This week in the Dude Ranch History Museum I had the privilege of meeting Mike Jackoboice and reminiscing with him over his dude ranch years. Mike worked at the White Grass Ranch in Moose, Wyoming in 1979. After his time there the land rights returned to Grand Teton National Park and the dude ranch facilities shut down and were left in stillness for many years. Recently Mike went back for a visit, and as he says 'My how things have changed.' Where the main driveway once was there are now 15 year old pine trees. As his story goes, Mike was hired on at the ranch to manage the irrigation systems. He fondly remembers asking the owner what hours he would be working, an 8 to 5? His manager replied, 'You are finished when the work is done.'
White Grass Ranch 1950s
Walking through the fields Mike could barely see where the irrigation ditches used to be. They are now filled almost completely with soil; however, the rock piles he had to move three times a day to hold down the irrigation tarps hadn't moved. They were a clear reminder of the good, honest work he put into the ranch. And, like the manager said, Mike never left work until the job was finished. Sometimes that would be 7 or 8 o'clock at night. Nonetheless the White Grass Ranch wasn't just a place to work, Mike raved about the food. The morning biscuits and gravy gave him a full belly for the day and helped add on an extra few pounds in spite of all the hard work. Even after so many years of being away he still remembers working on the ranch as one of his fondest Western memories.
Mike was also pleasantly surprised to discover the ranch was rustled out of its stillness around 2006 to become the Western Center for Historic Preservation. It is now an education and resource center dedicated to the preservation and maintenance of cultural resources in the Western national parks. The center invites people from around the country to learn how to restore cabins and historical locations. The White Grass Ranch was lucky to become a place that encourages the preservation of western history and the history of dude ranching. Mike was able to see cabin #15 completely and sustainably restored and left the new White Grass Ranch with nostalgia and even a little hope. Do you have a story from your history with dude ranching? Please share it with me at: email@example.com. Happy Trails! Leah Bright Moose, Wyoming Ranches Are you looking for active dude ranches in Moose, WY? Take a look at the Gros Ventre River Ranch, Moose Head Ranch, Lost Creek Ranch and the Triangle X Ranch.