A Christmas tree farm and agritourism destination has won the Cherokee Strip Business Model Competition.
Through the first-place win on Thursday, Red Bird Farm, owned by Kent and Becky Evatt, received $10,000 and one year of services through Autry Technology Center.
The farm will offer cut-your-own and pre-cut Christmas trees, handmade wreaths and gifts, a live animal nativity petting zoo and more throughout the year.
“We’re very excited. A little in shock,” Becky Evatt said. “We’re also just excited to be able to bring this to Enid, and we hope people are excited about it, too.”
The award means a lot, Kent Evatt said.
To be located north of Enid, off U.S. 81, a mile and a half north of Carrier Road, the farm will not be open until at least 2019, she said.
“We have some work to do,” Becky Evatt said.
The couple are in their fourth year of growing trees on about three acres. The property is 14 acres, so there is room to expand, she said.
“The idea is to bring … a premier agritourism destination to Enid,” Kent Evatt said, adding there is a desire to expand to providing berry picking and a pumpkin patch.
The reason for starting the farm is because the couple loves being outside, Becky Evatt said.
“Kent grew up on a farm. We enjoy just working, and we wanted to instill work ethic in our kids. Also, the reason that we wanted Christmas trees is also it’s a way that we can share our faith. It’s an important holiday to us, and we love trees,” she said. “We are so thankful.”
The award ceremony was the culmination of the entrepreneurial series offered in the Enid and Garfield County area, and is an opportunity to grow young businesses, Autry Technology Center Superintendent Brady McCullough said.
“I like to think that we work with dreams because many times that’s what people come through the series with and they have the hopes of sometime in the future that those dreams become a reality,” he said. “This is the next step for some of these businesses that will be recognized.”
Northern Oklahoma College, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Autry Tech and Enid Regional Development Alliance participate in the series, McCullough said. In addition, there are sponsors.
Ten competitors submitted business plans in the competition, Autry Tech Self Employment Coordinator Brenda Sheik said.
Those plans were reviewed by a panel of judges, narrowing it down to eight semifinalists.
The semifinalists put together a presentation and presented in front of another panel of judges, and those judges selected four finalists, she said.
Those final four put together a commercial, which was shown to another panel of judges Thursday, ahead of an awards luncheon, Sheik said.
Scoops Ice Cream Truck, owned by Aaron and Courtney Barber, placed second; The Silver Care Home, owned by Bob Osborn placed third; and Cornerstone Chiropractic, owned by John Conaway, placed fourth.
Attendees of the awards luncheon viewed the commercials as well, and selected a People’s Choice Award winner.
People’s Choice was awarded to The Silver Care Home, an alternative to institutional-type senior living that will provide a 10-bed residential home in a residential neighborhood.
Story provided by: Enid News and Eagle
Written by: Jessica Miller