The Board of Directors for the Dude Ranchers' Association, represent over 95 of the best dude and guest ranches that provide Western-oriented vacations across the Western United States and Canada.
Current DRA Board of Directors
David Van Berkum Rainbow Trout Ranch, Colorado
I am from Iowa but I have been involved with dude ranches since 1988, when I was fortunate enough to get hired on at the 63 Ranch. After five tremendous years there, and the dude ranch bug firmly planted, my family bought the RTR in southern Colorado. I am very blessed to be able to work with my parents, Doug and Linda. I am married to a very shy woman, Jane, and we have three great children: Mary-Anne is 12, Caroline is 10 and Derek (aka Snuff) is 8. I look forward to representing the DRA as a delegate from CO. Jane and I are also the representatives for the DRA-AQHA Alliance. We raise and train our own quarter horses and we love to team rope.
After climbing the corporate ladder and having a successful career in the business world, at age forty-three I was burned up. It was definitely time for a change and time to look for a more satisfying and rewarding lifestyle. I was always interested and fascinated with the west, and after visiting several dude ranches both Cheri and I decided that the multi-dimensional aspects of “dude ranching” offered the lifestyle and environment we both wanted and were looking for. In 1995, we purchased the Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch in Colorado. That year required giving up a successful career, selling all our worldly possessions, cashing in all our retirement investments and leaving the area I was born and raised in. While we had no background in ranching, we were able to apply our previous skills and experiences to build up our dude ranch operation. Twenty-some years later I can honestly say I never looked back nor had an ounce of regret. I consider it an honor and privilege to serve on this board and to participate in supporting and promoting the business of “dude ranching.”
Janice was born and raised on the ranch that guests know as Western Pleasure Guest Ranch. Her family roots have grown pretty deep in the Gold Creek Valley, with six generations from her mother’s side and five generations from her father’s side calling the Gold Creek Valley their homes.
Janice married her high school sweetheart, Roley Schoonover, in 1982. After a few years away for college, the couple returned to Northern Idaho and added guest ranching to the family ranch in 1991. Their two children Danielle and Isaac grew up on the guest ranch. Both have married and live and work at the ranch, along with two grandchildren Emily and Gabe.
District I: Wyoming
Hunter has extensive ranch and outdoor experience and a passion for ranch life. Before finding his niche at the CM Ranch Hunter spent 8 years at the Spotted Horse Ranch south of Jackson, where he served as Ranch Operations Manager. He also has broad backcountry and fly-fishing experience. Hunter, Mollie, their 10-year-old son Luke and 3-year-old daughter Nora are beginning their eighth year as CM Managers. Their love of the CM grows with every passing season and they continue to carry on the rich traditions that the CM is well known for, with a few added touches of their own.
District I: Wyoming
Bill was born in Sheridan, Wyoming, in 1950, a fourth generation member of the Eaton family who pioneered and maintained ownership and management of Eatons’ Ranch. Bill came home to Wolf to join his family and even in the early years of his life was a presence on the ranch. By the time he was fourteen, his help in the summers for the dude season was considered critical and he was a full-time employee. His livestock expertise with both horses and cattle grew with the tutelage of his father, Tom, and his grandfather, Bill. For a short time in his young adult years, he worked with thoroughbred racehorses with a trainer in Colorado adding another dimension to his experience.
Bill was educated in the country school at Wolf for his first eight years and then continued at Sheridan High School. He attended Sheridan College for a time. Working and living on the ranch for his entire life has given him the greatest portion of his education in managing and operating a multifaceted ranching operation. Bill manages the livestock and corral, puts up the ranch hay with the help of his son and nephews, and serves on the corporate board of the ranch. Involvement in various organizations such as rodeo has given him community experience. His service on the DRA board and as president continues the tradition begun by his father.
Presently, Bill and his wife, Karen, live on the ranch. They are the parents of two children, Will and Amanda, both having work experience at the ranch. Will, a teacher at a local school, works summers and weekends at the ranch. Amanda is married and lives in Cheyenne where she is an attorney, as is her husband, Luke.
District II, Montana
I was born on a cattle ranch in central Montana and had a great childhood working with cattle, training horses, cooking, and taking friends riding. I was very involved with 4-H and High School Rodeo. I married Zack, graduated from Montana State University, raised six wonderful kids, and was part of our Construction Company. When Zack’s dad died we bought his families’ ranch near Wolf Creek, MT, moved there, built our house, and tried to make our living ranching and being a general contractor. Zack got tired of the construction business. We brainstormed about our options and how to make the ranch pay. Zack commented that “Everyone who visits here gets out of their vehicle, takes a deep sigh, and says how pretty it is. How do we make money out of pretty?”
We had never visited a dude ranch but we knew how to build and take people riding. It is a great life having people come from all over the world and enjoy our horsemanship, horses, riding, and family. It has gotten better every year. Five of our children are now married and we have 15 grandchildren! The 2 youngest daughters and one spouse - Anna, Maria, and Ben - are on the ranch. Our other children and their families are all great help when needed. It is a great honor to be on the DRA Board. Starting from scratch, it is very valuable to have the expertise and promotion as part of this association.
District II, Montana
Born and raised on the Nine Quarter Circle Ranch just outside Yellowstone National Park, dude ranching holds a special meaning to me. I spent my childhood learning the art of horsemanship and hospitality. It was when I moved away to college, studying Agricultural Science at Cal Poly, that I also realized how important it is to preserve western heritage. Once I finished school and earned my pilot’s license, I knew that dude ranching and the Nine Quarter Circle was where I wanted to spend my days. So, in 2012, I returned the ranch and Now I am in the Process of taking over the reins from my father. It is my hope to continue the legacy that my father and grandfather have carried for over 75 years.
District III, Colorado
I loved growing up in Louisiana where there was an emphasis on faith, family and friends and where food and fun were a huge part of the culture. The only thing missing was horses, so after I graduated college, I headed west to join the staff of Elk Canyon Dude Ranch in Montana. It was there that I found my calling and took a bit of the Cajun culture West! In 1998, I got my dream job and began working at Wind River Christian Dude Ranch. It was in 2002, that a guest at WRR introduced me to my future bride, Sara McIntyre. With a great 15 years of marriage now under my belt and the blessing of two buckaroos, Lena and Cason, I feel incredibly blessed that we get to serve in dude ranching as a family. I am also honored to get the opportunity to serve on the DRA board and represent the DRA members and staff. I will strive to help the dude ranching industry continue to carry on its traditions... to impact lives and bless guest and staff with cherished memories.
District III, Colorado
I was born in Loveland, Colorado and raised on a Pig Farm and Cattle Ranch. My love for Farming and Ranching started early with my Dad and Grandpa out in Ault Colorado, and my Uncle Virlon in Loveland. We ran cattle most of my life in Pingree Park Colorado and had a great passion for it. As the economy changed and the land became scares we had to sell out. I started a home inspection company that has been going strong since 2000. That, in turn, was where our life changed when I inspected Rawah Ranch. Soon after we had discussions with the owners and Meg and I became the Managers of the Rawah Ranch. My wife Meg and I love the challenges and the friendships that we make while running the Ranch. Our two sons, Corey 25 and his wife Caroline live in New York City, and our other son Austin, 21, plays Basketball for Cornell College. Meg and I have been managing the Rawah Ranch for 3 years now. We are excited about the opportunity we have in meeting so many new people and bringing our guests to love the Ranching lifestyle as much as we do. Our Employees are a part of our family, and once you have been to Rawah Ranch you are also part of that same family.
District IV, The Rest of the West
I was born and raised on the White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. I am part of the third generation of my family to live and work at the White Stallion. As a result, a love of Dude Ranching was instilled in me at an early age. I spent my childhood growing up on the ranch, causing mischief and making friends with all the visiting children.
After graduating from the Cornell School of Hotel Administration in 2011, I worked at a ranch in Montana to gain valuable outside experience. I returned to the White Stallion in 2013, met my wife, and I'm happy to be back working with my family. I cherish the opportunity to make people's dream vacations come true and I'm excited to help the Dude Ranchers' Association in promoting our industry.
District IV, The Rest of the West
I am the fifth generation to be born and work on the Hunewill Ranch in Bridgeport, California. Bridgeport is located in the Eastern Sierra, on the Nevada border and the eastern border of Yosemite. Our family ranches both in Bridgeport where we have a guest ranch and a working cattle operation. Our winter ranch is in Smith Valley, Nevada and in addition, we run cattle in Mineral County and the East Walker, Nevada on permits. Our guest ranch was started by my grandmother during the Great Depression when cattle prices were three cents a pound and they couldn’t pay the taxes on the Bridgeport Ranch. We are a big family and most of us still work together to manage and run the many components of our business.
I married Bart Paul, a novelist, in 2013. I have three children: Dalton, Rhiannon, and Aspen Hunewill Wright. My son, Dalton, graduated from college and is married to elementary teacher, Ashley, and works on the ranch. Rhiannon is in college (University of Nevada, Reno – Ag Science) and Aspen is in high school. Both of my daughters and my daughter-in-law work as wranglers on our guest ranch.
I taught high school English for 12 years while working on our guest ranch in the summers. Then in 2004, I went to work full time for our business. I feel fortunate to be able to work with my family and share our ranching traditions with our guests. I am honored to have been chosen to represent “The Rest of the West and Canada” on the DRA Board.
Rita Cote Tanque Verde Ranch, AZ
When I started at Tanque Verde about 19 years ago, I felt I had found my calling. I left the corporate world behind (7 years with Marriott) and found the world of Dude Ranching. Along the way, Bob and I fell in love and married. What pleasure and joy I have found over the years with running the ranch, helping raise Bob's four children and experiencing wonderful memories with our employees and guests. I am blessed.
The dude ranch industry has been a large part of my life for many years, my whole life really. Having the opportunity to be raised and work on a DRA dude ranch instilled in me a great love and appreciation for dude ranching, preserving Western heritage and protecting this way of life we are fortunate enough to be a part of. I love this industry, everything that it stands for and the people that are involved. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.