Loretta Lynn Ranch remembers deadly flood one year later

Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 6:55 PM CDT
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HURRICANE MILLS, Tenn. (WSMV) - The deadly flood in Humphreys County one year ago almost took one of Tennessee’s top tourist attractions.

The Loretta Lynn Ranch suffered more than $1 million in property damage, but the biggest loss was their longtime foreman Wayne Spears.

“My little boys, they’re 10 and 7 and they talk about Wayne still all the time,” Tayla Lynn said. “He was the true cowboy, and he taught people how to be like that. The true gentleman.”

Tayla is Loretta Lynn’s granddaughter.

Having lived on the ranch for the past several years, she saw firsthand how close their family came to losing the ranch to powerful, rushing water.

“When it happened, I think we looked around the ranch and saw the devastation. There’s over a million dollars in damage and went, ‘Oh my gosh, how do you fix all this? Is it done?” Tayla remembered.

Since the flood, the Loretta Lynn Ranch has rebuilt much of the damaged property.

The ranch hosted Motocross National Championships in early August, one of the county’s biggest events.

Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis knows many of the county’s visitors may not know about the horror of what happened Aug. 21, 2021.

If he could, he’d tell them all about what he’s learned from his county in the year since.

“We’ll forever be scarred. But what would I want people to know about coming here? You’re coming into small town America that’s got one of the biggest hearts,” Davis said. “Our community has one of the biggest hearts ever. To see what we’ve been through, to comeback and be where we’re at now, is amazing.”

The city has planned tributes and memorials this weekend for the 20 people who died and hundreds of homes destroyed.

There will be live music and a candlelight vigil on the Waverly Square on Saturday at 6 p.m.

The following night, there will be a memorial at Waverly Central High School in the auditorium at 6 p.m.

Tayla Lynn helped organize the events along with city officials.

“I think it’s the most important thing we can do as the anniversary comes up is celebrate those lives and remember them and remember who they were” Tayla said. “The way that everybody has shown up after this flood with each other is one of the most beautiful things about Humphreys County.”