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Board of Directors
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Doug Hare and family

Doug HareRed Rock Ranch, Wyoming

I started my ranching career early on as a young guest at Elkhorn, MT. A number of years and many summer seasons later I started working for Elkhorn Ranch after graduating from Knox College, Galesburg, IL. Like most out of college, my career path was not set, the winter months were filled with cooking at Lone Mountain Ranch in MT. This led to another direction; I graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York and returned to Montana to work in the culinary field. I returned to Lone Mountain Ranch and was the Food and Beverage Director. After that I opened up my own restaurant in Manhattan MT. This was a great eye opener for me to realize that the hospitality industry was fantastic, but I was missing something. The return to dude ranching came with the opportunity to work at the Red Rock Ranch as the manager for the MacKenzie family owned ranch. Here with my wonderful wife Addie and our two children Ellory and Paedon we have found our “home,” we are a part of the Red Rock Ranch family and a dedicated part of the larger family of dude ranchers.

Vice President

Rita CoteTanque Verde Guest Ranch, Arizona

When I started at Tanque Verde about 19 years ago, I felt I had found my calling. I left the corporate world behind (7 years with Marriott) and found the world of Dude Ranching. Along the way Bob and I fell in love and married. What pleasure and joy I have found over the years with running the ranch, helping raise Bob's four children and experiencing wonderful memories with our employees and guests. I am blessed.


David Van BerkumRainbow Trout Ranch, Colorado

I am from Iowa but I have been involved with dude ranches since 1988, when I was fortunate enough to get hired on at the 63 Ranch. After five tremendous years there, and the dude ranch bug firmly planted, my family bought the RTR in southern Colorado. I am very blessed to be able to work with my parents, Doug and Linda. I am married to a very shy woman, Jane, and we have three great children: Mary-Anne is 12, Caroline is 10 and Derek (aka Snuff) is 8. I look forward to representing the DRA as a delegate from CO. Jane and I are also the representatives for the DRA-AQHA Alliance. We raise and train our own quarter horses and we love to team rope.

District I: Wyoming

Mark CardallT Cross Ranch, Wyoming

I grew up as a teamster, working cattle, and outfitting. Big game trophy hunting has been a passion; chasing cats, deer and elk, oh and my favorite- bears. I have run mustangs. I have ridden the mountain ranges of (Idaho)White Clouds, Salmon River, Caribou, Sawtooth, Camas,(Colorado) San Juan, Sango Cristo Wilderness, (Utah)Wasatch, Fish Lake, Boulder, Manti-La Sal, Uintah, Ouray, Deep Creek, Grouse Creek, Promontory,(Montana) Cabinet, Gallatin, Gravely, Mineral, Beaverhead, (Nevada) Humboldt, Diamonds, Ruby, Pequop, Jarbridge, (Wyoming) Salt River, Wyoming Range, Bridger-Teton, Teton Wilderness, Head Waters of the Yellowstone, Head Waters of the Snake, Wind Rivers, Medicine Bow, Absaroka, Hoback, Gros Venture, (Alaska) Mentasta, Head waters of the Tetlin River, Chichagof, Yakobi, and Tongass. No BS degree here.

I married at 38, the best loop I ever threw, and have since had 2 children, Kameron and Ethan. My life is full. The demands are plenty, but I am grateful.

District I: Wyoming

William (Bill) Ferguson Eatons' Ranch, Wyoming

Bill was born in Sheridan, Wyoming, in 1950, a fourth generation member of the Eaton family who pioneered and maintained ownership and management of Eatons’ Ranch.  Bill came home to Wolf to join his family and even in the early years of his life was a presence on the ranch.  By the time he was fourteen, his help in the summers for the dude season, was considered critical and he was a full time employee.  His livestock expertise with both horses and cattle grew with the tutelage of his father, Tom, and his grandfather, Bill.  For a short time in his young adult years, he worked with thoroughbred race horses with a trainer in Colorado adding another dimension to his experience.

Bill was educated in the country school at Wolf for his first eight years and then continued at Sheridan High School. He attended Sheridan College for a time.  Working and living on the ranch for his entire life has given him the greatest portion of his education in managing and operating a multifaceted ranching operation. Bill manages the livestock and corral, puts up the ranch hay with the help of his son and nephews, and serves on the corporate board of the ranch. Involvement in various organizations such as rodeo has given him community experience. His service on the DRA board and as president continues the tradition begun by his father. 

Presently, Bill and his wife, Karen, live on the ranch.  They are the parents of two children, Will and Amanda, both having work experience at the ranch.  Will, a teacher at a local school, works summers and weekends at the ranch.  Amanda is married and lives in Cheyenne where she is an attorney, as is her husband, Luke. 

District II, Montana

Patty WirthRocking Z Ranch, Montana

I was born on a cattle ranch in central Montana and had a great childhood working with cattle, training horses, cooking, and taking friends riding.  I was very involved with 4-H and High School Rodeo.  I married Zack, graduated from Montana State University, raised six wonderful kids, and was part of our Construction Company.  When Zack’s dad died we bought his families’ ranch near Wolf Creek, MT, moved there, built our house, and tried to make our living ranching and being a general contractor.  Zack got tired of the construction business.  We brain stormed about our options and how to make the ranch pay.  Zack commented that “Everyone who visits here gets out of their vehicle, takes a deep sign, and says how pretty it is.  How do we make money out of pretty?” 

We had never visited a dude ranch but we knew how to build and take people riding.  It is a great life having people come from all over the world and enjoy our horsemanship, horses, riding, and family.  It has gotten better every year.  Five of our children are now married and we have 15 grandchildren!  The 2 youngest daughters and one spouse -  Anna, Maria and Ben - are on the ranch.  Our other children and their families are all great help when needed.  It is a great honor to be on the DRA Board.  Starting from scratch, it is very valuable to have the expertise and promotion as part of this association.

District II, Montana

Ernie BarkerJJJ Wilderness Ranch, Montana

Having grown up on a family dude ranch & outfitting business, I've been blessed with the opportunity to show many guests their dream vacation and the beauty of the backcountry. After graduating from Montana State University, I married Kim and we returned to the ranch where we have raised our two daughters, Kelsey and Hayley. I've been very involved in many aspects of our industry, so am honored to serve on the DRA board.

District III, Colorado

Tom CarrColorado Cattle Company, Colorado

Tom Carr and his wife, Darcy, purchased Colorado Cattle Company and Guest Ranch in April, 2009.  They were guests at the ranch for the previous three years, and upon hearing the ranch was to be sold, elected to jump into the guest ranch business by purchasing the property and business.  The ranch is now run by Tom, Darcy, their daughter Jackie, son-in-law Scott, and one day by Addy, Tom and Darcy’s granddaughter.   Tom spent his youth up to the age of 37 in California, and moved to Colorado in 1999.  He and Darcy met in Denver and truly enjoy their lives together, now able to fulfill their dreams of working together running the guest ranch.  Tom enjoys his role with the Dude Ranchers Association and to serving his fellow Colorado ranches, through his position on the board.  The best elements of owning a guest ranch, per Tom, is the true sense of family and to meeting new people turning those new meetings into lasting relationships.

District III, Colorado

Jerry HelmeckiBar Lazy J Ranch, Colorado

After climbing the corporate ladder and having a successful career in the business world, at age forty three I was burned up. It was definitely time for a change and time to look for a more satisfying and rewarding lifestyle.  I was always interested and fascinated with the west, and after visiting several dude ranches both Cheri and I decided that the multi-dimensional aspects of “dude ranching” offered the lifestyle and environment we both wanted and were looking for.  In 1995, we purchased the Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch in Colorado.  That year required giving up a successful career, selling all our worldly possessions, cashing in all our retirement investments and leaving the area I was born and raised in.  While we had no background in ranching, we were able to apply our previous skills and experiences to build up our dude ranch operation.  Twenty some years later I can honestly say I never looked back nor had an ounce of regret.  I consider it an honor and privilege to serve on this board and to participate in supporting and promoting the business of “dude ranching.”


District IV, Other states

Janice SchoonoverWestern Pleasure Guest Ranch, Idaho

Janice was born and raised on the ranch that guests know as Western Pleasure Guest Ranch.  Her family roots have grown pretty deep in the Gold Creek Valley, with six generations from her mother’s side and five generations from her father’s side calling the Gold Creek Valley their homes.

Janice married her high school sweet heart, Roley Schoonover, in 1982. After a few years away for college the couple returned to Northern Idaho and added guest ranching to the family ranch in 1991.  Their two children Danielle and Isaac grew up on the guest ranch. Both have married and live and work at the ranch, along with two grandchildren Emily and Gabe.

District IV, Other states

Cory InouyeRed Horse Mountain Ranch, Idaho

I’ve always thought of Idaho as home, and in 2005 was honored to become a part of Red Horse Mountain Ranch. The vision of our ranch I consider priceless and I am determined to pass on the tradition of Idaho dude ranching to the next generation.
 When I can get a chance to sneak away, you’ll find me spending time with my family, floating rivers searching for trout, or pursuing elk in September. I thoroughly enjoy the ranching lifestyle, its seasons, and the people. I’ve always been told to surround yourself with good people, and as a member of the Dude Ranchers’ Association, we’ve done just that.
 I am grateful for the chance to serve the members and staff of the DRA. I look forward to learning, collaborating, and working hard to continue the protection and preservation of all member ranches and to strengthen and promote the importance of a ranch vacation.

Past President

Clay MillerParadise Guest Ranch, Wyoming

Unfortunately, I wasn’t lucky enough to be born into it but I do feel like the luckiest guy alive to be a part of the original form of Wyoming tourism and hospitality...dude ranching.  I have been involved in tourism since my college days at the University of Oregon, (Go Ducks!), and my first Summer job was running boat tours and giving geology talks at Crater Lake National Park. Since those days I have been involved in the Ski Industry both in Colorado and Montana. Looking back it seems that I have done just about every hospitality related job out there and I sure get a chance to put those skills to use at the ranch. It was my love for horses and the outdoors that brought me to ranching but it was the road less traveled that brought me to Paradise.

Executive Director

Colleen HodsonThe Dude Ranchers' Association - Cody, Wyoming

Along with being Executive Director of The Dude Ranchers' Association I am the Authorized Agent of The Dude Ranchers' Educational Trust. I have worked for the association for 14  years. I love the dude ranch industry and feel it is extremely important to protect and preserve its heritage. If you have any questions please, do not hesitate to contact me.

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