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Welcome to Our Patch of Heaven!

Howdy friends! In honor of our 100th year in operation (it's incredible!), the Bar Lazy J is going high-tech! Now not to worry--there's still none of that allowed here while you're on vacation, but while you're away and anxious to keep up with what's going on (or you just need your "ranch fix"), come check in on our ranch blog where you'll find hoards of photos, we'll follow our staff and you'll hear all the latest happenings first! Of course reading about it isn't nearly as good as the real thing, so we hope to see you out on the trail real soon, but until then, check out what's happening and leave your comments--we love to see that our friends have stopped by! Happy trails everyone!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sharing the Love.

      Howdy folks! As hard as it is to believe, there are just a few more weeks left in our season this year and on top of all the wonderful returning friends we’ve been able to see again, we’ve welcomed SO many new families into our ranch circle. There’s nothing quite like seeing a child experience the ranch for the first time. Every day is a new adventure and watching them build confidence, share our love of the outdoors and gain an appreciation for traditions of the western way of life is the most satisfying part. Check out some of the photos from our last two family weeks.

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      Crafts are always a fun way to unwind after a ride. Between this one and the leather crafting, we typically ended up with many of the teenagers and staff joining us to make their own as well. We love western craft parties!

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    Rehearsing for our major Friday night production. Pretty sure we’re on track to be nominated for some Emmys with this crew….

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On the trail!

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A smart dog can find shade even in the sage.

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      We’ve been getting lots of good rain, making the river variable levels, but the fishing has still been great. Even our professional fishing guide brings his own personal clients to our stretch of the river. One of our guests reported catching 25 one morning! Now THAT’S a great way to start the day!

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Time to share some love with the petting farm animals! (One of our favorite times of day.)

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Hay there kids!

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And those hair clips we made look good on our horses, too!

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     A big shout out to the awesome PATTERSON family who joined us for their family reunion! The GREAT thing about bringing the whole family is that there is something for EVERYONE—whether you’re into the riding, fishing, hiking, zip-lining, or ya just want to RELAX by the river or sun at the pool. We love being able to offer a unique vacation to every single family member. And heck, with our horsemanship program, you may even find you actually DO enjoy the horseback riding like several folks did this week! Where we really shine is helping you work WITH your horse to have an excellent partnership and ultimately rewarding experience at any pace—walk, trot, or loping up the mountainsides. Several of our guests ensured us they were not going to ride and then ended up loving that part the most!

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Then we told them to pose for a serious photo. (You can see these guys weren’t ANY fun at all, right??)

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      A few more shots from the week. We had another awesome group of teens this week and one of the greatest parts is when the majority of these guys and gals have been coming with their families since they were small kids! We’ve watched so many of them grow up and are honored to be such a huge part of their childhood memories. As we welcome the next generation of kiddos, it’s so fun for us to be able to watch these young adults still enjoying the technology-free fun of the ranch.

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   Speaking of young adults who grew up spending their summers with us, we are truly blessed to have some amazing interns who come help us every season. We introduced Allie at the beginning of the summer, but Tessa here, came the day Allie headed back home and worked full time at the barn for over a month. Our interns are guests who’ve been to the ranch for several seasons, have expressed an interest in working at the ranch full-time when they are of age and are interested in seeing what all is involved in the line of wrangler duties. And they can tell ya—it’s not just riding horses all day! These gals put in some major sweat and muscle into giving our guests a fantastic experience both on and off their horses and we can’t thank them ENOUGH for their hard work, willing attitudes and beautiful smiles down at the barn every morning. We most certainly recognize they could be home goofing off for the summer instead if they wanted. They are a TREMENDOUS help to us and we can’t WAIT to have them as full-time wranglers in the near future if that stays in their plans! (We love you Tessa!)

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And then when they are official staff? They can go do stuff like this.

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   Wait. What is THIS? Are you ready to see some of your favorite Colorado cowboys and cowgirls a bit out of their “ranchy” element? Don’t be afraid. It’s not like we went to the big city or anything. (Much to risky.) But we DID head up to the metropolis of Grand Lake for the BBBs—Bowling, Beer and Bizza. (We call it what we want for the sake of our own amusement.) We possibly amused others as well with our large, boisterous group—but how can you not love folks having this much FUN??

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Of course….they can’t ALL be sunshiny moments….

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But that always leads to some good teaching moments as well.

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      And you see this adorable couple? Cory here has been associated with the ranch his whole life pretty much. His grandpa has performed the western entertainment for as long as Jerry and Cheri have owned Bar Lazy J and Cory used to come with him when he was younger. Cory began helping us with some horse training last year part-time and this season, we were able to offer him a full-time Ranch Hand position and what an absolute JOY it’s been to have him at the barn. Our guests have loved him as much as we do and THIS lovely gal is his fiancĂ© Ashley. We’ll be posting pictures from their western wedding very soon!

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How’s that for a mean looking bunch??

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      With the weekend over, we headed into our final week of kids and it was a GREAT ONE!! Once again, there were lots of new guests to experience the magic here for the first time and that’s a precious gift to carry with us all winter and holds us over to the next season. (Of course, with that being 9 months away, that had to be a LOT of magic—but we pulled it off!!)

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But as always, while the kids are having their fun, the big kids are at play as well!

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You know what the hardest funniest thing about Cow Soccer is? Imagine maneuvering a ball with a mind of its own…

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Next, make there be numerous balls--and THEN you have a real game!

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You will both cheer and lament, but you WON’T f-o-r-g-e-t it. That’s a promise!

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Out on the (shooting) range, the cowboys and cowgirls are working on their rifle skills—an important part of handling yourself in the Old West. Whether it be for food or for defense, guys and gals of all ages needed to know how to safely work a firearm. 

225Of course, now without the “survival” aspect, we are able to allow our cowgirls and cowboys to just enjoy a bit of sport shooting (just to keep their skills sharp.) And this range comes with an excellent instructor for those in unfamiliar territory.

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Are you ready?

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And she was! Nailed it!

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Bullets and boots! Now there’s a country song!

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And everyone did fantastic!

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Back out on the horses!

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Ummm…this would be a parent on the waterslide. Or rather—OFF the waterslide. 9.87 point score on that one folks!

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Chris reeling them in again! (And again….and again….nice job!)

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Of course, as always, the guests aren’t the only ones having a good deal of fun….

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    And a few wrangler pranks will always add a smile to your day. Like shortening your pal’s offside stirrup to jockey length. Often not noticed until he quickly gets on, throws that leg over the saddle and tries to slip that other boot in as he heads out for his ride. Surprise! Funny. Every. Time. (To the rest of us.)

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And sometimes you get little gems like this. We entitled this piece “Blue Bear”.

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No relation by the way to our horse “Blue Duck”. Totally different last names.

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Time for some horse perks!

Cowboy Hugs.

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Cowgirl kisses.

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And exclusive parking rights.

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       Alright, a few more pictures of some of the fun our last week! Would you believe the very LAST Wild West Showdown of the season was the only one to be rained out the entire summer?? But you’d better believe we had just as much fun moving our relays to the rec barn to determine the best of the west!

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What a posse!

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      One of our counselors had the kids help him with the Ice Bucket Challenge Saturday afternoon and what we didn’t know….

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…was that the rest of the counselors would inadvertently join him. Because although they had planned on getting pushed in the pool—they had NOT planned on the pool’s heater being turned off that day…..(whoops.)

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How bout some ice cream to warm ya up?

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Or matching Bucky Beaver Badges. Well-earned and proudly displayed!

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      Ok so we can’t reveal TOO much, but Laura, our lodge hostess, took it upon herself to come up with an AWESOME family game night we’re entitling the Hoedown Throwdown Showdown and after trying it with several of our family weeks, we’re considering making it a permanent part of our weekly activities. It’s been an absolute blast!! Not only will it test your skills and knowledge in a variety of ranch-related categories, but you’ll be laughing about it for weeks to come guaranteed. Here’s just a peek!

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      So as we head into our adult weeks, we’d like to thank all of the families who joined us for our 2014 season and who made this one extra special for us here at the Bar Lazy J. With each passing year, the more incredible folks we welcome here on the ranch, the more we look forward with hope towards the future of ranches all around the country. There are lots of choices for vacations these days. And it isn’t until you’ve taken a dude ranch vacation, that you can see what the true meaningful difference is between it and anything else you’ve ever done. No long lines. Not surrounded by hundreds of strangers. Not relying on technology to entertain young minds. Just a beautiful place, doing new adventurous things, with people you’ll refer to as family by the time you’re headed back home. It sounds simple. And it is. But that’s how we do it around here. Throw in the magic of this particular piece of ground and there is nothing more clear than why our guests return year after year.

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And we realize the importance of sharing it with the rising generations. If they don’t love it as we do—who will carry it forward?

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      May it never be lost in today’s fast paced world. We are so grateful for all the ranches world wide who devote themselves to passing on their love, passion and knowledge so that the legacy of this lifestyle will carry on to future cowboys and cowgirls.

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Thanks for making it possible Bar Lazy J.

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