The Travis Wilson family shared an early Christmas gift with their neighbors on Peabody Street and other Peabody residents Saturday morning.
Santa’s reindeer in training, “Sterling Silver,” was in a portable pen in a vacant lot across from the Wilson home, munching grass and keeping an eye on a group of curious people gathered around his pen.
Sterling Silver’s trip to Peabody was the gift of Wilson’s friend, Paige Dodson of El Dorado. In the fall, Dodson had attended a benefit for Susan B. Allen Hospital in El Dorado, where she is a staff doctor. An auction of unusual items was part of the benefit and a pre-holiday visit from Sterling Silver was on the list of items to sell.
Dodson purchased the visit and passed it on to Travis and Jylle Wilson and their children. Wilsons posted an invitation on social media inviting community members to join them.
“He is pretty cool,” 5-year-old Kash Wilson said. “But we didn’t see him fly.”
At that point, his mother Jylle commented that Sterling Silver is still training for Santa’s crew.
Richard Corbin of Towanda owns the 2½-year-old Minnesota reindeer. Corbin is the only registered reindeer breeder in Kansas. Sterling Silver is his third reindeer and came from a breeder in Crystal Lake, Minnesota.
“He has adjusted well,” Corbin said. “The Kansas heat does not seem to bother the reindeer.”
Corbin uses the reindeer for advertising in the Wichita area.
“We have used them in video ads for a car dealership, some print ads, and for personal appearances like this,” he said. “In fact, when we leave here we are going to Kansas City to shoot pictures for a calendar.”
Corbin calls his reindeer business Dash-Away Reindeer. It is part of a larger enterprise, Fulton Valley Farms, south of Towanda. Naturally, this is a busy time of year for Dash-Away Reindeer. The farm is host to holiday events featuring reindeer, nativity vignettes, Christmas dinner, and Santa visits.
“In the meantime, we enjoy going out on nice days like this near the holidays to make kids and families happy,” Corbin said. “The reindeer always make the kids’ eyes get big. It’s a fun job.”