Gene Kilgore’s Ranch Vacations

Ranch Vacations
The Leading Guide to Guest and Resort, Fly-Fishing, and Cross-Country Skiing Ranches in the United States and Canada, 6th Edition.

5 tips for getting a dream ranch job


We just heard from Dan Morin of Colorado’s Sundance Trail Ranch, who saw our blog asking ranchers for their thoughts on how dude ranch job seekers can increase their chances of snagging that dream job. Here are some of his suggestions to job seekers:

1. Have skills that I need – these are all people skills. I can teach you to cook, clean, even ride a horse; I cannot teach you how to delight my guests and keep them safe.

2. Don’t tell me how good the job would be for you. I am interested in

the welfare of my ranch, guests and staff, not that of an applicant I have never met. Tell me how good you will be for my ranch operation.

3. Have flexible dates.

4. Research the ranch, study the web site, address correspondence to me by

name (Dear Mr. Morin…), and don’t ask questions already answered in the website.

5. Cowboys and cowgirls have a code of ediquette. Learn it. Refer to us

as “sir” or “ma’am,” not “you guys.” 


All good thoughts, Dan. thanks for sharing. For more on Sundance Trails Ranch, click here. 
Share

How to get a dream job on a ranch

One recent ad for employment at a Colorado ranch reads: “Beautiful mountain scenery, hard work, and fun are just a few of the elements that our guest ranch crew experience every summer. If you have a ready smile, are willing to work hard, love the outdoors and enjoy working with people, we may have a job for you.”

Who wouldn’t want to combine a little hard work with a lot of potential fun in a stunning location? At most ranches, employees are welcome to use the ranch facilities on their days off, and sometimes you’re even welcome to ride any spare horses just for fun. Sounds like a great life in a wholesome, healthy environment. And so it is. But there’s a lot of competition for these dream jobs. So how do you score such a job?

Well, hang onto your Stetson. Over the next few weeks, we’ll show you how to get an edge on the competition, with tips and suggestions from the ranchers themselves. And as always, don’t forget to check out our job listings at Duderanchjobs.com; click here.

 

Share

Winter weekend mystery at a Colorado ranch

Some winter weekends at Colorado’s Sundance Trail Ranch are a real deal: two nights, at $135/night/single or $189/night/couple, includes lodging, all meals, daily horseback ride, and use of all ranch amenities (jaccuzzi, frisbee disc golf, fishing). Oh, and the murders are thrown in for free. Wait, murders?

Yep, at Sundance Trail Ranch, there’s a Murder Mystery Weekend each month the rest of the winter; the rates are the same as other winter weekends, but you get a bonus: a five-act mystery spread out between meals and horseback rides. The plot thickens after Saturday supper, by which time everyone has been shown to have motive and means for the dastardly deed, and it’s all wrapped up by Sunday, when the “judge and jury” take the “condemned” out for a long trail ride into the forest.You all play a role and participants must be willing to take a whimsical view of blackmail, larceny, deceit, and murder. 

Details: all meals (starting with supper on arrival through breakfast before departing) are included; taxes and tips not included. Individuals  or groups can sign up (a minimum of 8 guests is required for the murder mystery to take place). Weekends are open to adults only, with bookings limited to the first eight players. Upcoming dates: Feb 20, Mr 20, and April 17.

For more on Sundance Trail Ranch, click here.

Share

Riding Tips for Dudes

In the Saddle

In the Saddle

Learning to ride a horse can be a transformative event for a both kids and adults. When you’re finally astride, comfortable in the saddle and at one with your horse, your confidence soars. But it is smart to remember that horseback riding is a real sport with a real animal, and when your instructor/wrangler speaks, its important to listen up. Before you climb onto Old Paint, or before you even arrive at the ranch, you can prepare yourself or the kids by brushing up on some riding dos and don’ts.


Do wait for your wrangler to bring your horse to you—don’t approach a group of tied-up horses (you haven’t felt real pain until you’ve had a horse step on your foot). And after the ride, stay in the saddle until the wrangler helps you dismount; let him tie up Old Paint with a lead rope (the reins are never used to tie up the horses).

When riding, remember your trail manners: don’t pass another horse at high speed (it can be dangerous), don’t make any loud noises (ditto), don’t throw things that might spook your horse or another’s mount. And don’t let your horse graze–the wranglers make sure he gets plenty of the right food back at the barn.

In short, don’t act like a tenderfoot. Act like a real cowboy/cowgirl. After all, isn’t that the point?

Share

Riding tips for dudes


Learning to ride a horse can be a transformative event for a both kids and adults. When you’re finally astride, comfortable in the saddle and at one with your horse, your confidence soars. But it is smart to remember that horseback riding is a real sport with a real animal, and when your instructor/wrangler speaks, its important to listen up. Before you climb onto Old Paint, or before you even arrive at the ranch, you can prepare yourself or the kids by brushing up on some riding dos and don’ts.


Do wait for your wrangler to bring your horse to you—don’t approach a group of tied-up horses (you haven’t felt real pain until you’ve had a horse step on your foot). And after the ride, stay in the saddle until the wrangler helps you dismount; let him tie up Old Paint with a lead rope (the reins are never used to tie up the horses).

When riding, remember your trail manners: don’t pass another horse at high speed (it can be dangerous), don’t make any loud noises (ditto), don’t throw things that might spook your horse or another’s mount. And don’t let your horse graze–the wranglers make sure he gets plenty of the right food back at the barn.
In short, don’t act like a tenderfoot. Act like a real cowboy/cowgirl. After all, isn’t that the point?



Share

Helping kids learn more about ranch life


We love any place that understands and celebrates the real stories and real people of ranching and farming. Which is why we’re giving a nod to the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Museum. Tucked into a barnlike structure and 47 acres in the small town of Las Cruces, the museum aims to tell the 3,000-year history of farming and ranching in the state of New Mexico.

But what you’ll learn here goes beyond the tales from New Mexico farms to the stories and lessons learned by farmers and ranchers everywhere. And much of it is told in an interactive way. You can watch a cow being milked, wander past corrals filled with livestock, stroll several gardens or watch any of a number of demonstrations. For some visitors—especially children—it’s the first time they have any concept of the kind of work done by those who toil with crops or livestock. For others, it’s a walk down memory lane to farming practices of days gone by. If you’re near Las Cruces, it’s worth a detour.

And do you have a favorite museum that spotlights the world of ranching, horses, or cowboys? If so, drop us a note (click on the envelope, at left) or post a comment.

Share

A presidential fishing tale: North Fork Ranch


Seems everyone wants a ‘presidential story’ as we near Inauguration Day story, so here’s our angle. Turns out, you can fish the same spot favored by former President Dwight D. Eisenhower—on the rushing North Fork of Colorado’s South Platte River: at the North Fork Ranch, just one hour southwest of Denver. 

If fly fishing is your passion, this ranch should be on your radar.  North Fork Ranch(shown above) boasts a pristine, two-mile stretch of water, plus guided angling trips that Field & Stream Magazine called “the best to satisfy both the hardcore flyfisher and the rest of the family”.

We just got a note (sent to our Saddlebag) from Dean and Karen May, owners of the North Fork Ranch, with some added news. “We’re the newest addition to the Colorado Orvis-Endorsed Lodge Program,” notes Karen May.  Their diverse program, intimate size (35 guests, maximum) and personal attention set them apart from other fishing lodges.  “Settle in and you’ll quickly realize there is a magic here, a place that feels as good as home,” says May.

What anglers go for: brook, brown, cutbow, Snake River cutthroat, and rainbow trout. When to go: guided fishing trips (half or full day; packages available including meals, lodging and fishing) are available from about mid-February-November. Fall is prime time for both water conditions and weather.

And for the non-anglers in the family? Not to worry; there’s everything from hiking, horseback riding, rafting, and target shooting to lounging by the pool. Learn more about fishing at www.northforkranchguideservice.com

Share