OldWestNewWest.com: History & Travel Magazine

Feb 18th
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dude ranches
No matter the season, at the more than 100 dude ranches that make up The Dude Ranchers' Association, guests are sure to find the All-American Western vacation they have been dreaming of-days spent in the saddle, enjoying stunning scenery and breathing fresh country air, and evenings enjoying tasty down-home cooking and ranch entertainment.

Today, as it did over a century ago, the Western dude ranch experience offers relief for both the body and spirit of those seeking refuge from the pressures and routine of modern life.
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It's 5:30 in the morning. The Rawhide theme song is blasting out of a pickup truck. Rollin', rollin', rollin'! Time to get rollin'! And what a day it's going to be! I'm about to saddle up on the annual Nine Quarter Circle Dude Ranch horse drive.

Today we will drive the better part of 100 horses more than 30 miles, across some of the prettiest country in the West. Here on this 2,800 acres of rolling and green Montana grassland known as the Kelsey Valley (KV) Ranch, is where the Kelsey family, which owns the Nine Quarter Circle, winters their Appaloosa horse herd.
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Imagine a place where your teenager can't have a cell phone, a video game, or a television, and yet has such a good time they weep when it's time to leave, and beg you to come back.

There really are such places. They're called dude ranches.
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There's good news for vacationers who would like a taste of the Western dude ranch experience, but have it blended with other vacation-type activities.

"While dude ranches still provide that one-of-a-kind ‘cowboy-style' vacation you can't find anywhere else, many have also expanded their offerings to appeal to the diverse and discriminating tastes of today's traveler," says Colleen Hodson of the Dude Ranchers' Association, an organization that represents more than 100 dude ranches.
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