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Kanab, Utah's Weekly Newspaper, Serving Kane County, Utah & the Arizona Strip

Southern Utah News Front Page: November 20, 2014

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Come enjoy the Buffalo Gap Christmas Town

Randy Ross has built an incredible town/model train display for the holidays. The set, along with a short children’s story called, “The Christmas That Almost Didn’t Happen,” will be on display for the Christmas season at Cliffview Chapel Baptist Church. Townfolk are encouraged to view the show through the window from 6-9 p.m. nightly starting Nov. 28.


By Dixie Brunner

It was a different time many years ago, when children would eagerly make up their ‘wish list,’ and families would stroll down the street marveling at all the storefront Christmas window decorations. Those kind of Christmas memories motivated Randy Ross of Kanab to create a special Christmas display for his worship home of Cliffview Chapel utilizing his train building skills.

Cliffview Chapel Pastor Doug Hounshell knew of Ross’ God-given train building talents, and asked him a few weeks before Christmas last year, whether he’d consider building such a project for the enjoyment of the community.

Ross has been instrumental in encouraging others in the art of train and model building, and has been passionate about it for years. “I’ve been doing scale modeling since I was a teen,” he explained. Ross and wife Dee, and their dogs have lived in the Kanab Creek Ranchos since 2006. He came by his love of trains honestly, prior to moving here he worked for 34 years for the Union Pacific Railroad.

“I showed Randy the space the church had available, offered a few of my own ideas, and he just ran with the project,” explained Hounshell. “He wanted to use his talents to spread the Gospel message.” With the Baptist Church being a firm Bible-believing and family-oriented house of worship, the warm outreach of a train town seemed like a special gift to the community. “We want it to be the talk of the town,” said Hounshell.

Buffalo Gap Christmas Town was born!

But the project didn’t just provide Ross a little something to do in his free time; it took hundreds of hours for him to build the ON30 model scale that he worked on in his home workshop! Nearly every facet of Buffalo Gap was painstakingly handcrafted. In the winter months of last year, he’d work six to eight hours, five days a week. The train components are made by Bachman Manufacturing, and there’s a whopping 50 pounds plus of casting plaster and 150 board feet of wood in the model town.

When admiring Cliffview Chapel’s gift to the community, as well as Ross’ remarkable handiwork, take time to listen to the short children’s story, “The Christmas That Almost Didn’t Happen.” The script, as well as the acting, was another labor of love by members Michael and Jennifer Radebaugh.

“We hope this community treat will glorify God, be a blessing to others who live here, and communicate a message about our church,” said Hounshell.

“I’ve been modeling for years,” added Ross. “This is a gift that God has given me. I thought this might be a way to use one of my talents to glorify Him.”

You will soon be able to enjoy the community display at the Cliffview Chapel, 217 East 300 South, Kanab.` It will open on November 28 and run though December 27, and it’ll be shown nightly from 6-9 p.m., except on Sundays. The display will be viewed entirely outside, and is free to everyone.

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