Many member ranches from across the Western U.S. and Canada, along with associate members and vendors, are expected to attend the Dude Ranchers’ Association’s (DRA) 91st convention at Tanque Verde Ranch on Jan. 18-21, 2017. The DRA is also proud to welcome three new members to its existing roster of ranches: Bull Hill Guest Ranch in Kettle Falls, Wash.; Horses N Courage in Judith Gap, Mont.; and Rankin Ranch in Caliente, Calif. Each year, convention attendees come together to exchange ideas about how to continue exceeding the highest standards within the dude ranching industry; promoting the Western ranch vacation experience; and preserving parks, forest and wildlife.
Panels and breakout sessions will discuss topics related to various aspects of the dude ranching and hospitality industries, such as new vendor introductions, marketing initiatives and operations. This year’s keynote speaker is Ron Marks, author of the best selling book entitled, “Managing for Sales Results.” Ron has gained great perspective and credible experience on how to sell and manage sales people during his work in a number of industries over the past 35 years.
Other speakers will include Nancy Schretter, founder and managing editor of Family Travel Network; Les Douma, former superintendent with the Iowa School System; Amanda Esch, business consultant and partner in the law firm of Davis & Cannon, LLP; and Matthieu Corrand, founder of RanchBookings.com. There will also be opportunities for networking and socializing, including a pigeon racing contest and the annual Dude Ranchers' Auction.
“The Dude Ranchers’ Association has dedicated the past 90 years to preserving and protecting the Western way of life. Our annual convention is a fantastic opportunity for learning and fellowship among our member ranches as we look to continue doing so for many more years,” said Colleen Hodson, Executive Director of the DRA.
The DRA represents a broad spectrum of guest ranches across North America, ranging from rustic, no-frills working ranches to luxury resort-style ranches offering five-star cuisine and spa treatments. Established in 1926, the DRA was founded to preserve, protect and promote the unique experience and identity of a dude ranch vacation. With the addition of the three new members, there are now a total of 100 DRA-accredited ranches. Bull Hill Guest Ranch, located in northeastern Washington State, sits at the foothills of the majestic Rocky Mountains near British Columbia, Canada. Sweeping panoramic views of neighboring Idaho, Lake Roosevelt and Canada provide a backdrop setting that is one of the most picturesque in the Pacific Northwest.
Bull Hill Guest Ranch opened as a guest ranch in 1995 and is part of a large working cattle ranch that dates back to 1903. Horses N Courage is a family owned and operated, working guest ranch located in central Montana. The ranch – which accommodates eight guests – offers horseback riding, trail riding, wall-tent accommodations, cattle drives, dummy roping and healing retreats, all set amidst 2,000 acres of private, breathtaking mountain scenery and Montana wildlife. Rankin Ranch is located in the beautiful valley of Walker’s Basin, deep in the heart of California’s Tehachapi Mountains and at the southern end of the Sequoia National Forest. It has been a working cattle ranch for over 150 years – guests can enjoy tasty Rankin Ranch beef during their stay – and is one of the oldest and largest (31,000 acres) family-owned ranches in California.
Dude and guest ranches applying for membership to the DRA go through a rigorous two-year inspection and approval process. Membership identifies a ranch as meeting the highest standards of the dude ranching industry. Guests at a DRA-accredited ranch can expect genuine, Western hospitality combined with the lodging industry’s latest standards.