CEDAR CITY, Utah -- At 77, Ken Freeman has adapted well since moving to Southern Utah in 2003. After working in the Southern Nevada carpet business for more than 40 years, his knees give him problems but he’s in good health other than that.
Tired of the traffic and other challenges related to the rapid growth of his home in Las Vegas, the native of Ely, Nev. journeyed north where he bought a 2,200 square-foot home complete with 55 acres along State Route 14.
To say the congenial Freeman is happy is a definite understatement. The “Turkey Crossing” sign in front of his home illustrates his latest family which commonly walks across his land offering gobble gobble chatter while en route to the other side of the road.
“The turkeys are always around here during the winter when the snow is on the ground,” said Freeman. “The poor buggers have a hard time with the snow on the ground, so I feed them with corn. They are like my friends. I have some that get up on my bird feeders and steal the food. You can’t believe the sight of a turkey running. It’s so funny to watch them run. They talk to you especially when I haven’t thrown out enough corn for them.”
When the man isn’t gazing at the beauty of the mountains south of his home, he’s enjoying his cabin on Cedar Mountain. He journeys back to Southern Nevada on occasion to see his family or an off-road race (he was one of the top competitors for many years), but is quite happy in an environment that is not only quieter but friendlier at the same time.
“It was not a hard decision to make at all,” said Freeman of his move. “I enjoyed the Aspen and the fishing so much that we find here. It’s like God’s country here. The areas that you can see are endless.”
And besides, Freeman is across the street from Milt’s Steak House, a restaurant on the south side of SR 14, so there is watering hole close by when he’d rather someone else made him a Brandy and 7-Up.
“Everyone knows about Milt’s because they have the good stuff,” laughs Freeman.
Freeman’s family members laud their father and grandfather.
“Papa’s strengths are that he was a good provider for his family,” says granddaughter Day Gang, a hard-working Southern Nevada real estate agent who has carried on the family tradition as an off road racer. “He made sure we never went without and I’ll never forget the wonderful trips he took us on.”
Gang especially recalls her grandpa’s help when her mother, Debbie, died suddenly in her sleep more than 10 years ago.
“I was only 15 at the time,” Gang recalls of a traumatic moment in her life. “My Papa and Granny took me in as one of their own children. He has never belittled me for being a woman that wanted to race off-road or go-karts. He has always supported me in the things I put my mind to.”
Freeman’s son, Kenny, said the time was right for the move to Southern Utah.
“My dad has always been a very intense person,” said the younger Freeman. He has taken things to the limit, and that includes his days as an off-road racer. He has lived his life to the fullest and he has never slowed down.”
That is until the senior Freeman moved to Southern Utah. In fact, Southern Utah probably added many years to Freeman’s life. When he retreats to his cabin, the scenery is breathtaking with grass underneath the trees is like carpet.
“The move has been good for my dad,” says the younger Freeman adding that his father had discovered the healthy environment of Southern Utah after spending many summers there. “Southern Utah reminded my dad of the way Vegas used to be. He simply loved the slower pace and the friendliness of the people there.”
The Freeman family believes so strongly in Southern Utah that there are plans to build a storage facility and gas station on the 55 acres along SR 14.
“It would be awesome,” Kenny Jr. says. “So many people from Las Vegas escape to Southern Utah for relaxation. We really think they would appreciate a storage facility for snowmobiles, ATVs and the rest when coming down the mountain. We have big plans especially considering how much my dad has benefitted by the move to Southern Utah.”
The senior Freeman added “I don’t want to stay in Vegas too long anymore. It’s just not the place I want to be at anymore. People actually want to say hi to you here. I would much rather prefer to be here. This little town is just great.”