Ranch Vacation for your Rodeo loving, Barrel Racing Children

Your children have gone absolutely horse crazy and all you hear about is horseback riding camps and more riding lessons. So, how can you compromise on a family vacation and have lots of horsing around and barrel racing for your children and moderate amounts of all types of adventure recreation for the rest of your family? Well, a barrel racing ranch vacation of course! For your barrel racing enthusiasts there will be some type of barrel racing throughout the week with authentic cowgirl staff. You might have the arena set up to "turn and burn" with some ladies (and gentleman) who have competed in the barrel racing world.

You might dabble in all the experiences offered on horseback - some riding at different speeds, some team penning, some specialty rides, etc. You might take a all day picnic ride with the whole family where your interests in photography will have beautiful high mountain scenery to capture. If that may be a little too much time in the saddle you might all take the afternoon to go white water rafting, a guided naturalist hike or a drive through a National Park. Whew, that's a lot of fun together, but what about for mom and dad? For mom, she might sneak away for an afternoon massage while dad learns to fly fish and the kids are off with the horses and kid wranglers. That night during a fine dinner with a nice wine list you won't find a lull in the conversation about the stories of the day. After dinner you might turn in, or maybe catch your second wind and head down to the lawn for a camp fire, western dancing or into the saloon for a game night.

Tumbling River Kids Barrells

Arena Activities at the Tumbling River Ranch, Colorado

 

Barrel Racing Ranch Vacations

Paradise Guest Ranch Paradise Ranch has a way of reconnecting kids with animals and the outdoors. An award winning kids program exposes children to the natural world but it also offers parents a chance to enjoy their own pursuits or spend time with their children. Arts and crafts, pony rides, talent show, kid's fishing derby, kid's rodeo and even overnight pack trips are just some kid's activities offered through the program.  The Kid's Rodeo is a special afternoon in which all the young cowgirls and cowboys participate in a ranch rodeo with barrel racing hosted by none other than your very own wranglers. With clowns, audience games, and exhilarating wrangler competitions. 

CM Ranch The CM is a family friendly environment with a welcoming atmosphere and a unique charm. The expansive ranch lands are contiguous with the Shoshone National Forest and Fitzpatrick Wilderness, which allow for almost endless private riding and fishing in country of great variety and beauty. During your week stay you can ride, fish, hike, swim, picnic, participate in activities, or relax with your book during the day. Evenings can be spent with others at square dances or cookouts, playing softball, horseshoes or volleyball on the lawn, or ping pong and card games. On Friday, your kids can participate in the ranch rodeo (gymkhana) and head down town for the Dubois rodeo. Guest participation is encouraged.

Cherokee Park Barrel Racing

Barrel Racing at the Cherokee Park Ranch, Colorado

 

Rimrock Ranch Rimrock Ranch is nestled on the banks of Canyon Creek, halfway between Cody and the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The ranch is family owned and operated since 1955. The week is filled with riding, rafting, rodeo, and all day tour of Yellowstone. Heated pool, hot tub, and fishing pond.  Rimrock offers private lessons for your barrel racer and is located 30 minutes from Cody, Wyoming, the “Rodeo Capital of the World.” On Tuesdays all the ranch guests are shuttled to a river float trip and to the rodeo which runs for 90 consecutive days throughout the summer. As a rodeo enthusiasts, your daughter might have you rent a car and go to the rodeo every night of the week. You'll might get the opportunity to watch Gary Fales, the owner of Rimrock Ranch compete in team roping too! 

Sweet Grass Ranch Sweet Grass Ranch is a sixth generation, family-owned and operated working cattle ranch and guest ranch. Watching children have the freedom to run and play under Montana’s Big Sky, is one of the best parts of a Sweet Grass Ranch vacation, where children and grandchildren abound. We don’t have a “formal” separate children’s program, as kids are welcome to participate in all aspects of ranch life.  We are lucky to have several wonderful kids’ horses and offer “pony” rides for the very young and lessons, progressing to gymkhanas, bareback rides and a host of horse-related activities designed to build comfort and confidence. Teens often go on their own rides, swim their horses, and participate with cattle work. Sweet Grass is well set up for kids’ entertainment with a variety of activities,  including soccer, volleyball, softball, paintball, campfires, the natural water slide, pool, cards and board games.

 

 Barrel Racing Ranch Vacation For Your Kids

 

Your children have gone absolutely horse crazy and all you hear about is horseback riding camps and more riding lessons. So, how can you compromise on a family vacation and have lots of horsing around and barrel racing for your children and moderate amounts of all types of adventure recreation for the rest of your family? Well, a barrel racing ranch vacation of course! Take a look at these dude ranches who offer barrel racing for kids.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Never Too Late To Be a Cowgirl

Goosewing-Ranch-Sittin-in-the-LodgeBy Jay Wright

I have spent my adult years raising children and working a full-time rewarding office job. The kids were very active and participated in rodeo events; everything from barrel racing to bull riding. Life was full of driving across the state, spending time with my kids, feeding horses and of course those occasional trips to the emergency room. Such a bonding experience to spend time together getting stitches or a cast!

My tribe grew up, went off to college and became very responsible adults. My job was still good but I was just tired of the same ol’ thing. Fortunately, I had reached the age to retire and had been with the company long enough to be eligible to do so. But after being so busy for many years, what would be rewarding and fun enough to fill my time. I KNOW! Ever since I was a child, I wanted to work at a dude ranch. Now I have reached the point in my life that nothing was going to stop me. Well, except for my age and aching muscles. Who would hire someone my age? Turns out, I actually had a couple of offers. I made a decision and it was definitely the right one. Did I mention most of my friends felt I was in the early stages of dementia.

Goosewing Ranch in Jackson Hole seemed to be the right fit. Two years later, I haven’t regretted the decision to finally be a cowgirl. So I loaded my horse and traveled half way across the United States. It was the beginning of an amazing journey. The road to the ranch provided the most incredible views. Scenery that had only been observed in pictures was now surrounding me. The road was rough so I had to drive slowly, but why would I want to go fast, I might miss something.

Arriving at the ranch, I was greeted by outgoing managers and a friendly group of staff members. I was shown to my room (home away from home) and given the opportunity to settle in to my new surroundings. Every few days more employees would arrive. Such an interesting mix of young people; with a variety of reasons and stories for wanting to work on a ranch in Wyoming. It was like having my kids and family around again. They even picked up on what friends of my children called me, Mama Jay. The employees were from all over the world. Language seemed to be the only barrier between them, which was quickly worked out or overlooked. Communication became easier each day. We all worked together for several weeks to open the ranch and prepare for guest. What would that be like? You form such bonds, with your ranch family, how would it be when strangers arrive! Well, it was great.

Guests were as excited as we were to be in this majestic area. Like the employees, the guests were from all over the world. It was our own United Nations. We shared with them what we had learned about the area, they shared their hopes and expectations from their mountain adventure. Employees brought different skills and were hired for their unique areas of expertise. It was an amazing experience for all of us.

However, let me say my horse Sassy was not quite as enthusiastic about the whole experience as the rest of us. Sassy has never been in a pasture of more than about 10 head of horses. Now she was one of sixty. She was not a happy girl. She was born and raised in the flatlands of the Midwest, climbing some of these mountains was just not as gratifying to her as it was for me. There would be times she would just stop and turn her head as if to say, “are you kidding, you expect me to climb that, WHY”. In her defense, she would do whatever I asked.

In the evenings you could see the excitement in the faces of the guest, as they told you about their day of adventure. The wildlife they had seen, water crossings, climbs to scenic ridges overlooking the Gros Ventre valley. That time was also filled with the eager anticipation of tomorrow. Going on rides, I learned so much from the wranglers. The area is full of history and amazing stories of mountain men, trappers and homesteaders. How their courage and toughness settled this wilderness. For me, as I have gotten older, there is an enthusiasm to learn about this beautiful country and the strong people who forged the trail for me. Meeting new people and listening to their stories, enriches our own lives. This has been an amazing experience, one I’m glad I pushed myself to try. There are no regrets for following my dreams or perhaps marking off items on my bucket list. What an amazing experience, what wonderful forever friends. And when I’m sitting around the old folk’s home, in my jeans and cowboy boots, swapping stories, who will be able to top this one.

# # #

--The Dude Ranchers Association represents over 100 ranches with anywhere from 15 to over 100 of mostly seasonal employees. When a guest stays a full week at a ranch they are able to get to know the crew. This is an insider view of the personalities and experiences they have. There's more where this came from! Stay tuned.--


 

5 Reasons to Visit in the Fall

With the kids back in school, Labor Day behind us and the days getting shorter, it can only mean one thing; fall is quickly approaching and will give you 5 good reasons to visit a dude ranch. Whether you’re looking for fall break travel ideas, a long weekend away without the kids or an extended vacation, a dude ranch is an ideal destination to enjoy the fall.

Circle Z Ranch Visit in the Fall

5 Reasons to Visit a Dude Ranch in the Fall

Steals and Deals: As with many vacation destinations, summer is peak season for dude ranches. However, as the air cools down travelers can take advantage of less crowds and discounted rates. Budget-friendly offers range from a percentage off standard rates to special packages. Colorado Trails Ranch  has a 25 percent discount during the fall. During Circle Z Ranch’s Lone Star Long Weekend guests receive a discount on a four-day/three-night stay.

Adult-Only Weeks: Many dude ranches offer special adult-only weeks in the fall. This gives couples, groups and solo travelers the chance to make memories that will last a lifetime. Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, for example, offers an Adult Horsemanship Week. This is a hands-on approach where guests experience the true pleasure of caring for and learning about these noble animals. Or, guests can enjoy a little pampering here, a little adventure there, and a lot of girl talk (and maybe some wine!) with a girlfriend’s getaway to Red Horse Mountain Ranch.

Cattle Drives: For working ranches, fall means cattle drives. Guests are often invited to join in these adventurous and interactive experiences. Hunewill Ranch will embark on its 105th cattle drive this fall. Guests are welcome to take part in the ultimate Old West experience by riding with the Hunewill family for five days. This trek covers 60 miles from Bridgeport, California to Smith Valley, Nevada. Participants herd 600 cows as they are driven to their winter range.

Fall Foliage: Imagine horseback riding under a canopy of Technicolor fall foliage in glorious reds, bright yellows and vivid oranges. Some of the nation’s most spectacular leaf peeping can only be found when you head off the beaten path. Choose from guest ranches in Arizona or Colorado where fall changes the Aspen leaves. Book a getaway to a dude ranch located near a National Park such as Triangle X Ranch in Grand Teton National Park or Horseshoe Canyon Ranch which borders Buffalo River National Park.

Escape the Cold: People who live up north will be pulling out their jackets in no time.  For those looking to bask in the sun one last time, a long weekend getaway in the Southwest will do the trick. With six ranches to choose from in Arizona and two in New Mexico, travelers are sure to find the right ranch for them to ride off into the (still warm) sunset.

 

Pin this for later!

Fall is quickly approaching and will give you 5 good reasons to visit a dude ranch. Whether you’re looking for fall break travel ideas, a long weekend away without the kids or an extended vacation, a dude ranch is an ideal destination to enjoy the fall.

 

5 Cattle Drives not to Miss

McGarry-Ranches-Cowboy-Team'I should've been a Cowboy

I should've learned to rope and ride

Wearing my six-shooter riding my pony on a cattle drive

Stealing the young girl's hearts

Just like Gene and Roy Singing those campfire songs

I should've been a cowboy'

Well, unlike the song says, you still can be a cowboy. Take your next vacation to another level. Here are 5 cattle drives on a working cattle ranch you are sure to enjoy as an authentic cowboy.

55,000 acres is the amount of land at the McGarry Ranches. That's more than a few miles of fence line to monitor and maintain for 2,000 head of cattle. Here the cattle are organized in units and usually they visit more than one unit a day. Tracking and gathering strays are usual occurrences. Trailing them back is now a part of your job. 1,500 pounds of cow has to be convinced to go where you and your horse want them to. Don't worry, that's why you have a guide and probably his trusty cow dog to help.   

  Or maybe spending all day in the saddle is your thing. Moving cattle from pasture to pasture is just as exciting as it sounds. Can you feel the sense of awe and wonderment in this picture of the Klondike Ranch's guests moving 650 cow/calf pairs to the high pastures of the Big Horn Mountains?     

Since the 1870's Bonanza Creek Ranch hands have roamed the range and worked cattle along the banks of Bonanza Creek. A century later, very little has changed...the only difference is now there is a place set at the table for you. Personal attention is the norm with only 8 - 12 guests per week. The demand to conform to a strict routine simply floats away on the Montana breeze. Hospitality, responsive horses, challenging cattle work, tasty home cooking, and comfortable cabins will make you want to come back year after year. 

  You might be wondering what it was like for Gus and Captain Call in Lonesome Dove when they took several months to move their herd of cattle from Texas to Montana. The Burntwell Guest Ranch offers a three or four night taste of this life. Five to ten hours a day are spent in the saddle. Hot meals are cooked in a Dutch oven over an open fire. You will camp out under the stars in a bedroll like the ones the cowboys used in the olden days.    

Our Association has many ranches that offers that authentic cowboy experience. Some others are Focus, Rowses 1+1, Zapata, Lonesome Spur, Hubbard's Six Quarter Circle.

For a more detailed description of this type of vacation give Leah or Colleen a call at the Dude Ranchers Association. 307.587.2335. Thanks

  You still can be a cowboy. Take your next vacation to another level. Here are 5 cattle drives on a working cattle ranch you are sure to enjoy as an authentic cowboy.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Review our privacy policy for more information.