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Where do dude ranchers go on vacation?

Where do dude ranchers go on vacation? To a dude ranch of course!

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch is a proud member of the Dude Ranchers’ Association which represents ranches west of the Mississippi by promoting choice guest and dude ranches and the western lifestyle to travelers around the world.  The DRA was founded to:

“Preserve, protect, and promote their unique vacation experience and its identity. Though guest expectations have changed and ranchers have had to change with them, the core principles of dude ranching remain the same.”

To ensure that these principles flow through the DNA of each ranch that becomes a part of the DRA, the Six H’s were created. Each member ranch must align with the following criteria in order to be considered for membership:


  • Horses are central to any dude ranch experience.
  • There must be adequate stock, tack, facilities, and trails for the riding program. All will be well cared for.
  • Attention will be paid to horse and rider safety.


  • Hats symbolize the special emphasis on Western atmosphere and appearance.


  • A genuine friendly Western welcome with staff, food, accommodations, facilities, and activities to authenticate it.


  • Dude ranch vacations began as long stays where relationships developed and guests had an exclusive and complete ranch experience.
  • Dude ranch guests will be on an American plan.
  • Even amidst today’s pressures for quick visits and short vacations, ranches should encourage week-long stays (6 or 7 nights.)
  • Regular multi-day dude ranch guests should not be significantly or adversely affected by any non-dude ranch business.


  • You are at least as good as you advertise, if not better.
  • You operate your business with integrity.


  • You have a heart for developing friendships with your guests and demonstrate it in your actions.

Each year the DRA gathers for a convention where ranchers come to learn about the travel industry, plan for the new season, and collaborate with other ranchers. It was to this annual convention that we traveled. In true dude ranch fashion, this convention was held at a dude ranch of course! The Tanque Verde Guest Ranch in Tucson, Arizona was the host ranch where 200+ ranchers convened.

For us here at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, taking a week to escape the winter and enjoy the desert scenery and weather, was a welcome reprieve. Don’t get me wrong, we love the North Idaho winters. We get to experience a true winter wonderland as the landscape magically transforms each year. But in the words of Augustus McCrae, “Ain’t nothing like ridin’ a fine horse in a new country”. The owners and staff of the Tanque Verde Ranch did a fabulous job of taking care of all of us for the week.

Prior to the convention, we explored Tombstone, Arizona, and stayed at the Tombstone Monument Ranch one night. Both were enjoyed very much by our whole crew. At the convention at the Tanque Verde Ranch, we must confess we skipped a few meetings to enjoy a ride through the desert, a dip in the hot tub, or a nap. It was a pleasure to enjoy the dude ranch experience from the guest’s perspective and we would like to thank the DRA and the Tanque Verde Ranch for that opportunity.


  1. Really nice article, thanks for sharing such information. I went on dude ranch vacation Before a couple of years with my family. That was really great experience and beautiful memories. Wide range of activities was there we enjoyed horseback riding, rafting, swimming pool plays, fly fishing, cattle work and many more. The food was awesome and accommodation was also great.

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