The “Modern” Dude Ranch Experience
As they developed, guest ranching has developed some certain common characteristics.
- The ranch is the year-round home of the owner, where the visitor is considered a guest of the family.
- The ranch is located in the western states or provinces, in a location remote from crowded areas, with the sights and pleasures of the west
- The ranch offers food, rustic lodging, and horseback riding, most often packaged at one price (i.e., the American Plan), with reservations required.
- The main activities of the ranch are riding, hiking, sightseeing, and simple relaxation; some, usually in the north, still offer hunting and fishing.
- The key ingredient of the ranch is its atmosphere, informal in manners and dress, a genuine hospitality, with guests known on a first name basis.
The Dude Ranch Experience Compared to the large Theme Park, Amusement Park or Cruise
Modern dude ranches provide a quiet alternative to the theme or amusement park. Learn about working at a theme park, including Disney careers, in another section of JobMonkey.
Imagine a vacation experience where:
- There are no crowds
- There are no lines – We never make our guests wait! Never!
- The rides are on real, live, not plastic animals
- Guests don’t need to pull out their wallets to pay for something every few hours
- Guests are not surprised by unexpected hidden expenses
- Guests are thought of as “friends of the family.”
- The view is not acres of asphalt and concrete parking lots, and thousands of people standing in those ever-snaking lines, but unbelievably beautiful vistas of snow covered mountain peaks, horses running in pasture, the goats playing behind the lodge
- Cowboys and Cowgirls are real people not fake fiberglass heads
- Instead of sitting passively and having things done to them, guests actually participate and interact – we used to call this “play”
- Imagine having fun and getting dirty, really dirty, and tired – this applies to both guests and staff!
- Guests eat healthy food – nothing deep fried or “supersized”
- Kids are safe – an atmosphere where mom can turn her back for a few minutes (or a few hours!) – and not worry about her kids’ safety.