Blue skies for dude ranches


Our recent conversation with Arizona’s Russell True, new President of the Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) and co-owner of White Stallion Ranch, included some good thoughts about the challenges facing dude ranches and their visitors in a tough economy. “We have to remind people that when you buy a ranch package, there are few to no add-ons,” says True. “If you compare a dude ranch to another resort, it’s apple to oranges: we’re all-inclusive and a very good value.”

But besides value, there’s another good reason to choose a dude ranch now, he continues. “Families need ranches because we create opportunities for real family time and some of our best family memories,” he contends. “You’re getting real experiences—not manufactured amusement park stuff,” True adds. “And we love what we do: it’s not just a job for any of us,” he notes.

The dude ranch is a uniquely American-born institution, and the first introduction to the West for some. Some ranches got their start at the turn of the century, so there’s history, culture, and tradition here, too.

“The Chinese word for crisis also means ‘dangerous opportunity’,” says True. “As ranchers, we’re must be more open minded, versatile, and adjust and adapt while protecting and expanding our future.” No problem, says True. “Ranchers are flexible-we’ll get better at our jobs. And there’ll be more of us standing at the end of all this.” And blue skies will return.

When you’re ready for an Arizona ranch visit, consider the Bar 10 Ranch, near the magnificent Grand Canyon; you’ll find western ranch activities, delicious country-style meals; and genuine western hospitality. And the Grapevine Canyon Ranch is famous for its riding program and friendly, highly personal service.


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