Eatons' Ranch
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Category Archives: Wyoming Dude Ranch

Wyoming Dude Ranch Bonfire

February 18, 2013 by Jeff Way

IMG_0115 IMG_0122

This was not your typical bonfire and there were no roasted marshmellows.  We needed to demolish an employee building we called the Bachelor Quarters so we could begin construction of a new building.  We contacted the Dayton Fire Department to see if they would be interested in a training exercise and burn down a buidling or two for us.  The above photos are the result of their efforts.  The first photo shows where the Bachelor Quarters once stood.  The second photo was taken shortly after the fire started on the what we called the Baker’s cabin.  We have no immediate plans to replace the Baker’s cabin, but it had gotten to the point that it was beyond repair.

We’ll keep you posted on our progress with building the new Bachelor Quarters.  Thanks to the Dayton Fire Department crew for their help and excellent work!


Snow Along the Bighorns

January 31, 2013 by Jeff Way

We got more snow yesterday and last night to add to what was already on the ground.  Frank Eaton measured a total of 15 plus inches!  The actual total may be more than that, because the wind yesterday afternoon and last night may have blown some away.  The snow is welcome, but we could do without the wind.  We just thought some of you might like to see what Eatons’ Ranch looks like after a fresh snow.

Winter Time At Our Wyoming Dude Ranch

January 30, 2013 by Jeff Way


We just returned from the DRA Convention in Wickenburg, AZ and this is what was waiting for us, over 10 inches of much needed snow!  It was a little bit of an adjustment after being in 60 plus degree weather, but we’re glad to be back at the Ranch.

We’re all catching up on what we missed while we were gone, but Courtney was in the office to answer questions and take reservations.  In addition to being in the office, Courtney also took care of our dinner guests along with our chef Mark.  We’ve had a busy January for dinners, which we serve Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and we offer brunch on Sunday.  We’re also getting bookings for our bed & breakfast, so be sure to contact us if you’re interested in a weekend getaway.  We just finished remodeling the upstairs of the Main House for use this winter and for the upcoming dude season.  Photos will be posted soon!

2013 Dude Ranchers’ Convention

January 21, 2013 by Jeff Way

We’re all getting ready to head south to Wickenburg, AZ for the Annual Dude Ranchers’ Convention.  It’s an opportunity to catch up with our contemporaries to discuss ways to improve our industry, improve ourselves, and ultimately to continue to improve the experience that we offer guests on their dude ranch vacation.  We think it’s the best family vacation out there and at an incredible value.

Happy 2013!

January 8, 2013 by Jeff Way

The Ranch had a wonderful 2012 thanks to our regular Dude Season and the addition of our Winter B&B.  Our Bed and Breakfast is now open and we are offering dinner on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and brunch on Sunday. We are looking forward to seeing everyone this NEW YEAR and we hope you all had a wonderful Holiday Season!

Wrangle Run 2012

October 10, 2012 by Jeff Way

Eatons Ranch hosted the forth annual Wrangle Run a fund raiser for Habitat for Humanity September 22nd!    The course was a little different from years past.  You could choose from a 10k or 13k hike or run.  The 10k ended at the Lodge cabin this year while the half marathoners headed up Wolf Creek Canyon towards the head of the Cattle Trail down to the Red Corrals and heading up the Race Track to the finish line at Howard Hall.  Everyone gathered at Howard Hall for a cookout after the race.  We could not have asked for a better day!

We’re in our Shoulder Season!

August 20, 2012 by Jeff Way

The Peak Season has come and gone! We had a lot of fun meeting new families and seeing familiar faces again.  Time passed us by so quickly, luckily we have a few pictures to remember this season by!

The Shoulder Season is a lot quieter and less busy for us although we have some weddings coming up that will keep us busy! Shoulder Season also reminds us that Fall is just around the corner! Already we’ve seen the smaller plants begin to change their colors. It’s a gorgeous season that we’re thrilled to share with all of you coming out soon! Here’s some Fall pictures from previous years. The second photo shows the best time to see the Fall colors which is during the Wrangler Run on September 22nd!

Fall by the creek

Wrangler Run 2010

Our first wedding of the Shoulder Season is on Friday. We’re pretty pumped to kick off this season with such a special occasion! If you want to see wedding pictures you can check out the slideshow on our website! Until next time, make sure you check our facebook page for more photos and updates!

August 4th-5th!

August 7, 2012 by Jeff Way

What a crazy weekend it’s been! First, we had our Calcutta on the fourth.  Lots of people turned out and the bidding got pretty fierce! Afterwards, everyone stuck around for some dancing great live music by local band The Libby Creek Original! We had a theme of “70’s Prom” so it was great to see all the fringe and sparkly outfits.

Calcutta Bidding!

We found these 60/70’s server dresses in storage!

After some dancing, we had a rap battle. Yes, a rap battle! August Kern (staff) vs Charles Engle (dude). It was hilarious and a big hit.

The next day we had our roping down at Gentry Field. A big thank you to Sheridan Drum & Bugle Corps who opened for us!


The results were:

Shelby Mann and Gavin Flint won first, Weston and Tamara Mann 2nd, and Roger Ross and Justin Hammerich took third! Fastest time went to Rhett and Gavin Flint at 5:59!! More pictures can be found in our album on facebook!

August is almost here!

July 25, 2012 by Jeff Way

The summer is going by fast but August is looking to be a great month.  We have our Calcutta on the 4th followed by what promises to be an amazing day of roping on the 5th.  We will see you all there!

There are also a lot of old faces returning that we’re thrilled to have coming back another season!  We really treasure our guests and we’re so glad to have so many coming back year after year!

We’ll update again soon with some pictures and more August news but make sure to check our Facebook page for day to day updates!


July Events!

July 19, 2012 by Jeff Way

July is looking to be a great month for us! Earlier this month we had our July Roping. It was a great night of bidding at our Calcutta, followed by an awesome day of team roping!  Wheaton Williams and Stan Williams took first place with Lonny Gibson and Stan Williams taking second and Luke and Tom Morss third. If you missed this one we have another in August! Here’s a couple pictures of Wheaton and Stan Williams and another of Rhett Flint and Nate Schmeiser!

There were also a lot of our guests who attended the Sheridan WYO Rodeo.  We participated in the Bed Races for the first time this year! We didn’t place but now we know how it works so we’re hoping to come back strong next year.

We also put on our first Cowboy Polo game of the season at the Bighorn Equestrian Center!  T.J. Ferguson, Nate Schmeiser, and Rhett Flint played for our team. We played HF Bar but sadly lost by one point (2-1). Oh well, we’ll get them next game! Check our facebook page for pictures!


New Fitness Area!

June 30, 2012 by Jeff Way

We have a brand new fitness area located in Pike 13-15! We put in brand new hardwood floors and bathrooms with some awesome new equipment. We’re also offering yoga classes and massages!!

It’s been a work in progress but we are very excited to share the newest addition to the ranch. Here are some photos of the equipment and space!!

And here’s a couple before pictures!


Peak Season off to a great start!

June 18, 2012 by Jeff Way

Our peak season has officially started and already we’ve had a lot going on! We had an amazing group come through called Operation Military Kids and it was such an honor to have those families come to the ranch.  We had a wonderful time and hope to see families come back! Check out their site for more information, they have programs for every state!

We’ve also started our softball games! Every Wednesday at 2pm we’ll hit the field, or lawn, of Howard Hall. We won the first game but just barelyCheck our facebook page for some fun pics, we’ll upload some for every game this summer!

Friday we had our first dinner ride and dance of the season which both turned out great. The food was delicious and coming back to some amazing live music by Boot Hill completed the night! We danced so much that the band even played an encore. We’ll also be taking pictures from each dance night for our facebook page so be sure to tag yourself when you come out!

Saturday was also exciting, we’ve started our cookouts!  Every Wednesday for lunch and Saturday for dinner we’ll meet at Stanley Camp.  You’ll know lunch and dinner are ready by the smell of sizzling steaks in the air. Yum!

We’re really excited to have so much going on and we can’t wait to see all of you again!


The Apartment Bar Branding!

June 6, 2012 by Jeff Way

We had the branding party for our new bar on the 30th and we’re so excited to share this new addition with all of you! Here’s some of the party pictures!

We’ve been building it since winter and even used some pine from the ranch for the bar tops.  Our gorgeous new bar is opening this Saturday the 9th!  Here’s some before pictures!

The Apartment Bar

Opening Day!!

June 1, 2012 by Jeff Way

The first day of the season is here and already we have a lot going on! The horses came through Sheridan last week so they’re back at the ranch, ready to ride the trails! The weather has been beautiful as well. Sunny days with cool breezes. Perfect for hiking! Tomorrow we’re having a wedding on Howard Hall lawn and several of the guests have gone fishing.  It is going to be an amazing summer!

We are so excited to have dudes start arriving.  We have made several changes since last year that we’re excited to share with you. Our next blog entry will be full of details and new photos!

Opening Day

Wranglin Notes are Here

February 1, 2012 by Jeff Way


Wranglin Notes
Volume 1, No. 196        Eatons’
Ranch    December 2011

All of us here at Eatons’ Ranch hope you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! As we look back on this past year we think about how fortunate we are to live where we live, to do what we do, and to have you all in our lives.   The last few years have been challenging, but thanks to your support the challenges we have faced have been more rewarding than ever.

Echeta Trip 2011
Horses crossing Wild Horse Creek at the Bar 11


All in all the Ranch family has had a good year. We’re healthy, our children are healthy and for that, we are thankful. Many of us had the opportunity to get a for a few excursions during the off season, which is always welcomed before or after four months of the dude season. We welcomed many familiar faces to the Ranch this summer, along with many new ones as well.  Keen Butcher and his family joined us for their annual Ranch reunion in June.  July was a good month for groups and families traveling together.  Thanks to Ted and Laura Mandelkorn, many new people were introduced to the Ranch.  Michael Shinners and his family joined us in July for the third consecutive year.  Mike Holloman and Tim Surrat joined us during the month as well to celebrate Tim’s 50th birthday with many family and friends in attendance.  We had a few guests, who we were very happy to see again, that had taken some time off between visits.  Mary Roby and her
children and grandchildren joined us in July for the first time since 1998.  George and Mary Kenny returned with their family in August after last being here in 1974.  In August we were also joined by the familiar faces of Charlie and Stephanie Fagan, who brought their children and grandchildren.  In addition to the faithful August crowd, we hosted a couple of weddings and for the first time, we hosted a photography workshop by David Stoecklein.  The beautiful wedding of Kate Brewster and Justin Hammerich fell on the same weekend as the
photography workshop, but both events went off with out a hitch.  We plan to host another workshop in 2012.  Our loyal September contingent joined us following Labor Day and we quietly ended the month with the Third Annual Wolf Creek Wrangle trail run and hike.  We look forward to the Fourth Annual on September 22nd.  We kept our doors open for a little longer for the highlight of 2011.  The wedding of Mary Eaton and Nate Schmeiser on October 8th. The wedding of 100 plus family and friends was officiated by Rob Cagnina in Howard Hall. It
was a wonderful event and everywhere you looked there were smiling faces.  So many people commented that they couldn’t have been happier for two very special people.

Ranch kids kicking their heels up at Nate & Mary’s Wedding


This year we are not going to write the usual detailed year in review. Instead, we are shifting the focus to photos from years past and to those we lost in 2011. We hope the photos bring back memories of the time you have shared with your family and friends, and with us. We are sorry to admit that sometimes it takes a year like this to make us realize just how many lives Eatons’ Ranch has touched
and how we in turn have been touched by so many special people. This year we lost a number of people near and dear to the Eatons’ Ranch family. Some left us far too early life, but we are so lucky to have known them. Some had not been able to visit the Ranch in years, but they were the people who supported us year after year and became part of our story.


Betty Lou Girardi by Mary Dailey     Betty Kaufmann by Jonathan McNutt      Gerry Clapp by Mary Dailey

          In Memory of…….

Jack Stanton, David W. Oskin, Jr., Nancy Payne, Clem Egan, Gerry
Clapp, Miff McBride, Liz Jacobs, Betty Kaufmann, Herb Koether, Betty Lou
Girardi, Blair Klein.


Some of the obituaries, eulogies and notes from families of the departed expressed the importance of Eatons’ Ranch during their lifetimes. Miff McBride first came to the Ranch with his father in 1937 and trips to the Ranch became a family tradition. He passed peacefully at home with an Arthur Dailey photo of Eatons’ Ranch by his bedside. During her amazing lifetime, Betty Lou Girardi, traveled extensively throughout
the world, but in her obituary it said that her favorite place to travel was Eatons’ Ranch. Betty Lou and her husband Joe visited the Ranch for 41 consecutive seasons. Betty Kaufmann first visited the Ranch in 1936 with her parents and their first trip to the Ranch was in 1923. The Kaufmann and Eaton family have a long history together. Betty visited the Ranch for 37 consecutive seasons.  A line taken from an Erika Frey poem over 30 years ago that sits overlooking Eatons’ Ranch still holds true today more than ever, “…when you ride these pastures I have loved, let your heart beat fast for me and I shall not be dead.”


Life is made up of experiences and interactions with others. Based on our experiences and interactions with the friends and family that we have lost this past year and before, our lives are full. To all of those who lost loved ones this past year, please know that our thoughts are with you. If we have failed to mention anyone here, we apologize in advance.


  The printed version of the Wranglin’ Notes will be in the mail soon with even more pictures.  We wish you
all the best in 2012 and we hope to see you this summer! Check out our blog and keep a look out for our upcoming specials!





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Wranglin’ Notes

January 31, 2012 by Jeff Way

The annual Wranglin’ Notes will be going out via e-mail to all of you who have signed up to receive our e-newsletters and e-mail updates.  The printed version will be in the mail soon!

Our winter bed & breakfast is up and running.  The dinner and brunch menus are now available online.  Enjoy our Wyoming dude ranch this winter by joining us for dinner, brunch, or a night at the foot of the Bighorn mountains.





Tis the Season from our Wyoming Dude Ranch

December 22, 2011 by Jeff Way

                                        Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Here at the ranch we are gearing up for the Holidays. We have had a few months to catch our breath before heading into our second year of the Bed and Breakfast.    Hope you all have a safe Holiday Season. We are looking forward to what the New Year will bring.


First Day of November Brings First Snow

November 1, 2011 by Jeff Way

The barn with a fresh coating of snow.

It’s November and with it came the first snow! We are getting ready for Winter here at the ranch. Our 2011 Dude Season was great, thanks to all of our wonderful guests! We are looking forward to an exciting winter season, stay tuned for more information on upcoming events! Don’t forget to like our new fan page on facebook.

Wyoming Rodeo Week & Cowboy Polo

July 19, 2011 by Jeff Way

Members of the Eatons' Family at the Wyo Rodeo

Rodeo week is always an exciting time for both the guests and the staff here at Eatons’ Ranch.  The carnival, the street dance, and the excitement of the rodeo itself gives the staff a chance to get off the ranch for a little while and enjoy the nightlife of Sheridan.  Friday night was Eatons night at the Wyo Rodeo, in which the Eatons family made a special guest appearance.
It’s always great to get involved with big events like the Wyo Rodeo, but it’s fun for the ranch to participate in community events as well.  This last Sunday, the wranglers at HF Bar challenged our wranglers to a friendly game of Cowboy Polo at the Bighorn Equestrian Center.  They faced during the halftime of one of the Polo matches hosted in the afternoon.  In case you were wondering, Eatons’ Ranch came out on top!  Everyone had fun and is looking forward to the next matchup.  Check us out on Facebook for more pictures!

Nate Schmeiser fights for possession during the Cowboy Polo match

The Dude Ranch Season Is Upon Us

May 20, 2011 by Jeff Way

View from Rattlesnake Ridge

Opening day is just twelve days from now.  Our cleaning crew has been hard at work opening cabins since mid-April.  Summer employees are arriving almost every day to help get ready for the season.  All of our 51 cabins will be open and ready to go June 1st.  The cabins may be ready, but we will be hard pressed to get this Wolf, Wyoming dude ranch’s grounds all cleaned up by opening day if it doesn’t dry out soon.  It has been a very wet May.  We’ve had over 2 inches of moisture this week alone.  It’s hard to complain about the moisture, but with the cool weather that has accompanied the rain, we haven’t had much of a spring.

We start the season off with 20-30 guest the first week and gradually pick up from there.  June looks to be pretty busy, but if you haven’t made your summer plans yet we still have a number of openings in July and August.  The Sheridan WYO Rodeo is July 13th thru the 16th.  The WYO Rodeo is great family fun and we still have a number of cabins open rodeo week.    Space opens up in August after the 8th if you are looking for an end of summer vacation before the kids go back to school.  Also, for those of you who have never experienced a fall along the Bighorn Mountains you should definitely consider a September visit. 

Keep an eye out for updates about the Third Annual Wolf Creek Wrangle 10 mile trail run and 10K hike on September 24th.  We will be offering discounted packages around that weekend.  We will have more details in the coming weeks.

If you haven’t made reservations at our dude ranch along the Bighorns we hope to hear from you soon.  For those of you who already have reservations, we’re excitied about the new season and we look forward to seeing you all soon!

Spring Snow

March 31, 2011 by Jeff Way

Spring Time at Eatons'

Every time I plan to write something, another month has gone by and there is snow on the ground again.  We just received a spring storm that brought about a foot of wet, heavy snow.  Here at at the foot of the Bighorn mountains, we often get our heaviest snowfall in late March and April.  Hopefully we will actually have a spring this year.  It seems the past few years it has been cold and wet through spring, and then it goes right into the heat of summer.

There is much going on here at our Wyoming dude ranch this time of year.  Our cows are a little more than halfway through calving.  Atfer a rough start, the cows and calves seem to be doing well now.  Carpentry and refinishing work is under way in preparation for another season.  Soon we will have a makeshift crew arrive to begin opening cabins before guest season begins.

We have kept some cabins open this off-season for a small bed & breakfast business.  We have used word of mouth to advertise, and only a handful of people have taken advantage of the beauty, the peace and the quiet of Eatons’ this time of year.  Dining, however, has been popular since the end of January.  We offer dinner Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights as well as brunch on Sunday.  Mike and Marisa have done a fantastic job taking care of our dinner guests.

If you are in the area, we hope you will join us for a meal, a quiet night’s stay along Wolf Creek, or maybe both.  For those of you still deciding on a summer vacation, we hope you will consider Eatons’ Ranch.  We know you will be glad you did.

Meanwhile Back At The Ranch

January 27, 2011 by Jeff Way

Winter at our Wyoming Dude Ranch

It is peaceful here at the Ranch.  The beginning of a new season at our Wyoming dude ranch seems so far away when there is snow on the ground.  There is still much to do this time of year, but the days move at a much slower pace than during the summer.  New flooring is going into a few cabins, and some bathrooms will soon be remodeled. We have a few cabin roofs that will need our attention as well.  Every year we think we have caught up on improvements and repairs, but with 51 cabins and 90+ structures in all, there is always work to be done.

Bill, Karen, and Will Ferguson, along with Mary Eaton, Nate Schmeiser and T.J. Ferguson just returned from the Dude Ranchers’ Association Convention in Tucson, AZ.  While they were away, it was still business as usual for those back at the Ranch. Reservations are beginning to pick up, but there are a number of dates in July still available.  Join us for our Annual July Roping on the 3rd and for the 4th, we will be celebrating a Cowboy Christmas.  There are wonderful fireworks displays in the area and, depending on the weather, we sometimes have our own display on Howard Hall Lawn.  The Sheridan WYO Rodeo is July 13-16 and is a great event for the whole family to attend.

Our bed and breakfast is up and running with a few guests taking advantage of a winter escape.  This weekend, we are hosting an open house to highlight what we have to offer for winter accommodations and dining.  If you are looking for a little getaway in a beautiful location at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains, please contact us for more information.

Even with snow on the ground, we know the new dude ranch season here at Eatons’ is closer than we think. We will be hard at work between now and June 1st in preparation for the first guest’s arrival.  We hope to see you this summer!

Spring at Eatons’ Ranch

April 1, 2010 by Jeff Way

Is it really Spring? Here at Eatons’ Ranch, we follow the calendar very closely; not the particular days so much as the month and the season. When we flip the calendar page to March, we know there will soon be new calves on the ground and that spring is right around the corner.

Today is April 1, so we are officially eleven days into spring. This is hard for us to believe as it doesn’t seem we had much of a winter. We certainly had our share of cold weather through January, but it has been relatively mild since, and unfortunately we have had little snow. If one of our longtime guests was still able to call us about the snow pack, we wouldn’t have much to tell him.

Spring along the Bighorn Mountains can seem like winter in most other places. We typically get the majority of our snow in April, so maybe it is still on the way. It is hard to complain about this weather as the mild temperatures are great for calving, and we can get a head start on outdoor projects before the season begins.

One thing I have learned over the last 15 years is that nothing is ever good enough for ranchers when it comes to the weather. Mild dry temps are good for the calves but can be bad for the hay crop. If it does rain, it usually rains too hard to soak into the ground and much is wasted in runoff. If you have good moisture in the spring and a lot of grass to follow, then the fire danger increases as the hot days of August roll around. We can be hard to satisfy because there are so many variables at stake!

Much like everyday life, nothing goes exactly the way you want it to. There are so many things that are out of our control, and the weather is often the least of these. One thing we can control here at Eatons’ Ranch in the spring is our preparation for another guest ranch season. Before we know it, the calendar will read May 29th and we will be welcoming new and familiar faces to our home in the Wild West. We hope you can find some time to join us and enjoy a dude ranch vacation like no other. We would love to share with you our way of life and give you a true western horseback riding experience.

And we promise not to complain about the weather.