Well I have just returned from the 2013 Dude Ranchers’ Convention at the Rancho de los Caballeros in Wickenburg, Arizona. My parents (Roley and Janice) were good enough to take the whole family along with them to this annual convention.
It was great to see some new scenery as we traveled north from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon was, of course, spectacular. However I would suggest that when you plan your next visit, make sure you don’t have a massive head cold like I did. Here was my thought process: “Oh that’s really pretty! Wow, get a picture! Ok, I am going to go sleep in the back of our massive 12 passenger van now.” Speaking of our van. Because we had the whole crew (Mom, Dad, Me, Landon, Emily, Gabe, Isaac, and Libby), we couldn’t fit in a normal rental car so we ended up renting this giant 12-passenger van. It was not the sportiest ride but it was really quite comfortable. We named it the Queen Mary. Dad suggested the Titanic, but we decided that name might start our trip off on the wrong foot.
After the Grand Canyon, we headed south again to Sedona; a beautiful country full of red rock. Then we headed up over the mountains on our way to Wickenburg. On our way up and down the twisted Highway 89, (seriously, when you look at this road on a map it looks like someone planted multiple corkscrews in the road) we found the city of Jerome. This was a booming copper mining town who’s population peaked at 15,000 in the1920’s, but is now a whopping 450 people. The craziest thing about this town is its location. It is literally built on the side of a hill that you wouldn’t want to walk your mule across let alone build a whole town on! They are proud to be America’s most vertical town. The town is built on a series of switchbacks where front doors literally open onto Highway 89. So for an interesting drive, I suggest you grab the Dramamine and explore the quaint town of Jerome, Arizona.
The Dude Ranchers’ Association convention was held at the resort ranch, Rancho de los Caballeros. They have a beautiful facility and do an excellent job of serving their guests. I was ready to take the king sized bed home with me when we left because it was so heavenly.
We also had the opportunity to take part in a little friendly Team Penning competition. For those of you who don’t know how it works here’s a quick run down. About 8 cows are all on one end of the arena and a small pen is on the other end. Four team members ride toward the cows, cut three out, and herd them down to the small pen. This is a timed event, so the faster you move these cows, the better. I was quite proud of our team because we placed 3rd out of nine teams and, I must say, we actually followed the rules; unlike certain other teams.
I really love attending conventions like this because between the speakers and the vendors you get some great inspiration on how you can give your guests an even better ranch experience. It is also very encouraging to see the many ways we are doing things right for our guests here at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch.
Please enjoy these photos from our tour of Arizona.