Category: Association Information

Dude Ranch Foundation

 
History of the Dude Ranch Foundation The Dude Ranch Foundation began in 1988 by Mark Grubbs. Mark and his wife, Amy, had a rich background in dude ranching and were determined to keep the industry and heritage alive. Mark’s dream was to establish a fund to give scholarships to young people who wanted to be in the Dude Ranch industry.  Funding was to be obtained from an annual auction held during the Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) Convention. In 2016 The Educational Trust Board of Directors voted to expand their mission and change the name to the Dude Ranch Foundation.  Dude Ranch Foundation Mission - Keeping the Real West Alive. To protect and preserve the history of Dude Ranching by maintaining a museum and archives for educating the public on the historical nature of the dude ranching industry. Additionally, our mission is to financially assist in the educations of persons wishing to pursue employment or... Read More

What is the Dude Ranch Foundation?

 
The mission of the Dude Ranch Foundation is: To protect and preserve the history of dude ranching by maintaining a museum (heritage center) and archives for educating the public on the historical nature of the dude ranching industry. Additionally, our mission is to financially assist in the educations of persons wishing to pursue employment or careers in the dude ranch industry and supporting industries. The Foundation began in 1988 by Mark Grubbs. Mark and his wife, Amy, were co-executive directors and former dude ranch owners. Mark’s dream was to establish a fund to give scholarships to young people who wanted to be in the dude ranch industry. Funding was to be obtained from an annual auction held during the Dude Ranchers' Association Convention. His vision was to retain a fund large enough that the interest would be used for scholarships. The scholarship fund has been administered by our Executive Director (s)... Read More

The National Dude Ranchers' Association Celebrates 92 Years

 
More than 50 member ranches from across the Western United States and Canada, as well as many associate members and vendors, are expected to ride into Denver, Co., to attend the 92nd annual convention of the Dude Ranchers' Association (DRA) on January 17-20, 2018. The DRA was founded in Cody in 1926 and has since grown to more than 100 members. This year is a special year as we will be joining The Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Association (CDGRA) to welcome all of our other members to the beautiful state of Colorado. Guest and dude ranches have played a significant role in Western history for more than 120years. High demand for a nostalgic frontier experience offered first at Wyoming ranches, and then other ranches throughout the region, led to the founding of the DRA in Cody, Wyoming. This conference will include a trade show of 38 vendors and will feature keynote... Read More

The Retiring [Dude] Rancher

 
Dick Elder, former owner of the Colorado Trails Ranch and Dude Ranch Hall of Fame Inductee wrote many poems about life as a dude rancher: He shared one at the annual convention this year and we would like to share it with you. Please comment below on this page on what dude ranching means to you. Dick Elder in his element, Photo courtesy of Dick Elder The Retiring Rancher by Dick Elder © 1996 Sold my ranch out in the county, And we moved down in to town. Lost a thousand feet of elevation, A thousand acres of grazing ground.   Thought I’d like to take it easy, Drink coffee at Bob’s Café, With all my rancher cronies, To pass the time of day.   They’s a bunch of ‘em retired, They’re in the same kind a fix. I used to see them sittin’there, Swappin’ lies and whittlin’ sticks.   And as I rode on by ‘em, I’d give a little wave, I kinda, well, sort of envied ‘em Ole Monte, Lyle... Read More

Dude? Dude! Dude.

 
Recently, I was asked an interesting question by an individual who had never heard of a dude ranch. The question was, “is a “dude ranch” just for men or can anyone come?” I have to admit, I laughed a little when I first heard the question. After more thought, I am surprised that given the modern use of the word “dude,” I don’t get this question more often. The urban dictionary defines “dude” as “A word that Americans use to address each other. Particularly stoners, surfers and skaters.” Merriam Webster dictionary, when asked to define the term for kids, defines dude as a “man or guy.” In a November 2013 article, in The Atlantic titled, “A Brief History of Dude”, J.J. Gould describes this modern use of “dude” further: “The contemporary use of dude developed in the Pacific Coast surfing culture of the early 1960s, it entered mainstream popular culture... Read More

First Impressions of the Sylvan Dale and Vee Bar Dude Ranches

 
This past Tuesday I had the pleasure of going to Sylvan Dale Ranch and Vee Bar Ranch.  At the Dude Ranchers' Association there are a number of reasons to visit a ranch, including an inspection that is done every five years and to return a display from the Dude Ranchers' Museum. This was also an opportunity to get to know the ranches on a personal level. Sylvan Dale Ranch Visit I arrived at Sylvan Dale in the early afternoon and was pleasantly surprised at how well the ranch is situated off the road in it's own valley. The more of the ranch I observed the more I realized it was a side door to the mountains, to 3,600 owned acres of ranch lands and many times that in public lands. Susan Jessup, the owner of Sylvan Dale, greeted me personally at the ranch and shared some of her fondest memories growing up at... Read More

Lone Mountain Ranch Hosts Family with the Jack & Jill Foundation

 
"The best part of memories is making them" - Jon Albert, Founder of the Jack & Jill Foundation The Dude Ranchers' Association and the Jack and Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation shares a partnership, connecting families to ranches across the West. Please take a look at the video below to see how a ranch vacation at Lone Mountain Ranch was a great way to spend final moments with loved ones. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnA01aFJi68 If you would like to know more about the Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation and how you can get involved, please contact Jon Albert at jalbert@jajf.org, 404.537.5253 or Colleen Hodson at colleen@duderanch.org, 307.587.2339   About the Jack & Jill Foundation JAJF has become exceptionally—even profoundly important because of the lives we are ALL truly impacting across the United States. When a parent is diagnosed with late-stage cancer, a family’s world is immediately turned upside down. Our supporters appreciate these children... Read More

Dude Ranchers' Association Kicks Off 90th Anniversary Celebration with Annual Convention in Cody

 
More than 60 member ranches from across the Western United States and Canada, are expected to ride into Cody, Wyo., to attend the 90th anniversary of the Dude Ranchers' Association.  The DRA was founded in Cody in 1926 and has since grown to more than 100 members. The Convention will kick off a yearlong celebration of the DRA’s 90th anniversary. Guest and dude ranches have played a significant role in Wyoming’s history for more than 100 years. High demand for a nostalgic frontier experience offered first at Wyoming ranches, and then other ranches throughout the region, led to the founding of the DRA in Cody. Attendees at this year’s Convention will exchange ideas about how to continue exceeding the highest standards within the dude ranching industry and promote the Western ranch vacation. Seminars will discuss topics related to the various aspects of the dude ranching and hospitality industries, such as new vendor... Read More

Celebrating 90 Years of Preserving, Protecting and Promoting the Western Way of Life

 
Created in 1926, the National Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) was founded to preserve, protect and promote the unique experience and identity of a dude ranch vacation. And 90 years later, the association has stayed true to its mission – while also evolving to offer guests the ultimate, all-inclusive Western vacation experience. While its core values and emphasis on horsemanship have remained the same, the DRA has continued to strengthen its presence and purpose each year through promoting new member experiences and innovative ideas within the industry. Nearly a century ago, the DRA was created as the official governing body of the West’s dude ranch industry. In September of 1926, the first official DRA meeting was held and attended by 32 ranchers, railroad and national park officials. During the two-day meeting, attendees discussed initial objectives, including standardizing dude ranch practices, transportation and proper care of guests. 2016 officially marks 90 years of... Read More

The White Grass Ranch Lives On

 
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... Read More

Horses, Hats, Hospitality, Heritage, Honesty & Heart

 
Dude ranches are the original Western vacation.  Our first ranchers introduced the unique beauty of the American West to “dudes” from all over.  All this happened in the best way possible: from the back of a horse.  This horseback adventure was surrounded by honest and real Western hospitality that these dude ranch pioneers considered a part of the code of the west. The Dude Ranchers’ Association was founded to preserve, protect, and promote their unique vacation experience and its identity.  Though guest expectations have changed and ranchers have had to change with them, the core principles of dude ranching remain the same. The following six words beginning with H represent the ideas that summarize those principles.  The notes clarify how these principles apply to any ranch that is a member or seeks to become a member of the DRA. A wrangler and his horses at the 7d Ranch Horses Horses are central... Read More

Ranch Accreditation

 
The Trade Association Promoting Dude Ranches Why should prospective dude ranch vacationers give priority consideration to ranches accredited by the Dude Ranchers Association (DRA)? The answers are in the education and training for higher levels of hospitality, and higher standards of safety that are afforded to association members. DRA members have access to training and professional growth courses available through the association. The Dude Ranch Association offers a key path to gain ongoing training of ranch members who constantly improve their levels of service. Secondly, entrance into the association itself requires that applicant ranches are inspected and verified as meeting and maintaining DRA standards of excellence. An independent governing body has placed a stamp of approval on all ranches accepted into membership. Dude Rancher Association Members Operate At Verified High Standards When you select a DRA member dude ranch, you be assured that the ranch is operating at the highest levels of... Read More

The Dude Ranchers’ 89th Annual Convention

 
We are excited to announce that its 89th annual convention will be held January 21-25, 2015 in Tucson, Az. at Tanque Verde Ranch, one of the association's accredited member ranches. More than 60 member ranches, as well as many associate members and vendors, are expected to attend this year’s event to exchange ideas about how to continue exceeding the highest standards within the dude ranching industry, promoting the Western ranch vacation and preserving parks, forests and wildlife.   Dude Ranch History The Dude Ranchers' Association was created in 1926, as the official governing body of the West's Dude Ranch industry. It was founded to preserve, protect and promote the unique experience and identity of a dude ranch vacation: the original all-inclusive vacation destination. The association is currently made up of 102 guest ranch members, all of which have passed the rigorous two-year inspection and approval process and are current members. Members represent a... Read More

Hollywood Meets the Wild West

 
Forget Hollywood: many dude ranches have had Hollywood come to them to film some of the most notable classic Western movies ever to hit the big screen over the years.  Take for example, White Stallion Ranch. This family-owned 3,000-acre dude ranch located outside of Tucson, Ariz., has been attracting Hollywood filmmakers to its unspoiled desert and rugged mountain landscape for more than 70 years. Notable Western movies filmed on-site include the 1939 legendary film, “Arizona,” as well as “Winchester 73,” “Apache Ambush” and “Backlash.” And the list doesn’t stop at just Western films. Scenes from “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” starring George Clooney were filmed on the ranch. The 2007 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue even used this desert setting for its hugely popular annual photo shoot!  Another guest ranch known for its movie history is Circle Z Ranch. Also located in Arizona, Circle Z Ranch is the oldest continuously operating guest... Read More

5 Ways the DRA Facilitates Your Travel Planning Experience

 
We are often asked how The Dude Ranchers Association can help the potential guest with the planning stages of their dude ranch vacation. Below are 5 real ways that either the DRA web site or the DRA office can help in your search. Please feel free to give us a call if you have any questions or need any help. Customized Searchability The DRA’s advanced search capabilities eliminate the stress of having to research and compare hundreds of ranches individually. With the click of a button, you’re able to refine your search by selecting the activities and amenities on your vacation wish list. Or, if you’re looking for a ranch in a specific geographic area, you can narrow your search by state/province, or even proximity to National Parks.   One-on-One Guidance Personalized help is important to the DRA both on and off the ranch. If you’re still stumped as to which ranch... Read More

Dude Ranches Pioneer Educational Travel

 
The Travel Effect Campaign reports that adults who took educational trips as kids are 12 percent more likely to graduate from college and earn more than those who didn’t. Statistics  have more parents searching for family vacation options that make learning fun. Filled with experiences rooted in local culture and history, two items that 77 percent of respondents in the Travel Effect Campaign cited as having a lasting impact, we are dedicated to preserving and promoting the genuine western way of life. By offering kids the ability to experience this way of life, dude ranches are helping future generations appreciate nature, wildlife and Western culture. A dude ranch vacation offers a variety of programming for kids of all ages, with daily schedules that are so engaging kids won’t realize they’re learning along the way. Kids programs and activities, many of which are overseen by dedicated wranglers and staff members, are designed... Read More

The Dude Ranchers' Association

 
When the stress and strain of modern life frays your nerves too thin, it's time to start dreaming up your next vacation. It's time to dream big - as big as the spacious skies, wide-open plains, and mountain spires of the rural West. Leave it all behind - traffic snarls, cell phones, laptops - and come live a big dream way out in the heart of nature in the welcoming comfort of an authentic Western dude ranch. Ever since the late 1800's, real working ranches have been opening their doors to friends and families and showing them what Western hospitality is all about. These ranches originated the concept of the dude ranch with lodging, dining, and guided trips into the surrounding countryside, all rolled into one vacation package. Modern dude ranches range from historic working ranches to upscale resort ranches affording hot tubs on private decks, gourmet dining by candlelight,... Read More

The Western Dude Ranch Rejuvinates & Boosts Health of Each Guest

 
According to experts, taking a vacation is good for you health. Despite this fact, Americans and Canadians tend to shortchange their vacation time, often leaving earned time on the table or taking a day here and a day there instead of a week or more at one stretch. Since 1926 The Dude Ranchers' Association has shaped and established the highest quality standards in the guest ranch industry. A DRA (as it's known) guest ranch is the epitome of a Western holiday and providing both the time and environment to foster good health.  Surrounded by spectacular beauty, far from the noise and crowds of fast-paced cities, serenity comes easy to each guest. According to the career website, Workopolis, "Psychologists say that it takes five to seven days to de-stress from work, so doing it piecemeal can be counter productive. Most of the studies show people need about two weeks in one... Read More

More than 200 Attendees from 56 Ranches to Ride into Town for Annual Convention

 
The Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) is excited to announce that its 88th annual convention will take place on January 22-25, 2014 at The Bahia Hotel in San Diego. Attendees, consisting of top dude and guest ranch owners and operators from across North America, will trade their cowboy boots for flips flops as they head to sunny California, a twist for the convention as previous events have been held at DRA-accredited member ranches.     The four-day conference will feature numerous seminars related to the various aspects of the dude ranching and hospitality industries such as new vendor introductions, fodder education, marketing updates and initiatives, horse safety seminars, moral workshops and “Dude Ranching 101.” There will be a series of roundtables moderated by subject matter experts in the areas of blogger outreach, public relations and website marketing. The annual action for the Dude Ranchers’ Educational Trust will also take place at... Read More

At the Heart of every Dude Ranch Vacation is the Horse

 
 At the heart of every Dude Ranch vacation is the horse. However, novices need not be overwhelmed with visions of straight backs, dress coats and bouncing up and down on tiny saddles, the whole ethos of Western riding is based on comfort and control. Those old time cowboys would be on the go all day and Western saddles reflect this being higher in the back, with pommels in the front and wide long stirrups. The horses are also schooled to stop, go and turn with the minimum of effort which basically means you do not need to be an Olympic standard equestrian to enjoy this style of vacation. Equally, those with riding experience are more than well catered for as one guest explains, ‘having horses of my own and riding on regular basis for the past 30 years I thought I would find the riding a little regimented and more geared... Read More

Hunger Games Adventures at Dude Ranches

 
 Countless fans will flock to movie theaters across the country starting tomorrow to cheer on Katniss and her admirable and enviable archery skills as biggest movie of the fall, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,  opens nationwide. And while some fans might not know of the outcome of the epic Quarter Quell yet, one thing is certain: the second installment is sure to leave fans across the country wanting more.  Experience a bit of the “Hunger Games” yourself (minus the gut-wrenching battles) by visiting a dude ranch to try your hand at archery, along with many other Hunger Game-inspired skills such as fishing, zip lining, skeet shooting and navigating the wilderness.  With 95 ranches in North America (two in Canada), we are positive that there is a ranch that will fit all your needs.  Below is a sampling of ranches perfect for those in search of a Hunger Games-inspired experience.  Red Horse Mountain Ranch,... Read More

American Adventure Month

 
As we are in the midst of American Adventure Month, a month-long celebration to honor vacationing in the Americas, I wanted to share with you the original all-American, all-inclusive destination where adventure and outdoor enthusiasts can both challenge and revive their body, spirit and mind in breathtaking off-the-beaten path locales in the country: the dude ranch. At a dude ranch, guests can enjoy fly fishing, white water rafting, hiking, rock climbing, golf, cattle roundups, ATV trips, water sports, horseback riding and much more. A dude ranch vacation is perfect for much needed time away. From valleys complete with untouched Rocky Mountain backdrops to desert sunsets across the Southwest, you’re sure to experience an unforgettable getaway. The Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) represents a broad spectrum of 100 guest ranches across the U.S., ranging from rustic, no-frills working ranches to luxury resort-style ranches. Experience the ultimate American adventure by visiting a DRA-accredited ranch. The... Read More

Dudes Flock to Guest Ranches

 
The Santa Barbara Independent By Barney Brantingham The Old West still lives at dude ranches sprinkled through the saguaro-studded deserts of Arizona. Actually, they’re known as “guest ranches” these days and are magnets for Europeans who hanker for a dusty taste of the cowboy life, strong cowboy coffee, and getting astride a horse. I found tourists from England, Ireland, Germany, Scandinavia, and thereabouts on a recent visit to horse country at the White Stallion Ranch and Tanque Verde Ranch, both near Tucson. The High Chaparral TV series (1967-1971) is still being shown in Europe, spurring interest to see the country where it was filmed. “I’m not disappointed,” said Ann Reid of Stratford-on-Avon, daintily digging into scrambled eggs while on a breakfast ride at the White Stallion. (READ MORE) ... Read More

Three Ranches - Book Review

 
Life on a ranch can be lonely, hard, breathtakingly beautiful, often ironic, and sometimes downright hilarious. Welcome to one family’s three ranches. From the Jacket Cover: "How, in this day and age in the United States, do you run a successful guest ranch, manage thousands of acres of land for livestock and wildlife, and raise top quality beef cattle? This is the story of three Western ranches, two in southern Wyoming and in northern Colorado. They have been owned since the 1960s by the extended family of Charles C. Gates Sr. One is a guest ranch; the other two are working cattle operations. All three confront a daily challenge to survive and thrive." By Will and Deni McIntyre, with an introduction by ranch managers Lissa Howe, Justin Howe, and Mark Dunning. Will and Deni McIntyre have photographed at the A Bar A guest ranch almost every year since 2002. For... Read More

Ride the Outlaw Trails of Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid!

 
Whether on horseback or hiking you will enjoy some of the most beautiful, untouched country in America here at Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch. Ride the outlaw trails of Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and visit Native ruins where the Mimbres people of 750-1150 AD, and later Geronimo and the Apaches once roamed. Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch is a small ranch with a relaxed and personal atmosphere, located in the mountains in the beautiful Gila National Forest of SW New Mexico. Horseback riding here takes you through open meadows, tall ponderosa forests, up on high hills where the views go on forever across the 3.3 million acre National Forest, and down into deep canyons with sheer cliffs and crystal clear streams. We have wonderful gentle and responsive horses good for any ability to see it all by. The trails start at our backdoor and we have millions... Read More

Summary of Dude Ranching’s Core Principles

 
Dude ranches are the original Western vacation.  Our first ranchers introduced the unique beauty of the American West to “dudes” from all over.  All this happened in the best way possible: from the back of a horse.  This horseback adventure was surrounded by honest and real Western hospitality that these dude ranch pioneers considered a part of the code of the west. The Dude Ranchers’ Association was founded to preserve, protect, and promote their unique vacation experience and its identity.  Though guest expectations have changed and ranchers have had to change with them, the core principles of dude ranching remain the same. The following six words beginning with H represent the ideas that summarize those principles.  The notes clarify how these principles apply to any ranch that is a member or seeks to become a member of the DRA. Horses Horses are central to any dude ranch experience. There must be adequate stock,... Read More

Dude Ranches CAN Make a Difference!

 
We recently received a letter, here at The Dude Ranchers' Association office, from a family expressing thanks for the wonderful trip they had received as a gift from Colorado Trails Ranch and The Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation.  The Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation is a national resource providing WOW! Experiences for children and families who have a Mom or Dad with late stage, limited life expectancy cancer. The Foundation was inspired by Jill and Jon Albert’s real life story. With years of executive experience in the corporate world, Jon found himself, his wife, Jill, and their two young children, Jake and Jamie, facing Jill’s Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Jill and Jon realized early on in Jill’s fight the disease was not just attacking her body, but it was affecting their entire family. Jon took his marketing and operations expertise and combined it with their... Read More
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