The 2013 pre-season is well under way and with so many of our new staff arriving early, we are getting a ton done and are plenty ahead of schedule. Not to mention the weather has been fantastic and all that lovely rain and snow has everything budding and green, green, green. What a gorgeous Spring we are going to have! Can’t wait for the wildflowers….no doubt there will be lots of pictures.        Pre-season is a LOT of work. But it’s a LOT of good stuff as well. The new staff is coming in so there’s the fun of showing this place off and welcoming the newcomers into our huge, crazy ranch family. And it’s a beautiful thing to watch the ranch slowly awake from her winter’s rest. Little by little, with loving hands that dig, paint, plant, sweep, spray, dust and clean—she gets her Spring makeover….        Check out the redoes going on at the Ranch house. The upstairs bathroom is all complete and looks amazing. The master bath is next and is well underway! Derek Dulac, the lucky young man who snagged our Nancy Short, has taken this project on and Derek has quite an artistic touch. You’ll love all the custom trim and additions he’s done--can’t wait to see the finished project! IMG_4764IMG_4751        There are some new faces around here. That first one looks like a new face, but Dale just grew himself a beard—thinkin’ maybe we’ll start our own version of Duck Dynasty….you know maybe like “Dude Dynasty”…..(this counts as copyright if anyone is interested.) And that there is Mark in the hole. He’ll be wrangling those horses this summer, but during pre-season everyone does whatever is needed. And we like to let the new staff get the full benefit of doing every fun job they never got to do before. It’s part of “breakin’ them in”. Builds character. See the thumbs up? They LOVE it! Doin’ great Mark! IMG_4774IMG_4792        If you made it to the ranch last season, you’ll recognize Katie. She’s returning again this year, but will now be taking part as a kid’s wrangler. By the way the ranch kids are endlessly seeking her out (and saving her a seat), there’s no doubt she’s awesome with the little people. “Birdie” there in the middle will be part of your wrangling staff as well—we are already truly impressed with the quick and great work these guys all do. Not to mention they are all just plain FUN. It’s gonna be another great summer on the trails! IMG_4779        Charity and Kaila are also new this summer. Charity is lead housekeeper and sure knows her stuff. Kaila has been coming to the ranch for some time now. In fact, you might even call her “family”—cause she is! Kaila is Jerry's niece and she happens to be part of  one of Tammy’s favorite wrangling memories in her early years at the ranch. But that’s another story we’ll save for when you visit….We’re so happy to have these ladies here! They are kickin’ some tail getting your cabins ready and looking incredible. Hard to believe these buildings are as old as they are. They continue to age beautifully due to the loving care they receive year in and out. IMG_4780 Meanwhile…..Holy mammoth! Pita Bread is no spring chicken anymore, so the ranch kids are giving her a hand (and brush) shedding out that winter coat. That was one warm pony! We think she lost 20 pounds--and apparently both ranch kids in that pile of hair! IMG_4782IMG_4788        High on the pre-season list is checking out all the trails and making them ready for riders. As you can see, our Breakfast Ride bridge didn’t make it through this winter as well as other years. Beaver dams redirected the river flow and caused it to wash out. We took our crew to see what could be done, but it looks like an entire rebuild is necessary. A professional company will be coming in for that—safety first! (Hmmm…a diving board would be a nice addition this time around. We’ll see what the bosses say….) IMG_4807IMG_4797 Projects around the ranch! And we’re pleased to introduce Darwin here on the right! Another one of your wrangling staff this summer. You’re gonna LOVE her! We already do! IMG_4846IMG_5008 Uh-oh—here comes trouble. This rough bunch is heading in to gather the herd to bring back to the ranch… IMG_4859 …and there went the herd…. (Who gave away the surprise??) IMG_4861 No wait! They stopped long enough to let Jerry, Electra and Lauren grab a few and mount up. Then it was a big run into the catching pens. Our rush hour traffic is different than most people’s…………. (which one do YOU prefer?) IMG_4895IMG_4898IMG_4900IMG_4903IMG_4904IMG_4919IMG_4920        Meanwhile, Cheri and Tammy gear up for the arrival of the herd by prepping their annual wormer dose. Nothing says “welcome home” like a tube of wormer in the mouth--yum! Now many of you know the crazy and scary occurrences we had LAST year on this day, but we are happy to announce, everything went perfectly smooth and emergency-free! There were also NO dogs in the vicinity. (Do NOT let your dogs get into the wormer-- It can kill them! Miraculously, ours recovered in about a week after a coma and 24 hour life support. True story.) IMG_4924IMG_4958 Then-- in rolled the trailers! It took quite a few loads…. IMG_4927 ….and a lot of patience at times….. IMG_4931IMG_4964 …but we got them all done. Even the tall ones! IMG_4949 (Oh and uhhh…don’t make short jokes to Cheri. She does this…and you never see it coming. Feisty one that gal is….)                          IMG_4942 Look how happy they are to be home! A good scratch and a smile! IMG_4978IMG_4984          The rest of the week was spent getting water turned on, fixing fence, cleaning cabins and weeding gardens. But with all that hard work, we thought a little party was in order….. …but this was no ordinary party! We managed to pull off a SURPRISE party for Cheri in her own house. Is that a feat or WHAT? We’ve mentioned before that during the off season, Cheri coaches high school basketball, but you may not know that before she ever came to Colorado, she left a huge legacy of coaching track, cross country, basketball and swimming for both girls and boys over 22 years. All in all, Cheri has put in 78 seasons of coaching and the kids she has coached still talk about what an amazing influence she had on them and in shaping their lives. And we thought that deserved a little celebration….. IMG_5028        But the greatest gift was something special initiated by Cheri’s daughter Leslie who flew in for the special weekend. May 12th—Cheri’s birthday—has been officially name The Coach Amos Challenge Day. Celebrate the spirit and sportsmanship of beloved Coach Cheri Amos, by being active, promoting teamwork and supporting like-minded organizations. Then post your efforts, achievements, and ideas to The Coach Amos Challenge Facebook page on May 12th every year. Here is Cheri with her daughter Leslie receiving her framed flyer for the soon-to-be annual event! Even with just 24 hours advanced notice, once it was announced and the site was launched, there were quite a few avid challengers. Eventually we’ll be setting up a site where folks can post about what they’ve done to accept the challenge and to donate to two local non-profits in the name of their contribution. Those are Independent Sports Club –an organization dedicated to providing the youth of Grand County with opportunities to promote, support and sponsor their educational, athletic and social experiences -- and also the Troublesome Horse Rescue here in our county.  These are two causes Cheri is avidly in support of. We are lucky to have such a passionate and driven role model as one of our ranch owners. She will gladly talk horses or sports with you all day long and you can call her pro in both areas! Here are links to both these non-profits if your interested in more information:                  IMG_5067        So of COURSE that meant Leslie and Cheri had to accept the challenge themselves and they kicked off the 1st annual Coach Amos Challenge Day with a horse back ride through the Rockies! Picture perfect! IMG_5102 If you want to take the Coach Amos Challenge, join the page and let us know all year long what YOU do to stay active and work as a team! More of our pre-season fun coming soon! Plenty of new staff to introduce as well!