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A popular Manitoba wedding attraction is closing after decades of business and countless events.

A 15-minute drive north of Winnipeg on Highway 6, the Hitch’ n Post Ranch has been hosting events since 1984.

After years of good times, Kyle Anderson, the original owners’ son, is closing its doors.

“This hasn’t been an easy decision, obviously. We’ve been thing about this for a while. We wanted to come out and be truthful and honest with people because that’s what we always have been,” said Anderson.

Shut down for the last year and a half, the COVID-19 pandemic and health restrictions finally took their toll.

“Up to 35 years, it was great, and then, unfortunately, the pandemic hit. The lockdowns and restrictions have hit our industry one of the hardest,” Anderson said. “We don’t have the help most people are getting. We’ve been overlooked and after 17 months of no business. We just can’t carry on.”

Anderson said he and his wife Louise advocated for the province to allow attendance at safe events, but nothing came of it.

“There comes a point when you have to make a decision that’s right for you and we have to put ourselves first at this point,” said Louise.

The couple made the closing announcement in an emotional Facebook live on Thursday night.

Louise and Kyle Anderson both said they are very appreciative of the support they are receiving.

“There’s been such an outreach of support and so many people want to open up GoFundMe pages, and I just want to say thank you to everyone offering that. We have no words,” said Louise.

Among those reflecting on good times at the ranch is Amanda Edmonds, who got married there in August 2007.

“I’ve been thinking about it a lot,” she said. “When I saw the video, I had tears and, yeah, I’m just so sorry.”

A photo of Amanda Edmonds and her husband during their wedding at the Hitch ‘n Post Ranch in 2007. (source: Amanda Edmonds)

Edmonds said it was the perfect wedding venue and was hoping to show her kids the venue soon.

“It was pretty. It had old cars, old buildings, the fence, the gorgeous scenery. It really was the perfect venue,” Edmonds said. “I’m really sad and disappointed they have to shut down. “

As for the Andersons, they said they’ll be finishing the last half of the wedding season with the best events possible.

“We’ve brought almost half a million people into this yard from all over the world, all walks of life. Everyone has a story and a memory of this place and I just hope you guys keep those memories in your heart and smile,” Kyle said.

The couple said they will now focus on new business ventures and interests while continuing to advocate for the wedding industry.

The actual ranch will sit empty for now as it remains in the family.

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