Ben would be one of the more obvious ones to spotlight over this past year, but he was never in the right place at the right time for me to catch him for an interview. For those of you who have been to the ranch, it’s hard to not know and love Ben. Officially, he shares the General Manager job with Dace. Unofficially, he’s the coffee and eggs guy. You can always count on Ben to sit down for his favorite meal with a big cup of coffee and share great stories about life at the ranch, oh, and maybe some opinions on sports too.
You see, Ben is not only a cowboy, he’s a sports fanatic. Raised in New Holland, PA, Ben was the youngest of 5 siblings, and the youngest of 49 grandchildren. Yep, you read that right. Growing up with all those kids, he had to be athletic to survive. Those skills took him to college where he studies marketing and was an All-American soccer player and track star before moving on to play pro indoor soccer for several years. After hanging up his cleats, he remains a sports fan so when he’s not ranching, you might find him cheering on the Phillies, Eagles and Flyers.
Back to the ranching side, Ben worked at Lost Valley Ranch, another Colorado dude ranch, for a number of years in the 90’s which is where he crossed paths with our own Dace and Terry. He left briefly to attend Denver Seminary school, receiving a Masters in Youth and Family studies. During that time, he met Holly and finally convinced her to marry him in 1997. Their marriage began with Amanda (now 21 and at college) and Chelsea (now 18 and about to head to college) as their flower girls, and later they added Annie (now 12) and Jack (now 9) to the family. After working as a Youth Pastor in Denver for 7 years, Ben returned to Lost Valley Ranch where he crossed paths with Jerry and Peggy shortly before they purchased Vista Verde. The rest is history as he and Dace teamed up to come to manage Jerry and Peggy’s new ranch.
In the midst of his juggling act of family man and dude ranch manager, Ben tells me he absolutely loves being here – he loves the people, the natural surroundings, and the activities. He loves that his family gets to live in a place like this. It’s pretty obvious Ben feels this way, although he left out how much he loves to go out on a horse and play with cows. And, he’s become quite the ski guide. It’s a rough life, so it’s a good thing we have someone like Ben to live it. Hopefully you’ll all get a chance to enjoy some eggs and coffee with Ben one day.
“If I could change anything about my life, I would eliminate some moments of gross immaturity between ages 14 and 24. Some might argue that the time span needs to be greater on both ends. But, it helps me understand, forgive, and care about others knowing I need it myself.” Quote by the wise Ben Martin