Our final push before the ranch opens is a combination of ironing out the details, finishing big projects and letting everyone know just what it means to be part of the Bar Lazy J family. It’s not just all hard work—there’s plenty of “play time” as well!       The Thursday before, our ranch once again hosted the Dude Rancher’s Association Wrangler Certification. Cheri started this day-long program many years ago when she and the DRA thought it would be valuable to both the ranches and their staff to have standardized training about what sort of skills and knowledge wranglers would need to have and be able to teach to their guests and provide a safe environment for staff, guests and horses, too. Not only did they find the conference great for teaching purposes for new wranglers, but also allowed even seasoned staff to learn from one another’s experiences and situations that may come up on the trail or at the barn that they hadn’t experienced before. It’s a fun day filled with lots of laughing and lots of cowboy stories—that’s for sure! And it’s our great honor to be the hosting ranch and have Cheri, Lauren, Chad and Tammy as instructors. IMG_5529IMG_5530 Our wranglers were shining bright! IMG_5531      Jeff (aka “Red”) is with us this year as a kid’s wrangler and his fun sense of humor is perfect for lots of laughs on the trail. Lee (right) is joining us for his first year also as the Ranch Hand which means you’ll see him both on the trail and doing a lot of the manual labor around the barn like feeding the horses and cleaning pens with the Bobcat. He’s from Texas so be prepared to get a “yes ma’am” whether you’re 6 years old or 60! IMG_5533IMG_5527IMG_5536IMG_5541IMG_5537IMG_5545      Our Kids Program Coordinator this summer is Miss Morgan and she is as dynamite as they come! Here she is giving the ranch kids a lesson in gardening just 2 minutes after meeting them. Our staff go above and beyond and Morgan has already exceeded our expectations and those of our guests. We are SO happy she is with us and can’t wait for you all to meet her! IMG_5606      We work hard but we play hard, too. Every Spring, the Friday before we open, the ranch hosts a Block Party to invite our local friends and neighbors who we do business with and are part of the ranch “behind the scenes” year round to some good food and drinks with us. It’s our first official meal given by the ranch and we ring that ranch bell for the first time! The place is packed! IMG_5607IMG_5608IMG_5611IMG_5612      If you’ve been to the ranch, then you’ve used “Wayne’s Washroom” and seen “Aunt Lizzie’s Ranch House”—so allow us to introduce Uncle Wayne and Aunt Liz if you don’t know them already. They have been a part of this ranch since it first opened and are long-time friends of Jerry and Cheri. Every year they come help open the ranch and you’ll find their pictures on our staff board—they are a beloved part of our ranch family! IMG_5614      Jerry with a few of your cowgirl wranglers this summer and on the right are Gary and Patty—more of our extended ranch family! (We thought they deserved a photo in their fancy duds in addition to the work photos we posted before.) Beneath their picture on the left, are Jeff and Denise who come all the way from Europe to also add their working hands with ours the week before we open. And there’s Miss Angie on the right. Who else has guests that come a week early to help work and get the ranch open BEFORE they stay as regular guests??  We are so fortunate to have them love us and this ranch and we love ‘em too! IMG_5617IMG_5623IMG_5649IMG_5618IMG_5634IMG_5629IMG_5644IMG_5656IMG_5658IMG_5664IMG_5680IMG_5672 Zip-lining with the staff! IMG_5710IMG_5715IMG_5727 The wildflowers were just starting—just WAIT ‘til you see all the more recent pictures! They’re unbelievable! IMG_5721      Then Saturday was full of meetings in the afternoon and then it was off to get cleaned up because the ranch was headed to town! We were fortunate to be hosted by Grand County’s newest restaurant and only Italian venue around and WOW—we can attest that these folks are the real deal. They weren’t even officially open yet to the public so we got a sneak peek at what they will be offering. What a wonderful evening with amazing food, excellent service and incredible views! THANK YOU Mustachio’s on the Lake –we see a long term relationship in our future! IMG_5744IMG_5748IMG_5751IMG_5752IMG_5759IMG_5767IMG_5773IMG_5763IMG_5764IMG_5766IMG_5775IMG_5776IMG_5784IMG_5794IMG_5792IMG_5798IMG_5800IMG_5802IMG_5808IMG_5818 Sunday morning we all woke with a smile on our lips and a skip in our step-- the Bar Lazy J was officially open for 2013! IMG_5842 See you all soon!