Changing of the guards

By Steph

At the end of every season, we say goodbye to a number of our wonderful staff who came to the ranch for a season (or more) and are now moving on to their next adventure in life.  It’s always a mix of sadness to see them go, but excitement for their next steps in life and continued growth.  And then we start looking forward to the new arrivals to come in time to prepare for our next season.  That is the life cycle of a seasonal business.  There are a few of us who stick around to become what we call “lifers”, but that is only a select few who are in a place in life to be here for the long term.

This spring we say goodbye to some really outstanding members of the Vista Verde team, who have made a commitment of leading one or more of the departments at the ranch.  Closest to my heart is Melissa, who has been my life saver in the office the past 2 years.  She has run the office with grace and ease, overseeing all the reservations, communications with our guests and the many logistics that need to be managed to keep the ranch running smoothly.  She moves on to explore new career options in Austin, TX.  Another one near and dear is Jess, our amazing red-headed, wine-serving, white table cloth slinging dining room manager.   After several years with us at the ranch, Jess will be heading off to further her education with a dual masters degree in teaching and fine arts & creative writing in Spokane, WA.

The kids will be crying when they learn that Carson has finally decided to move onto his next venture.  He started as our ace dishwasher, then became a ranch hand, then managed our kids program before finishing out his time at Vista Verde managing the ranch hand department.  But, the kids always remember and know Carson as “the funny guy” and the one who they vied for his attention.  Carson will be jumping on a motorcycle with John I., and heading to Kodiak Island, AK to hop aboard a fishing boat for the summer.  They were looking for a new experience, and they definitely found one!  That leads us to sending off John I., our ace wrangler with the big smile.  He’s trained our horses, been the farrier for our horses, led the wrangling crew the past 2 seasons, and played a role in the Farwell Mountain Boys band, always with that great big smile on his face.

After spending 4 years in the kitchen, most recently as our Sous Chef, Vinny is packing his bags and getting behind the steering wheel for an epic road trip around the Western US.  Having grown up in Steamboat Springs, he’s excited to be touring and exploring, looking for a new place to call home and further his culinary experience.

Lastly, we send off the ever charismatic and entertaining Terry.  He’s headed to the warmer weather of Texas to dip his toe back into the waters of the show horse world.  Terry’s been an integral part of our team for the past 6 years helping us grow our breeding program, and he has taught so many people the finer points of horsemanship.  And, he’s never been at a loss for words, jokes or stories.  We will miss his laughter and love of horses, but know he’ll be bringing a lot of joy to folks in Texas.

Along with these great folks who have contributed to the “betterness” of Vista Verde in so many ways, we say goodbye to some of the great people who made Vista Verde their home recently.  Maureen, Heidi, Annie, Maddie, BMac, and Steve J.  It’s always a blast sharing this place with new people, watching them grow over the course of the seasons and then sending them off with our best wishes for new adventures.

Although sad to say goodbye, all of us here embrace the excitement and enthusiasm the new managers bring to the place.  Malori has been training all winter to step into Melissa’s role in the front office.  Bubba will be handling the fine china and taking over managing the dining room crew.  Brandon will be picking up the reigns to lead the ranch hand crew (don’t worry, he’ll still be guiding fishing trips this summer!), and Nathan and Mandy will be teaming up to oversee the horse program.  These folks have all put in their time learning the ropes, understanding our business and are now ready to step up in their responsibilities.  We’re revamping our clinics, adding new ones, making plans for the next breeding season and lining up the young horses to get a great base of training this summer so they can start moving into the riding herd soon.  Pretty soon some of these young horses who our guests enjoyed as foals will be steady trail steeds, ready to take you out into the mountains of Colorado.

With our heartfelt thanks for their contributions to the ranch we send off these folks to leave their mark in other places, and can’t wait to hear the tales of their new lives in the real world.  And we look forward to the excitement, new ideas and energy that our incoming managers bring to their roles for the upcoming summer dude ranch season.  Let’s Ride!