From the 2009 Dude Ranchers Association Conference

Recently, the Dude Ranchers’ Association Conference was held at Tanque Verde Ranch in Arizona. Later this week, we’ll tell you more conference news. Gene Kilgore had some inspiring thoughts for conference-goers, and we thought we’d share a portion of his speech with you.

 “I have titled my speech Champions of Goodness. That is what dude ranching is all about. That is what you, Dude Ranchers, all share. Goodness! And do we all ever need goodness in the world today. An Interviewer once asked me what I like most about ranching and I replied ‘It is simple: no phones, no emails, no faxes, just some good old fashioned horsin’ around!’ 

These past 29 years in ranch country have been exciting, enriching, and tough, too. I began the first edition of my book [Ranch Vacations] in 1988, penniless in a small cabin in Lake Tahoe. I was working three jobs and wondering how I was going to make it. 

By the grace of God I am here today – surrounded by some of the best people in the world—the dude ranch community.

Thankfully, I have been supported by my wonderful Brazilian wife, Regina, and son Francisco. Supported by a magnificent team of men and women who work with me. And inspired by you—ranchers who share their lives. All of us are making the world a better place. My journey has taken me to many wonderful ranches and allowed me to meet so many good people. All I want to do is continue bringing the world the best of ranch country, which ultimately means bringing more reservations to ranchers who are riding with us. It is that simple—we are in the success business; we are all about helping you keep winning. That is what I have built my reputation on.

The challenges ahead for ranching, our countries, and the world are enormous. We are in a financial crisis most of us have never seen. The effects are rippling around the world and are now affecting ranchers. Leading economic experts say this will get worse in 2009. Millions of layoffs. These are tough serious times!

Yet the opportunities for us all to share the ranch message are greater than ever.

Ranching is still one of the best remedies to combat all the stress that is so pervasive in our lives today. Reconnecting with nature, old fashioned goodness, and camaraderie are what we all need. You bring out that goodness and make communing with nature and animals the best!”

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