At least a few times a year, someone will visit us for the first time and remark: “this is such a wonderful place. I wish I could buy a ranch and enjoy this lifestyle every day.”
Obviously, most of the people who make these kinds of comments are simply daydreaming. But, a few actually do decide to pursue their dream of owning and operating a Colorado dude ranch. When they are successful, they’ll tell you it’s a decision that has opened up new doors while at the same time redefining “good ole fashioned hard work”. Who doesn’t want to meet new people, work with horses, and live under the wide open Western sky?
You might be wondering whether you have what it takes to be a dude rancher. It’s not a position that comes with a list of set qualifications – you won’t have to show a resume that says you are familiar with a certain piece of software, for instance. However, we have learned over the years that the happiest and most successful ranchers have a few things in common…
For the most part, our most successful ranchers enjoy meeting new people from interesting places. For
all the joy they get from being around the mountains, grasslands, and scenery, they also get a big kick out of forming new friendships and interacting with families from around the world. Most of our ranchers have guests they see year after year, and they really look forward to those visits. It’s all too common that long time guests become great lifelong friends.
Some of our ranch owners will tell you they grew up around horses. Others got acquainted with them later in life, but could swear they made an instant connection right away. Either way, it helps if you can learn basic equine care, as well as develop a knack for spotting horses with the best temperament. Rest assured, though, that even if you don’t have a background with farm animals this is one of the easiest and most rewarding parts of the job.
Most great ranchers either love to cook or have someone in their family who does. This is partly because serving great meals to guests is an important part of the job, but also because working on and around the ranch can help you to build up a big appetite! Besides, food and wine just tastes better when you’re surrounded by friendly people in gorgeous scenery and have put in a full days work on the ranch.
This is probably true in any vacation-oriented field, but customer service is especially important when it comes to operating a dude ranch. That’s because your guests aren’t simply business travelers who are stopping in for the night – they are couples, families, and solo travelers who are coming to a lodge or cabin for multiple days or weeks at a time. If you have a knack for making them feel welcome and at-home, they’ll rave about your ranch to all of their friends and and return year after year.
This might not be a requirement, but we have noticed over the years that many of our ranchers have a flair for theatrics. They can bring an old piece of cowboy poetry alive, or entertain a small crowd with the kind of jokes and over-the-top story telling that are so common amongst ranchers. If you like to make people laugh and throw a few tall tales around, you’ll be right at home with us.
If you think you fit most or all of the criteria above, then you might just be cut out for the dude ranch lifestyle. Why not contact us to learn a little more about investing in a ranch of your own? You have nothing to lose by asking a few questions, and it could turn out to be a conversation that changes the course of your life for the better.