Joy Ranch is both a non-profit organization and an actual 126 acre ranch located a few miles outside of Watertown, South Dakota. 

Founded by Joy Nelson, the organization’s core mission is to help challenged individuals get a chance to meaningfully connect with horses. Typical recipients of this program include everyone from foster children to those with life-altering conditions, disabilities, or diseases. 

We fund these experiences by offering our stunning western getaway to church groups, corporate groups, clubs, and other members of the public. Come stay with us and enjoy a scenic, rustic, one of a kind destination. 

Meet our Board

Joy Nelson portrait

Joy Nelson

Doug Tribble portrait

Doug Tribble

Michael Klatt portrait

Michael Klatt

Hugh Bartels portrait

Hugh Bartels

Jan DeBerg portrait

Jan Deberg

Robb Peterson portrait

Robb Peterson

Bryon Noem portait

Bryon Noem

Barbara Younger portrait

Barbara Younger

Michael Cartney portrait

Michael Cartney

 Chris Schilken portrait

Chris Schilken

Jim Schade portrait

Jim Schade

All about Joy Ranch 

land icon

126 acres

Situated perfectly on Lake Lyle, in the sportsman’s paradise of Eastern South Dakota. 
horse icon

20+ horses

Available for both indoor and outdoor experiences.
accseiblity icon

Barrier Free

The entire ranch is completely accessible and suitable for all ages and abilities.
1880 town icon

1880’s town

Featuring the Thirsty Boot Saloon, Wild Bill’s Game Room for kids and more!
bed icon


16 uniquely themed hotel rooms for you and your guests
lake icon

Lake Lyle

Enjoy the lake and its surrounding walking trails.
cooking icon


Full service commercial kitchen and dining space for 250+ guests. 
camping icon


The Coyote Campground has 11 sites with electricity pedestals and water hookups.

Experience joy Ranch today!

Contact usDonate