Family Reunites for 30th Year at Ironwood Springs

Updated: 12/27/2013 10:14 AM
Created: 12/26/2013 5:49 PM KAALtv.com
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- For those who didn’t have to work, the day after Christmas is often a time for fun family activities. Many people spent the day at Ironwood Springs in Stewartville. We caught up with a family who has a long tradition of reuniting for sleigh rides and snow tubing. Let’s just say their reunion is a big one.

For the Kelley’s, Christmas just wouldn't be the same without Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch.

"We started here when my little brother Johnny was a senior in high school which was 1983, so that make this our 30th year,” said Jamer Kelley, one of 14 siblings in the family.

For 30 years, the Kelley’s have spent the day after Christmas on sleigh rides and snow tubes. A tradition the family credits Grandma for continuing all these years, but it's not your normal family reunion. Squeezing into a family picture isn't so easy for the Kelley’s.

"I’m 6 from the top, 8 from the bottom,” said Jamer. He’s one of 14 brothers and sisters. That number has now expanded to nearly 70 immediate family members down to the last great grand kid. 

"We really actually like each other,” jokes Jamer.

While the family grows year after year, in recent years they lost one who helped start the tradition 30 years ago, "You just feel dad the minute you walk in here, but in a great way like he would be so proud of all of this,” said Molly Trusty, one of the 14 siblings in the family.

Nine years ago, on this day after Christmas, Joe Kelley died from a stroke, "He had a full day with all 68 of his immediate sons, daughters and all his grandchildren. He actually passed away on the drive home,” said Jamer.

So now, the tradition that means so much already, means that much more, "It was hard to lose him, but I know he's looking down on us and saying his legacy is living on,” said Molly.