Welcoming guests to the Flying E

Back in 1946, Lee Eyerly, from Salem Oregon, purchased 3000 acres and established the original Flying E Ranch.

Lee and his crew built the original lodge, with eight guest rooms , the picturesque “Oregon” style barn, and a 3200 foot airstrip.

Mr. Everly fashioned the E brand, with wings, to reflect his surname and his love for flying. The certified brand is still owned and used by the ranch today.

George and Vi Wellik first circled the ranch in their private plane in April, 1949. “Looks like a motel in the middle of the desert” was Vi’s remark. Concluding their stay at the Camelback Inn, in Phoenix, George & Vi flipped a coin to decide whether to go back and visit the Flying E, or continue on to their original destination “Flying W” in Bandera, Texas. A flip of a coin completely changed the lives of the Bellflower, California residents. George and Vi landed their private plane at the E, and thus the beginning of their ranch legacy.

George & Vi Wellik

The Welliks, became frequent visitors of the Flying E, and by 1952 found themselves in full ownership. Still occupying their residence in Bellflower, California, George continued to run his tire and land developing businesses, but made frequent visits to the ranch.

Vi was very involved with the ranch operation, but depended on the help of ranch managers until 1960, when she and George , along with their two children, Warren and Wendy, moved to Wickenburg and assumed complete control of the ranch.

Additional land & leases were purchased to the west and north of Flying E, bringing the acreage to 21,000 acres.

Upon Georges’ death in October,1983, Vi carried on the active ownership until her death in February 2004. The ranch is now overseen by the Wellik Foundation.

A few changes have occurred through the years. George donated land to the town , and “Wellik Field,” named in his memory, serves as the Municipal Airport of Wickenburg.

The old airstrip is now a beautiful, grass horse pasture.

The ranch still proudly operates the cow/calf operation. Raising a few of the offspring from the original Murray Grey cows that Vi was so intrigued with, and started breeding on the ranch in the mid 1980’s. They mix with our modern day Angus, Hereford and Barzona stock.

Various land parcels were also donated to Wickenburg by the Wellik family, for city parks, schools, and the development of residential and industrial parcels. However the ranch still maintains 20,000 acres to ride and roam.

A ranchers dream, a flip of a coin, and a “hotel in the desert”, all brought together what the Flying E Ranch still offers today. The Way of the West, for dudes and cowpokes alike, to enjoy the serenity and tranquility of the peaceful ranch life.



Published in the Wickenburg Sun newspaper Wednesday April 21, 2010:
50 years ago…
Avaiation played role in Flyng E history (Friday, April 22, 1960)
The Flying E Ranch came into being in 1946 when Lee Eyerly of Salem, Ore., purchased a little more than three sections of deeded land and some leased range land from Tom Richards.
It had been a working ranch, consisting of a homestead house, serveral old buildings, and the present ranch well. Mr. Eyerly purchased the property for the sole purpose of having a place to retire in the winter with no intention of building a guest ranch.
“Vic and Leta Kelly were working for us here (Salem, Ore.) on our Oregon Flying E Ranch, and they persuaded me to establish a guest ranch permitting them to operate it for me,” Mr. Eyerly explained

Flying E Ranch October 2009

Flying E Ranch October 2009

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