho del Cielo. (Publisher: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1994)

In his book, Riding with Reagan, Secret Service Agent John Barletta shares personal memories about protecting the President at Rancho del Cielo. (Publisher: Citadel Press, 2005)

Young America’s Foundation’s film, Still Point in a Turning World: Ronald Reagan and His Ranch, is the definitive examination of Ronald Reagan’s Rancho del Cielo and its personification of his philosophy and values. Explore the Ranch as few have in this moving film and see why it “cast a spell” on the man who became one of the greatest Presidents in American history. (Available for purchase on

“Biographies good enough for movie material.” —The American Spectator


ontained in the pages of Funding Fathers: The Unsung Heroes of the Conservative Movement are stories that have rarely been told. They are the stories of the generous people who stood behind some of the Conservative Movement’s most significant books, institutions, and leaders but received little recognition or gratitude from the Movement itself or the country they shaped.

Free Book Gift with * e! Purchas

“Jam-packed with useful insights”

— The Journal of the Institute of Economic Affairs

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— Lee Edwards, Philanthropy Magazine

“Comprehensive and well-written”

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— John Fund, Wall Street Journal



— Charles Johnson, The Claremont Conservative

“This indispensable book is a must read.”

— 75th U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese

Call 800-USA-1776 or visit to order your copy!

*Mention this ad and a free insider booklet, “Top 10 Secrets of Successful Giving,” will be yours! National Headquarters F.M. Kirby Freedom Center, 110 Elden Street Herndon, Virginia 20170 800-USA-1776

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Young America’s Foundation Libertas magazine


Reagan Ranch Edition

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he Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, California enhances Young America’s Foundation’s ability to inspire future generations of young leaders with the principles and values President Reagan championed. The 22,000-square-feet building includes state-of-the-art exhibits, classrooms, a theater, meeting rooms, a library of conservative resources, Young America’s Foundation’s Reagan Ranch offices, and more. The Reagan Ranch Center also includes facilities in which to store and protect historic Reagan Ranch items that would otherwise deteriorate if left on the Ranch.

Libertas - Special Reagan Ranch Issue  
Libertas - Special Reagan Ranch Issue  

This issue of Libertas features the Reagan Ranch. It was first produced in 2005 and reissued in 2011. To order your free copy of this issue...