Keeping a Good Attitude On the Job

When new staff arrive, the owner may ask them “What kind of business is this?” The best answer one owner ever heard was: “This is theater.” Guests come here looking to escape their work lives, and to live the fantasy of being a cowboy or a cowgirl for a few days. For just a few days, this is the old west. Both guests and staff wear cowboy hats, denim, boots and walk through the horse apples wearing cowboy boots.

Maybe part of the allure and attraction is working with animals such as horses and cattle.

Staff do not wear baseball caps, t-shirts or shorts on the property. Baggy, bell-bottomed, tattered or torn jeans are not part of our culture.

The dude ranch “product” is memories. There are two objectives to keep in mind: a delighted guest who has had a safe but adventurous vacation week.

A wise person once said: “Attitude is everything!” This is certainly very true in the dude ranch business. If you found yourself excited when you read the staff interviews, this may be a very good lifestyle fit for you. If, on the other hand you are put off by anything that you read, then look elsewhere, as you will not last the season, and will find yourself home, looking for a job in the middle of the summer.

Ranch safety standards require wrangler applicants to send a videotape for purposes of evaluating riding and teaching skills. The ranch owner may also evaluate an applicant’s joke telling skills (a critical component of many ranch jobs). Once an owner received a video from a young lady who was an excellent horsewoman. At the point in the script where the owner expected to hear her joke, she informed them that she did not tell jokes. The applicant was immediately sent an email wishing her well wherever she found employment, because she certainly wouldn’t fit in at this ranch! Maybe that person would be better off looking through a list of government jobs! (Nothing wrong with that either)

If you enjoy variety in your work day, you will certainly find it on a dude ranch! You could be making breakfast one minute and organizing a hike the next!

Most ranches can work around all kinds of employee needs, if the applicant has the right attitude. When one wrangler broke his arm and could not ride (i.e., perform his job duties) a new title was created: official ranch “one-armed-whatever.”


Sign up for our newsletter!