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Dude Ranch Jobs

Working at a dude ranch can be one of the most incredible experiences you ever have, leaving you with memories and friends that will last your entire life.

When interviewing returning dude ranch staff, the same four themes came up again and again. You will find these four themes throughout these articles to describe this industry:

  • High standards, hard work & long hours
  • Family friendly fun & adventures
  • New friends from other places
  • "Can-do" attitude required - flexibility & good humor

The dude ranch lifestyle is not for everyone.

Yes, we do have a great deal of fun, and we have amazing adventures sometimes and we meet people from around the world, but we also work very hard.

There are long hours of work, we are far from home and our families and friends, we have very little privacy, and we give up some of the luxuries of the modern world.

This first section was written to help you decide if this lifestyle and culture "fits" you. The second section was written to help you get a job in the industry. A quick note: If working at a dude ranch sounds interesting then also consider summer camp counselor jobs, which provide a similar experience.

As you read through this material, ask yourself honestly: Does this lifestyle fit me? Does this feel right? If the answers are yes, then read through again, and determine which kinds of ranches would fit you best. Finally, once you have determined the kind of ranch that fits you best, read through this material a third time, and this time write down questions that you can use to impress those who give you an interview! For those seeking rewarding seasonal employment these jobs are hard to beat - so go for it.

What is a Dude?

The meaning of the word "dude" has changed over the years. In the 1870s Yellowstone Park rangers created the word to refer to any visitor from the east. By the 1880s the term "dude" meant anyone who was not a resident of the Rocky Mountains, referring equally to travelers, tourists, and new residents. By the 1920s the term was more specifically to anyone who hires a guide, or pays money to stay on a ranch. Modern "surfer" connotations of the word are unfortunate.