December 14, 2009

Work on a Dude Ranch Next Summer

I’ve recently become addicted to The Pioneer Woman’s blog (if you don’t know about, it might be time to crawl out from under your rock and take a quick visit. Of course, since I discovered her blog a few months ago, I’m fairly certain I’ve lost countless hours to the time-vortex that is her archives). Aside from her fabulous recipes, what I most love about PW’s blog is all the real-live ranch stuff.

It’s made me seriously want to plan a trip to a dude ranch. Now, I doubt I have it in me to make my life on a ranch, like she does with her four kids and her “Marlboro Man” husband. But a week riding horses and rounding up cattle does sound pretty awesome. Plus, the food… the food sounds incredible.

Then I started thinking — why not get paid to experience this adventure?! A seasonal Dude Ranch job is probably the best way to get that “pioneer” experience — while earning a paycheck. What could be better, right? Especially if you are single or married without kids, working on a dude ranch for the summer seems like the most amazing job experience adventure imaginable. If you agree with me, read on. I have gathered a short list of three of these fun Western United States ranches.

1. Sundance Trail

Open year round, the Sundance Trail is the ideal place for a family vacation with horseback riding in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, professional rock climbing, white water rafting, sunset hikes, fly fishing, archery, and more. There are evening campfires and a full-time children’s program. For employees, that means long days of hard work — but also loads of fun interacting with different groups of guests throughout the summer (or winter) season. What I especially love about the Sundance Trail is their video requirement. Check it out here. In short, if you are applying for a job, you have to submit a video of you working with horses — and teaching about horses. Clearly the owners want someone with a lot of knowledge and even more charisma when it comes to working with people. I can only imagine what a cool environment they have among their employees with such selective hiring practices.

2. Tumbling River Ranch

Nestled in a secluded valley high up in the Rocky Mountains, Tumbling River Ranch puts a special emphasis on kids. Priding itself on its hands-on kids program, children from babies through teenagers will enjoy exciting outdoor adventures, from horse (and pony) riding to swimming to hiking and more. If you are interested in working with kids, Tumbling River Ranch would be a great choice to focus on — especially if you have past experience with young people. The Ranch offers the full-range of dude ranch experiences: form fly-fishing, swimming and hiking to trapshooting, family rodeos and of course horseback riding. Employees at the Tumbling River Ranch earn an hourly wage, plus overtime, and an equal share from the tip pool. There is a staff of 33, including the childrens’ program, cooks, horse operations, lodging and housekeeping and maintenance.

3. Rockin’ R Ranch

Located in Antimony, Utah, the Rockin’ R Ranch is surrounded by Bryce Canyon, Zion Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches and Canyonlands. As a working ranch, Rockin’ R is where coybows brand cattle, and grow and harvest crops. The ranch is currently hiring for summer jobs that will begin as early April 1st, including wranglers, recreation counselors, general staff, kitchen staff, housekeeping staff, management/operations personnel, and gift shop staff. Click the link above to find out more about working at Rockin’ R.

Have you ever worked at a dude ranch? Tell us about your experiences!

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