You know, every once in awhile Comet needs a vacation or Rudolph has a head cold. When that happens, Santa calls on his reindeer-in-training. These special deer are trained and cared for by true believers throughout the world. And we now have one of these farms right here in Thurston County. Teva and Barry Barcomb are the excited owners of Twisted Holly Reindeer Ranch in Rochester. Their star residents are two young reindeer bucks, Dean and Sam.
“They are named after the characters in ‘Supernatural,’” shares Teva. It’s clear this true believer is excited to share everything about their new charges. “We wanted to do something different with the farm. We looked at Highland cows and fluffy sheep, but their were only three farms in Washington that had reindeer, and none in SW Washington.”
So, the Barcombs talked to other local reindeer ranchers, including the well-known Leavenworth Reindeer Farm, and decided they could help Santa take care of his second-string. After a lot of research, they became the fourth farm in Washington to have reindeer.
Get to Know Sam and Dean – Santa’s other Reindeer – in SW Washington
Food: Reindeer eat a specialized grain, that is formulated just for them! (It’s possible the recipe came from Santa, the elves are very hush-hush about it)
Favorite treat: Anything sweet of course! Sam and Dean’s treats include willow, dogwood bushes and dandelions. (Santa has a strict no candy cane policy – it can make the reindeer very hyper!)
Antlers?: You’ll notice these boys are missing their antlers! They had to have them cut off for their trip to Washington. Don’t worry, since antlers are naturally shed and regrown each year anyway, in 2023 you can expect a lovely rack on both!
Care: Aside from particular food and a nice high fence, reindeer need to have their feet trimmed as part of their routine care. When it’s time to shed their old antlers and reveal the new ones – November for males and in the spring for females – reindeer need Christmas-tree-sized fir trees to rub their itchy, velvety antlers on.
Sam and Dean came to the Barcombs via Alaska. A ranch that breeds reindeer. “It’s the same farm that the Leavenworth Reindeer are from,” shares Teva. She adds that it’s been decades since the Leavenworth farm got their stock, so there’s genetic diversity, something they planned on so that they can possibly interbreed between the two farms down the line.
Practically unhandled, the Barcombs are working hard on taming up their two young charges for events. “We plan on having them halter-trained really soon,” she says.
Thurston County Reindeer Rentals
Sam and Dean are already booked for some fun holiday events around SW Washington in 2022! You can see Santa’s helpers, take photos and learn about these magical reindeer, like what makes them fly. (Rumor has it its magic corn, that the elves make and only Santa has). Visit them at:
- Mason Jar, Onalaska, November 27
- Montesano Tree Lighting, December 10
- Centralia Lighted Tractor Parade, December 10
- Centralia Holiday Farmers Market at the Centralia Outlets, December 17