Many Dude Ranch, Guest Ranch, Guest Ranch Resort and other operations that offer Horseback Riding, qualify to be members of excellent Associations that help to set high industry standards. These associations assist their membership by providing networking opportunities between the membership, as well as training workshops. The following is an example of the criteria set by some of the various Associations that serve the Dude Ranch, Guest Ranch, Guest Ranch Resort industry and other operations that offer Horseback Riding.
The following information is taken directly from the DRA “Ranch Membership Requirements” criteria.
Ranch Membership in The Dude Ranchers' Association is generally open to any persons, company, corporation or association who will subscribe to the criteria of the Association, who owns and/or operates a dude ranch property west of the Mississippi River in the U.S. or in the provinces of Alberta or British Columbia in Canada.
A member ranch must meet the following requirements: A Dude Ranch shall exemplify the western ranch ideal of personal, homelike hospitality and atmosphere. Be physically located in a state West of the Mississippi River or in the Canadian provinces of Alberta or British Columbia.
A Dude Ranch shall operate primarily on the American Plan
A Dude Ranch must be horse oriented
Horses must be available to accommodate wranglers and guests who choose to ride
Western riding instruction must be available
Stock must be well cared for and equipment in good repair
Available deeded and/or leased acreage must be of adequate size to accommodate a horse program that meets Association requirements
A Dude Ranch facility must be adequate to accommodate guests in a comfortable manner
Accommodations must be clean and in good repair
A Dude Ranch's promotional material must represent the facilities and activities accurately and honestly
A Dude Ranch must keep on record with the Association office a statement of current ownership and management. Any changes must be reported immediately
A new ranch shall have two years previous operating history as a dude ranch immediately prior to application in the DRA. An applicant ranch will operate the first guest season following application under the exact guidelines set by the DRA.
During the primary guest season a Dude Ranch must cater to registered guests only
A Dude Ranch shall not actively solicit transient trade
A Dude Ranch shall not sell individual meals or offer livery services to the general public in connection with the Dude Ranch operation
A Dude Ranch shall not operate a public bar in connection with the Dude Ranch operation, nor sell the general public alcoholic beverages of any sort (It may operate a bar or serve alcoholic beverages for the convenience of its registered guests)
Offer a quality guest experience.
Will not solicit less than 3 night stays.
Emphasis will be on a week or longer stay.
There are several Guest and Dude Ranch Associations in the United States of America that represent Guest and Dude Ranches in their own State. For example:
Montana Dude Ranchers’ Association
Arizona Dude Ranch Association
Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Association
Idaho Guest and Dude Ranch Association
Wyoming Dude and Guest Ranch Association
The criteria for a ranch to become a member of an USA State Guest and Dude Ranch Associations varies; to serve as an example, the following is data taken directly from the mentioned Associations website.
Membership in the Montana Dude Ranchers’ Association is open to any person, company, corporation, or association who owns or operates a ranch property in Montana and who will subscribe to the criteria of the Association.
A member ranch shall exemplify the western ranch ideal of personal, homelike hospitality and atmosphere. Some of the requirements for membership are: a ranch shall encourage the American Plan rates, i.e. three meals per day included the ranch’s advertised rate structure. A ranch must be horse oriented, horses must be available to accommodate wranglers and all guests who choose to ride, western riding instruction must be available, and stock must be well cared for and equipment in good repair. Each ranch shall meet state health and safety regulations. Accommodations must be clean and in good repair.
The Arizona Dude Ranch Association was formed to help introduce you to only quality guest ranches that have met our high standards. All of our members are committed to preserving the tradition of Western hospitality.
Our ranches are as diverse as our state, ranging from the more traditional smaller, remote ranches, where horseback riding and ranching are the primary focus, to our larger resort-style guest ranches, with all the amenities.
Membership criteria for the Wyoming Dude and Guest Ranch Association:
A member ranch must meet the following requirements:
A Dude Ranch shall exemplify the Western Ranch ideal of personal, homelike hospitality and atmosphere.
* A Dude Ranch shall operate primarily on the American Plan.
* A Dude Ranch must be horse-oriented:
(a) Horses must be available to accommodate wranglers and guests who choose to ride.
(b) Riding instruction must be available.
(c) Stock must be well cared for and equipment in good repair.
* A Dude Ranch facility must be adequate for the comfortable accommodation of guests
(a) Accommodations must be clean and in good repair.
* Dude Ranch promotion must represent its facilities and activities accurately and honestly.
* A Dude Ranch must keep on record with the Association office a statement of current owner and manager.
* A Dude Ranch shall be required to have met the qualification of a member ranch and have operated for a summer season before it shall be considered for active membership.
* During the summer guest season a Dude Ranch shall not:
(a)actively solicit transient trade nor accept guests during the season for less than a three night period.
(b) Sell individual meals in connection with the Dude Ranch operation.
A Dude Ranch shall not sell the general public alcoholic beverages of any sort.
(a) Dues and application fees shall be required annually for each member ranch according to a formula recommended by the Directors and approved by the Association.
The following is the requirement for being a member of the British Columbia Guest Ranchers’ Association.
1) A BCGRA member shall exemplify the western ranch ideal of personal, homelike hospitality and atmosphere.
2) A BCGRA member must be horse oriented.
a. Horses must be available to accommodate wranglers and all guests who choose to ride.
b. Riding instruction must be available.
c. Horses must be matched to suit riders’ weight and level of experience.
d. Stock must be well cared for and equipment kept in good repair.
e. A guest ranch must operate in the safest way possible, and must have adequate liability insurance.
f. Available acreage at the ranch and/or adjoining the ranch must be of adequate size to accommodate a horse program that meets the Association requirements.
3) A BCGRA member’s facility must be adequate to accommodate guests in a comfortable manner.
a. Accommodations must be clean and in good repair.
b. Member must be ‘Tourism BC Approved Accommodation”.
4) A BCGRA member shall operate primarily on an all-inclusive basis.
a. A guest ranch shall promote a total package inclusive of food, accommodation, horseback riding and all other ranch activities.
b. All meals, snacks and beverages to be made available at the ranch or on the trail.
5) A BCGRA member should encourage guests to stay a minimum of three nights.
6) A BCGRA member’s promotional material must represent the facility’s current ownership, management and packages offered. Any changes must be reported within thirty (30) days.
7) A BCGRA member shall be required to operate for a season before accepted for full membership and shall be designated “new member” in the directory during its probationary year.
MISSION STATEMENT: To promote the western way of life, to provide a quality ranch vacation experience for guests of the member ranches of the Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Association and to enable the ranches to achieve their individual goals by doing collectively that which cannot be done individually.
Qualifications For Active Membership
1. Horses and a comprehensive riding program shall be the “heart” of each ranch, emphasizing their importance in our western heritage.
2. The word “ranch” must be incorporated in the name.
3. A ranch shall exemplify the western ranch ideal of personal, “homelike” hospitality and atmosphere.
4. A ranch must be a commercial, profit type organization.
5. A ranch shall encourage weekly or longer visits (as compared to shorter stays) and this shall be the primary goal of the ranch’s summer business promotion.
6. A ranch shall offer American plan rates as it primary function, i.e. three meals per day in a communal setting, included in ranch’s advertised rate structure. Any restaurant and/or bar shall NOT be promoted as being regularly open to the general public during the guest ranch season.
7. The ranch shall operate their horse program in accordance to the CDGRA Horse Standards.
8. Ranch brochure, website, and other promotional material must be true, factual and honest, with current rate information included. These materials shall be consistent with all other associated forms of advertising.
9. The ranch shall have all necessary licenses and permits to operate the ranch business (e.g.restaurant, public land use permits, insurance, etc.), and these shall be verified no later than at the time of the Inspection.
The Wyoming Dude Ranchers Association is all about History, Hats, Horses & Hospitality. We have a commitment to the quality of each ranch that is a member of our association. You can be assured that they have been inspected and work hard to uphold the quality that we all represent.
There are many ranches in Wyoming, but those that carry our seal of membership have demonstrated their commitment to providing an Authentic, Western Wyoming Ranch vacation.