The Board of Directors for the Dude Ranchers' Association, represent over 90 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 22, Caroline is 20 and Derek (aka Snuff) is 18. 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 three grandchildren Emily, Gabe and Zeke.
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 11-year-old son Luke and 4-year-old daughter Nora are beginning their 11th 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 a past president continues the tradition begun by his father.
Presently, Bill lives 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
My husband, Dickey, brought our family of 6 to Cherokee Park Ranch in 1992 for a dude ranch vacation. Little did I know that that vacation would change the course of my entire life. Our 4 children were 5, 5, 7, and 9 years old and had the time of their lives. They cried all the way back to Tennessee. After 5 years of searching for a ranch of our own, we were blessed to be able to purchase Cherokee Park Ranch from Jim & Mary Dale Gordon and B & Eli Elfland. It was a dream come true for my husband. Since my background was in Nursing and caring for our 4 children...dude ranching was really NOT on my radar. We moved to the ranch in 1996 and my husband commuted for 3 years from TN. Needless to say, by the time he arrived, the ranch was my 5th child. It has been my passion to welcome people from all over the planet to our ranch and show them things that they have only seen on television or fantasized about. I feel like my entire life prior to ranching was preparing me for this job. In fact, I once asked Dickey if he could DO anything in the world without any limitations WHAT he would do? His answer came in seconds, "I'd be a professional baseball player! What could be better than doing what you LOVE and getting paid to do so!" THAT is exactly what I get to do everyday...something I love and every once in a while get paid to do so! It is a privilege to represent Colorado and serve on the DRA board with so many outstanding leaders in this industry.
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 an 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.
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.