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Dude Ranch Seminars
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Is the Guest and Dude Ranching Hospitality Industry for you?
Have you ever…

•    dreamed of experiencing a lifestyle where week after week groups of interesting, fun people spend their best time of     the year,  their vacation,  with you?

•    wanted to meet people with down to earth philosophies, who love to be active and in the outdoors?

•    wanted to be surrounded by people who smile a lot, are in a happy vacation mood and will constantly remind you that you live in  paradise?

•    wanted to live in seclusion without ever feeling isolated, as your entire life is one big social event?

 Are you ready…
•    for a lifestyle change and want to get out of the rat race?
•    to focus on what is truly important to you?
•    to work, hard long hours doing what you love to do most?
•    to share your time and devote your life to serve other people?

Would you like to own, or to be involved with a Dude Ranch but don’t know how?

What you need to know BEFORE you take the next step. The FUNdamentals and Some Basics to consider:

•    do you want to own a Dude Ranch, Guest Ranch, or Resort Ranch, what is right for you?
•    do you have the financial liquidity to purchase a guest ranch (financing is no longer an option) and adequate business experience?
•    do you have enough funding to carry you through several years of negative cash flow?
•    can you calculate your costs, and understand how to determine your break-even point?
•    Do you understand the importance and have the ability to write a business plan?

If your answered “yes” to these questions, take the next step! Find out what it takes and if you can make this work. Call us to schedule your initial free ONE-hour consulting conversation. We will cover several of the following points of your choice:

•    How to find your place and what to look for in the property…

•    General guest activity program considerations, program development and associated labor costs…

•    Ranch operation, departmental duties, staff number projections and scheduling…

•    Purveyors and vendors for the industry…

•    Horses and other livestock, barn, corral and pasture setup, leasing versus owning horses and lease vendors…

•    Wrangler qualifications, horse safety program, rider applications, liability releases…

•    Gift shops, and other possible income sources…

•    Human resources, job descriptions, employee manual, staff recruiting and hiring process…

•    Staff motivation and training…

•    Legal issues and general labor law…

•    Marketing and public relations, marketing materials, the Internet and websites, how and where to advertise and list yourself on the  Internet, website content and search engine placement…

•    Associations and memberships…

•    Travel agents and tour operators, meeting and travel planners…

•    Public lands, forest service, BLM, permit application process, outfitter and guides licenses…

•    Risk management, insurance information and brokers…

•    …and other questions you might have

During our first free phone conference we will conduct a Needs Assessment to help you understand what it takes to become a Ranch Owner. This will also allow us to determine how we can best help, you should you be able and want to pursue your dream.


Guidance in your ranch search and selection, followed by purchase assistance, start-up process and beyond. We can help in the evaluation of new and existing ranches, followed by business, management and marketing advice.

John Muir’s background in the industry, and now also as a Ranch Realtor with Live Water Properties will allow for you to explore all the options available.

*Rates are structured to incorporate all of these factors and can be hourly or by project.


Enhancing Customer Relations and Quality Service

The ability to build, maintain and enhance a satisfying customer relationship by consistently meeting and exceeding your guests’ expectations is the fundamental key to the success of your ranch. This workshop “tunes” you into the details that make the difference, teaches how to turn an unhappy guest into a satisfied customer and obtain the return business. The same principals that create complete guest satisfaction enrich your ranch and give purpose to your employees’ performance.

Interviewing, Hiring and Employee Motivation

Asking the right questions to predict the performance and behavior of a potential employee is the key ingredient in the interviewing and hiring process. The unique characteristic of each ranch demands a distinct approach to fill the requirements. This workshop helps you to develop a needs assessment for your positions and guides you to formulate questions that predict performance and behavior.

Team Building and Employee Training

Whether you are initiating a new seasonal group or enhancing the skills of an existing team, this program leaves a lasting impact on peoples’ abilities to communicate, cooperate and solve problems together. It teaches conflict resolution and “out of the box” thinking. Each participant will gain a new appreciation for their team, along with a better understanding of what is needed to make relationships work. Through the use of adventure techniques combined with traditional training tools, competitive groups become teams, bystanders get involved, outsiders step in and adversaries become friends.

Creating an Open, Trusting Management Platform

This workshop helps you to create a platform from which to resolve internal and external issues, have the key members of your group own and buy into decisions and cooperatively manage together for a common goal. You will learn how opinions and ideas can be exchanged openly and freely; members of the group will learn to consult with and advise each other and come up with a plan of action that will be supported by all.

Management From the Inside Out

The best management technique is ineffective if it requires you to change at your core. Learn to use your unique management style and personal values to motivate your employees to be their best and commit to achieve the goals for your ranch.

* Our rates are based on needs assessments, number of workshop days and number of participants.

For details, questions and more information contact Iris Behr and John Muir at:

Storm Mountain Ranch, 33700 Rushing Water Lane, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487 and Phone: 970-871-1699
Fax: 970-871-1698

Background and expertise of your instructors:

Iris Behr and John Muir have been part of the Dude Ranchers’ Association since 1991 and owned and operated Hidden Creek Guest Ranch in Idaho for 14 years. Iris and John are regular speakers at Dude Ranchers’ Conventions and offer seminars at those Conventions as well.
In 1990 they left the corporate world and began extensive research on guest ranches in the Western States. After a one and one half year search Iris and John bought, built and created what was known as Hidden Creek Ranch. While operating the ranch, Iris also served as the President on the board of the Idaho Guest and Dude Ranch Association to help raise the awareness of guest ranches in the State of Idaho. In May of 1995 she spoke at the Governors Conference in Post Falls, Idaho on eco-tourism and “How to Incorporate Environmental Consciousness into a Business”. John served as the Treasurer on the board of the National Dude Ranchers’ Association and also was the Treasurer of the Idaho Guest and Dude Ranch Association.

Within the first 10 years of operation Hidden Creek Ranch was written about in over 170 publications including: USA Today, National Geographic Traveler, Western Horseman, EcoTraveler and Bon Appetit as well as aired on more than 20 TV shows such as Good Morning America, Weekend Today, Outdoor Life Network and several local TV stations. Lego Toys chose Hidden Creek Ranch as their partner for the “Wild West Line” and the Family Channel selected the ranch as their partner for the “Weekend Western Roundup”. The European division of American Express appointed Hidden Creek Ranch as the “Best Film Location in the Rocky Mountains”. In addition, Hidden Creek Ranch received the “Top Guest Ranch Award” by National Geographic Traveler and was Idaho’s nominee for the “Conde’ Nast Traveler’s Ecotourism Award” and the “DRV International Environment Award”. Iris and John also received countless amounts of recognition from their guests for their impeccable customer service and organization as well as on the sincere happiness displayed by the staff. Visit their former website at:

Prior to owning Hidden Creek Ranch, Iris Behr was the President and owner of Behr Automation and Vice President of Behr Industrial. John Muir was the Treasurer of Behr Automation and Behr Industrial. The Behr companies were automotive related manufacturers of electrostatic spray paint equipment and were multi-million dollar operations. Prior to joining the Behr companies John Muir worked as a Certified Public Accountant and audited companies in the telecommunications, financial, skiing and hospitality industries. He also donated time assisting with and developing internal controls and financial reporting for the United Way and the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Foundation.

What others have to say about Iris and John:

Gene Kilgore
Author of “Ranch Vacations” and creator of Ranchweb

"I first met Iris and John in the early 90's when they were looking to buy their guest ranch. I was impressed way back then at their dedication and thoroughness in their analysis of the marketplace and subsequent purchase of their ranch. Over the years we developed a close working relationship and I was able to observe over and over again their level of integrity, know-how and the excellence - not to mention success - they brought to their ranch business. They were an inspiration to work with. They challenged us to be better and they embraced the marketplace in every way - advertising, marketing, public relations and were always able to think "out of the box" to meet the ongoing demands and changes in the travel marketplace. Today Iris and John have taken 16 years of know-how and are offering a unique service to potential ranch owners as well as operating dude ranchers. You might say they are offering a specialized "Ranch Coaching Service". I would encourage buyers as well as ranch owners wishing to increase market share to take advantage of this effective and beneficial opportunity. We all need coaches who can challenge us, show us and help us on this exciting dude ranch journey. And, anyone who thinks they don't need a superb coach - well - in my humble opinion - they are kidding themselves. I remember the quote - "Humans are like airplanes. If we do not more forward, we will not create the aerodynamic momentum required to soar."? ?If you dare to soar higher and compete more effectively in the dude ranch business - then unequivocally, I recommend taking advantage of what Iris and John are offering.

Colleen Hodson
Executive Director of the Dude Ranchers’ Association:

“Smart, Creative, and Caring are just a few of the attributes that describe John and Iris. Both John and Iris have taught me a tremendous amount about this great industry. Their Ranch Hidden Creek was one of the best run ranches I have had the privilege of staying at.”

Amey Grubbs Adams
Original creator and instructor of “Eggshells in the Coffee” dude ranch seminars:

“It is a pleasure to welcome Iris and John, the couple who were so interesting and enthusiastic at our first seminar on dude ranching many years ago. Their personalities promised them success in the business of hosting and entertaining guests in the West, and the ranch they have owned and operated since then has been a model for many ongoing seminars. It is a delight to turn over to them the leadership of this very rewarding enterprise. The attendees will receive a worthwhile, useful background along with a delightful experience. Eggshells is in good hands!”

What “Students” have to say about Iris and John:

"Iris and John completely exceeded our expectations. It was the most comprehensive Guest Ranch training imaginable. We chose to view our attendance as an investment in our business and it was the best business investment we've ever made. Our operations will be more safe, efficient, enjoyable and profitable because of what we learned. Taking this training as a couple accelerated our learning curve by years (and it was fun!). We give it our highest possible recommendation." Ward and Julie Dey, TX

“When it comes to a business venture you don't want any surprises. Iris and John not only explained everything that was involved in this business but also gave us a successful blueprint for running a ranch. You couldn't ask for more!” Jim and Debbie, MI

"I attended an intensive programme in July 2007 and am certain that this programme will be one of the most significant and valuable investments I will make in my business. I was already far down the road in terms of my vision and plans and John and Iris provided in-depth, constructive critique and challenge to the plan and to my thinking. I left Ranch Central with a head full of new ideas, alternative suggestions and options and a lot of thinking to do. I also left with a greater confidence in my plans and my ability to succeed in this venture. Following the seminar, and with time to reflect on all the ideas, I revised my plan and am now in the early stages of developing my ranch. Iris and John have followed up with me a number of times since the seminar and continue to provide support during this critical stage of development." Tracey O’Connell, BC, Canada

“Iris and John are a terrific team! The wisdom and perspective that each one brings to the seminar are invaluable. I could not imagine going through this process of pursuing my dream of owning a Dude Ranch without having first attending their seminar and utilizing their Training Manual.” Jeana Morrison, FL

“Most helpful was Iris & John’s extensive real world experience at their own & other ranches and through their extensive networks… they allowed plenty of opportunity to discuss anything I could think of. Their availability after the seminar also ensures that all questions will be answered…” Paige Burkes, CO

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