Dude Ranch Summer

Dude Ranch Summer

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“Oh, come on, you two can do it! We’re going to.”

Such encouragement, or should I say, such gentle pressure, from dear friends is what found us working at a delightful Dude Ranch in beautiful Montana one summer. That experience is a memory not easily forgotten. Below is a link to 63 Ranch.


Realize, we were not your typical summer wranglers. You know, those perky college gals who look good in tight Levis and those fresh-faced lads who have cut their teeth on the saddle horn.

Far from it. In fact, some would have called our foursome, geezer guys, and gals. Our friends had been guests at this fancy dude ranch for several years, but it was the first time anyone of us had done so much menial work as we did that summer. Well, maybe when we were young teenagers, but mind you, that was a long time ago for us.

The guys handled outside work such as slopping the pigs, helping with the horses, mending fences, cleaning stalls, and painting. I was dining room hostess, worked split shifts beginning at 6:00 am and ending at 9:00 to 10:00 pm, after the evening socials. My counterpart cooked and cooked some more. If we weren’t serving or cooking, we helped clean cabins. We had roughly thirty-two new guests each week and had to commit names to memory.

That summer was not for sissies, I can tell you. More than once, we senior citizens laughed and asked what we were doing there and why we weren’t back home playing golf or going to lunch. We broke sweat several times each day. We monitored for bears and forest fires.

But, lest I lead you to believe we sorely commiserated all summer, let me tell you about things taking our breath away. To start with, the scenery itself was post-card perfect with majestic mountain views, peaceful lakes, and crystal-clear, blue skies. The sprawling ranch nestled in a green valley below Shadow Mountain, a place of spiritual quest for the Crow Indians who used to live in this place. We were told our cabin had been one of theirs.

The herd of magnificent horses skittering into the corral each morning reminded me of the Old West. Guests were fanciful, interesting, as well as sometimes unbelievable; the rich came from near and far. My huge horse Tom carried me along trails to our Campfire Cookouts and that horse took my breath away, for sure. I was scared to death of him.


Explorers Lewis and Clark had traveled through Livingston, Montana on their westward journey, camping at the rambunctious Yellowstone River, which flowed right through town. Of course, being the history buff I am, I relished this tidbit. Hollywood saw fit to add to the charm of the little town when Livingston became the location for several movies. I purchased a couple pieces of Montana Silversmith jewelry, which I absolutely cherish, and love how they keep those summer memories alive.

Oh, another thing I did on this impressive, summer adventure was to polish my first manuscript, which was later published by LangMarc Publishing. Cell phone service was sparse and achieving internet connection, except in town at the library, was far from exciting at the Dude. So, that summer I couldn’t check my creativity at the corral.

Life can be an odyssey, sometimes, but you already know that, if you’ve lived to read this. The hot, summer days around here have rekindled fond memories of when we stepped out of our comfort zone and had a wonderful adventure.


Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.

-Col 3:23

Jude Urbanski About Jude Urbanski

Jude Urbanski’s passions are ‘people and places.’ She writes women's fiction featuring strong inspirational romance elements. Her stories invite you to heroes and heroines who spin tragedy into triumph with help from God. First published in nonfiction, Jude continues to write in this field also. Editing services complete Jude’s repertoire.


  1. What a glorious story! Getting out of your comfort zone and gaining new perspectives. God provides us with all kinds of opportunities if only we will take them.

  2. Thanks for dropping by, Linda! It’s a story for me to always remember and yes, God does tend to offer one more surprise doesn’t He?

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