My Summer on a Dude Ranch!

Hey everyone!  My name is Liz Overpeck and this year I am a senior in Hospitality and Tourism Management.  It feels great to be coming to the end of my college term but no worries, I have an extra semester!  During my time at Purdue, its been great to take advantage of so many work opportunities and educational opportunities as well.  I have two minors in Art & Design and International Studies plus I did two internships, one at Walt Disney World, and the other in China with the Shangri-La Hotels.  Needless to say, I’ve had a great 3 years thus far.

This past summer, I accepted a job in Lake George, Colorado, one hour west of Colorado Springs for all those who are unfamiliar with the west.  I worked for the Tarryall River Ranch, a dude ranch, as a full-time nanny for 5 children and as a 3-5 year old kids counselor.  Besides this, I helped in housekeeping (cleaning the cabins, etc.) and waitressing.  My weeks were spent playing with the children and meeting guests from all over the world!  The schedule for the summer went something like this:

Sunday:  Dinner with the new guests, then a guest orientation

Monday:  Breakfast, Horseback riding, Lunch, Horseback riding, Dinner, Line Dancing

Tuesday:         ”                    ”                    ”                ”                           ”    Cowboy Singer visits the ranch

Wednesday:  the guests have the opportunity to White water raft for the day!  (if not they stay at the ranch and do the normal schedule), then Barn Dancing!!

Thursday:  Trap shooting in the afternoon, if not, the normal schedule. Lemonade stand in the afternoon

Friday:  Normal Schedule, After lunch the Ranch RODEO! Guests would ride their horses around poles and barrels, and the wranglers would finish off by demonstrating the Pony Express. After dinner, the ranch farewell party happens when staff present a skit and our individual talents to the guests.

Saturday:   Cowboy breakfast, which entails guests riding their horses into the mountains and eating breakfast of heart-attack potatoes, eggs, bacon, monkey-bread, and many more goodies.

My schedule varied from this somewhat because in the morning, from 6:30 to 12:30 I was cooking for, cleaning up after, and playing games with my kids.  The ranch life was very secluded from cities and “normal” things.  It was a very interesting place to live for 3 months and I was able to visit and hike so many places, including camping on and summiting Pike’s Peak!  This was a great part of the summer, besides making five new best friends from ages 4 to 11.  Don’t be afraid to go have an adventure while you are at Purdue.

BOILER UP!

See you around.

— Liz Overpeck, Hospitality & Tourism Management

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