A dude ranch, also called a guest ranch or a working ranch, is a place where you can experience the thrills of what it is like to be a cowboy. The term dude ranch represents the idea of a city dude being out in the country on a ranch. Dude ranches are meant to attract tourists and ultimately teach them how a cowboy lives day to day. There are different kinds of dude ranches throughout the western regions of the United States. Some offer child friendly experiences focused on giving the guests a taste of what cowboys do. Others are considered working dude ranches, such as Rowse’s 1+1 Ranch and Colorado Cattle Company & Guest Ranch. These are targeted towards adults and involve their guests in the day-to-day duties of an authentic cowboy. The Dude Ranchers Association lists all the dude ranches registered members in the United States and is a great resource to find dude ranches near you. At a working dude ranch, guests learn and apply the following:

  • Gather cattle and bulls off the range
  • Drive cattle
  • Brand cattle
  • Doctor sick animals
  • Rope, sort and pen cattle
  • Make routine checks of water, salt and fences
  • Ride horses with a purpose

The daily schedule on a working dude ranch is governed by the cattle. Also, a great deal of time is spent on horses because a horse is the greatest tool a cowboy can possess. At a working dude ranch you will experience more than just the countryside, you will learn to thrive in the role of a cowboy.