Nephi reception center finds success after family experiences great heartache

Cindy Shephard loved weddings. All the years that her daughter Amanda Lunt knew her growing up her mother had always done wedding cakes and always loved weddings.

Amanda followed her, creating wonderful masterpieces to add to a bride and grooms amazing day, so when Amanda was approached last October about buying the steak house in Nephi and turning it into a reception center, of course her mom told her to do it.

Amanda wasn’t so sure though. Opening a reception center was a risk, and the amount of work that would need to go into it to get it ready was overwhelming, but her mother had faith in her.

“We’ve never been afraid to work,” she told her daughter and Amanda knew she was right.

Still Amanda had reservations. She was a busy mother and she was busy running a small business as a health and wellness coach and it just seemed like more than she could do.

Soon Thanksgiving was upon them and life was getting busier by the minute.

The day after Thanksgiving, on Nov. 29, 2019, Amanda went to her mother house to visit.

When she arrived her mother was on the coach, feeling under the weather and not looking well.

Amanda was concerned when Cindy couldn’t even get off the couch.

She immediately took her mom to the hospital and the news they received was completely unexpected and devastating.

Cindy Shephard had breast cancer and it was further along than anyone could have expected.

Amanda spent every day of the next seven days with her mother in the hospital soaking in the last moments she would have with her. 

Amanda’s brother Radar Shephard had been preparing for the last year to enter the World Series of Team Roping Championship in Las Vegas the following week and Cindy had been determined that her son was going to go.

It was something new to Radar, never having professionally team roped before and Cindy had been his number one fan, even paying for his entrance into the competition. So when Radar’s roping partner suggested they pull out and cancel going to the competition, Cindy, who knew she wasn’t going to pull through, encouraged her son to go.

Cindy Shephard knew her children could do hard things.

Cindy died seven days after being diagnosed with breast cancer. The following Wednesday Cindy’s family held her funeral and the very next day Amanda and her husband, KC, loaded Radar Shephard up and took him to the championships in Las Vegas, where Radar and his roping partner Blake Beck took first place, coming out of it as world champions. 

When the end of January came, the family was still mourning the loss of their mother but Amanda knew she needed to do what she could to be happy.

Being a health and wellness coach she knew the importance of exercise to help regulate her emotions and keep her happy and well.

When the owners of the building in Nephi approached Amanda again about opening a reception center at the mouth of Nephi Canyon, this time Amanda knew she had to do it. She had to open the reception center for her mom.

Many months were spent getting the center open. Amanda’s did all of the construction on the building and Amanda spent hours upon hours making sure the center was perfect.

On June 1Cinder Creek Event Center opened its doors. Even in a year of COVID-19 and unrest for America’s small businesses, Cinder Creek has been nothing but a miracle, seeing every weekend since fully booked and Amanda knows her mother is smiling knowing that her dreams are finally coming true.

The meaning of the word Cinder means everlasting light and love and Amanda knew there was no better name to describe her mother.

Cinder Creek Event Center is located at 22 Sheep Lane Drive in Nephi. (Gibson is a Serve Daily contributor.)

Angi Gibson
Angi Gibson
Angi grew up on a small sheep farm in Central Utah and currently lives in the foothills of a growing town in Northern Utah County. She is a wife, mother to six and grandmother to four active boys. Along with her husband, Jason, they run a busy family business chasing from one end of the state to the other. Angi loves writing, gardening, and finding gratitude moments in everything.

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