At the Dude Ranchers’ Association convention we attended recently, someone brought up the idea that the term “dude ranch” may be confusing to some people. Given that the word “dude” does not have the same definition in our minds that it had a few generations ago, those of us in the business need to give special attention to what our words may be saying to our audience. When dude ranches first appeared, a dude was simply a nattily-dressed man from “the city”. When these city dwellers first started visiting the west and staying at ranches, they were referred to as dudes. The ranches that hosted them were dude ranches.
But nothing ever seems to stay the same, even our language (think back to high school and Shakespeare!). So we in the industry are batting about terms like “guest ranch” and “ranch vacation” in an attempt to make ourselves more understandable and relevant to the modern mind. Dude ranching itself is quite different from its early days. When the dudes first began spending time at the dude ranches, they would typically stay most of the summer and literally become part of the staff of the ranch. In other words they entered into the daily chores and jobs of the ranch, working alongside the ranch hands. This is very rare nowadays. Dude ranches have become vacation options. Some ranches still allow guests to help with the grooming or feeding of the horses, but no guest is actually expected to work at the ranch.
So, what is a dude ranch today? Why would you want to spend a week’s vacation there? Well, at Long Hollow Ranch, you can still live some of the romance of the old West. Our ranch has been around for over 100 years, raising livestock and crops. You can ride the range for miles, observing the wildlife, great scenery and quiet of the open countryside. You can enjoy home-cooked meals reminiscent of typical ranch fare, relax in the quiet and peace of surroundings free of television or the hustle and bustle of town. You can walk the around the ranch, or hike stunning Western backcountry trails. You can fish the ranch ponds, or golf nearby courses. You could even check out some areas left behind by the progress of time; like Shaniko, Mitchell, or the Painted Hills to name a few.
Whether you call it dude ranching, guest ranching, or a ranch vacation, it’s very much the same thing at Long Hollow Ranch in beautiful Central Oregon. Probably like nothing you ever did before……….