August 30th, 2021 by coveredwagonranch
August 2nd, 2021 by coveredwagonranch
Sometimes friendship really can save your life. Just ask Shawn. He probably won’t answer, because he’s a sheep, but at least it will be amusing for the rest of us watching you talk to an ungulate.
The story of Jack and Shawn really is quite dramatic though, with life or death stakes, shocking twists, true love, and a 4-H club.
Shawn started out as a 4-H lamb, destined to be raised up, shown at the fair, and sold for lamb chops. His buyer tried to get him into the butcher, but the butcher was full. A few weeks later, he was again turned away. Shawn’s life hung by the thread of supply and demand. Meanwhile, he was making fast friends with a very unusual partner.
Jack the Horse had recently lost his best horse friend and was feeling blue and lonely until Shawn came along. In the weeks after Shawn was bought from the 4-H kid, he spent all his time with a 16 hand, 18-year-old, piebald draft-paint cross. Soon they were inseparable. That’s when Kurt came along.
When he heard Shawn and Jack’s story, he knew he couldn’t separate them and allow Shawn to go to the butcher. So that’s how, after years of refusing to get a goat, he brought a sheep home to the Covered Wagon Ranch.
Unfortunately these star-crossed buddies only met more obstacles to their platonic love. All the horses at the ranch hate Shawn. He’s a fluffy weirdo. So sadly at the end of the season, Shawn will have to go away. To long time guest, Kendra Keating, who happened to buy a house that came with a few pet goats, so what better place for a sheep to go! Don’t worry, Shawn’s still safe, even if his unusual friendship is coming to an end.
June 26th, 2021 by coveredwagonranch
The Covered Wagon Ranch added four more fillies to their herd this spring.
Meet Monte, Stella, Zee, and Bailee!
Monte is a sorrel Registered Quarter Horse filly born in 2021. She is out of Angela Perry (Perry) who is by Jess Mr Perry (Mr. Jess Perry) and out of daughter of Dashin Val. Perry was Melissa’s good barrel horse before tearing her deep digital tendon. Monte was sired by Short Way Ta Fame who is by the nations all-time leading barrel sire Dash Ta Fame and out of a producing daughter of Shorty Lena. Shorty Lena is All-time leading Cutting Sire and All-time leading maternal Grand Sire, producing over $15 million in NCHA and NRCHA earners. Basically, little Monte has some big shoes to fill!
On June 3, Monte was born with a blood infection and spent her first two weeks at Montana Equine (hence her name) before getting to come home to the ranch. She is extremely athletic and super friendly.
Stella is a sorrel Registered Quarter Horse filly born in 2021. She is by Pistol Packin Perry who is a son of Mr Jess Perry SI 113 out of Takin a hike SI 99, daughter of Takin on The cash Si 109. Stella is out of Nikita Bueno Olena who is by Lynneas Lena by Smart Little Lena who was an NCHA Triple Crown Champion cutting horse and sire of champion cutting horses. He was inducted into both the AQHA and NCHA hall of fame.
This little filly looks a lot like Monte, but is a little more shy right now. She is a sister to Maya.
Zee is a gray Registered Quarter Horse filly born in 2021. She is by JL Sirocco who is by the nations all-time leading barrel sire, Dash Ta Fame. Zee is out of Jazzy Blue Bell, who is Uno’s sister and Dos’s dam. JL Sirocco was named the Number Two up and coming Stallion in Barrel Horse News.
Zee was named after ZZ Top and their song “Legs” because of her long legs. Blue Bell is notorious for passing on her stocky build and great confirmation to her foals and Zee is no different. Kurt and Melissa have big plans for this filly in the performance world and she is one of the nicest foals they have raised.
Bailee is a blue roan Quarter Horse filly born in 2021. She is by Leo Dally and out of Rita. Dally has sired lots of horses at the Covered Wagon Ranch. His colts are known for being blue roans and being very large boned and easy to start. Rita was Kurt’s best cow horse but had a tendon injury several years ago. She has been a broodmare ever since. Bailee was named after Melissa’s really good friend. Human Bailee wanted to buy the filly so Kurt figured she wouldn’t want to buy a horse with her own name! Bailee is very curious and in your pocket. She is a full sister to Logan, Dollar and Miranda and has the same sire as Gwen, Blake and Sass.
May 10th, 2021 by coveredwagonranch
Hello! We are excited to introduce our 2021 Staff to you. We have mixed the new crew in with all the familiar faces that will be returning to the ranch, enjoy!
Hello hello! Caroline here, ready for a beautiful summer of cooking for YOU, and soaking up the mountains! Originally from Virginia, Montana makes the 6th state in the past 7 years where I’ve been blessed to hang my hat. I’ve studied Anthropology, run bed & breakfasts, managed horse farms, cooked on ranches, worked in wildfire, and more- generally enjoying a life of adventure with my husband. My passions include baking, camping, horses, sarcasm, and making people laugh at my bad jokes. But mostly, I love encouraging folks to slow down and reconnect to what really matters- laughter, kindness, curiosity, wonder, the beauty & peace of Mother Earth… and really good french toast. I’m always humbled and grateful to have a hand in bringing people together around the table for good times and good eatin’! You can catch my black & white appaloosa- er, great dane- Deacon napping in the sunshine, being my shadow, or trying to sneak a sit on your lap for some pats. Cheers, friends!
Have no fear, the best dishwasher is here! My name is Adam Albar, I am 18 years old and from Sandy Springs, Georgia. I plan on attending Baylor university in the fall of 2022 and becoming a member of the Air Force ROTC. In my free time I like to explore the outdoors. I look forward to meeting new people from across the country and spending time in the mountains.
Hey Y’all! Welcome to the Covered Wagon! This will be my second season at the CWR. Last year, I came to Montana with the intention of being here for a few months, but I never did end up leaving. There is just something about those mountains! Well, maybe it is Kurt’s fried okra and biscuits or Kirstin’s fried chicken (bless it). Either way, those are four of my favorite things. I also love traveling, being outdoors and am always down for a dance party or ice cream date with my two favorite little cowboys, Braxton and Sawyer. I look forward to meeting you or seeing your beautiful face once again!
Hello my name is Dan I was born in Wyoming and raised in Oregon this will be my third year at the Covered Wagon Ranch and it’s an amazing place with lots of things to see and do and people to me and friends to make and I am thankful for Kurt and Melissa letting my wife (who I met at this ranch) and I to work here this summer. I am looking forward to meeting everyone and for all the returns looking forward to seeing you again!
Hey, my name is Kirsten Goodrick. I am the Executive Chef for the Covered Wagon Ranch. This will be my third year at the Covered Wagon. I grew up in a large family and have always enjoyed cooking, baking, camping, and anything to do with the outdoors really. I love cooking for people and sharing some of my families recipes. I can’t wait for another great year with my husband, Dan, at the Covered Wagon Ranch.
Hi! My name is Kiana Roylance and I’m excited to be working as one of your wranglers this summer! I grew up in the military, so I don’t really have a place I call home. The longest place I lived before I went out on my own was in Arizona and since then I’ve lived in Idaho for a few years (though thanks to my amazing husband, I truly call Charlo, MT my home). I didn’t grow up on a ranch and I didn’t even start learning to ride horses until I was around 10, but once I caught the horse bug, I haven’t been able to stay away. I initially learned to ride English on the east coast and eventually I learned Western when I came to Arizona. I have since competed and trained in 4H, FFA, jumping, and rodeo events. I am a certified EMT and CNA and I just finished up at horseshoeing school. I have trained and sold several project horses over the past few years and I started training for the public in 2019. My goal in life is to move back onto my husband’s ranch in Montana and help work the cattle and grow my own horse breeding and training business. I am very passionate about all aspects of horses and I can’t wait to share all of that with you!
Howdy! My name is Gabrielle Morgan. I go by Gabby, but you can call me whatever you want. I was born and raised in a small town called Newnan, Georgia. I have a strong passion for all animals and exploring the outdoors in my free time when I’m not at work. I also work at the gym “Onelife fitness” and I have a strong passion for lifting weights and working out everyday to keep myself healthy. This is my first summer spending it at Covered Wagon Ranch. I am very excited to have this opportunity to work with everyone on the ranch. I’m looking forward to meeting new faces, exploring the outskirts of Montana, and keeping a smile on everyone’s faces to make their vacation as memorable as my summer here on the ranch will be. (Fun Fact, Gabby is the niece of Kurt’s best friend, Skeeter!)
In Oregon born and Florida raised,
Movin’ around I spent most of my
Flipping omelets first,
Then selling tools,
I was having no fun, felt like a fool.
Something’s not right,
said to my lil sis dear
So I hopped in my car and drove out here.
Well I guess I won’t get rich,
But I’ve found the life for me
with my dope cat Al and my pup Sammy.
Hello, my name is Malory. My friends and family call me Mel. I’m a born and raised Southerner although I like to pretend I’m a Northerner. I grew up in a Christian home with 6 siblings; two brothers and four sisters. At my house we don’t have silence; especially not with 7 nieces (plus one on the way) and a nephew. I’m currently working as a nanny watching 4 rowdy boys. They definitely keep me on my toes. Since I was a kid I have loved animals and always said I was going to be a vet. I love anything outdoors, whether it’s hiking, camping, volleyball or just hanging out in my hammock with a good book. I love just hanging out with people and laughing until my stomach hurts. I have always wanted to work on a ranch and this year was the one that I decided to do it. I can’t wait to work at Covered Wagon Ranch and make so many friends and memories!
Hey there! My name is Kristy Jo, and I’ll be coming from Oregon to be your housekeeper this season. This is my first time working at a guest ranch, and I can’t wait to get started! I love reading, writing, being outside, and learning new things. I also enjoy old movies and music and Old West history, and I can talk forever on those subjects if nobody stops me. 😉 But even more than talking, I like listening; I love to hear people’s stories. And I can’t think of a better place to hear stories than around a campfire under that big Montana sky! Hope to see you there.
The beginning of 2021, a fire was lit under me and boiled impatience for my pre-veterinarian goals. Realizing that I was more of a gritty go-getter than an A student in pre-med classes, I decided it was time to finish my bachelors in Animal Science with an emphasis in Equine Management and Production rather than continuing to pursue a field that wasn’t meant for me at this time in my life. The University of Georgia has given me incredible opportunities and allowed amazing people to cross my path, but I am ready to start a life doing what I love. My call name during my time in Colorado was “Punchy”, although most everyone referred to me as “that Georgia girl”; however, I go by Dani. I am eager to get started at Covered Wagon and look forward to making new connections.
Saddle up Buttercups & get ready for a ride! Lucky for you fine folk this ain’t my first rodeo, I’m in the short go riding out year #3 at the Covered Wagon. On the ranch you can find me in my big flatbrim hat (for Kurt’s sake look up Miss Clara Allen), riding Shiloh (maybe Blake), eating Mac & cheese with the boys, or you won’t find me at all cause I have a habit of getting lost. Trust me, the “dead trees, big rocks, and glorified elk trails” are in no shortage in this backcountry. I love a good Wild West adventure though which is why this Masshole moved 2000miles away from home into grizzly bear territory. However, I am somewhat educated with a degree in Veterinary Science and work as a Veterinary Technician so yes I’m vaccinated……… for Rabies. Anyway can’t wait to meet y’all this summer and go out riding!
❤️ Amy G
Hi everyone, my name is Emily and I am from a small town in West Virginia. I am the youngest of four kids and have had a passion for horses since I could walk. I am a Certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist and love every second of making horses feel better and live up to their highest potential. My nieces and nephews are my whole world and I spend as much time at ball games and playing barbies as I can. I love to go on spontaneous adventures—last year it was skydiving in Virginia and this year it is working as a server at the Covered Wagon Ranch in Montana! I am so excited to meet and get to know everyone this year!
Hey there kids, HBB here back for round three! This winter has been an interesting one between shoeing horses (freshly educated in that now) and chicken farming (also freshly educated in that) but I’m ready to rock this summer! I grew up in New York, just north of the city and transplanted myself out here just about two years ago now but I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of exploring with y’all… so come on out and let’s go for a ride! Freddie is also ready for some of your leftovers and maybe some belly rubs 😇 -Sarah
Hi I’m Gabe, and I hail from Akron, Colorado in the flatlands. Got sick of not seeing the mountains so here I am, chasing after the HBB. I like to shoe horses, rope, ride and play with the dogs so I’m bringing my horse, Roan, and my dog, Cash, with me. I’m looking forward to being able to do what I love and ride with all of you this summer!
Hi, I’m Ashlyn. I’m a Southern girl from North Carolina! I’m from a family of 13 and I have eight brothers. So….I think being a nanny for Braxton and Sawyer is a perfect job for me. I love kids, all things outdoors, and adventure. I am looking forward to meeting the ranch family and their guests. See you at the ranch! (Fun fact-Ashlyn’s sister is Alissa)
Hey y’all! I’m Haley, and I am from right outside of Nashville, TN! My dad is retired army and we moved to TN from Hawaii when I was 5- I’ll never forget driving to Ft. Campbell and seeing people on horses trail riding… the rest is history! I rodeoed growing up, then went to ride for the equestrian team at MTSU where my coach told me to take another lap, that I “had a hunt seat and western contact,” and started putting me over fences. I also got to do some reining and honestly love all the disciplines! Most recently, I’ve worked throughout the pandemic as an ICU nurse… so ya girl was lookin for a break & the good Lord put CWR on my radar. I can’t wait to spend the summer at CWR with the crew doing what I love, meeting all of the guests, and exploring the back country of Montana!!
P.S. You’ll likely find Tuck, my ride or die, by my side at some point during your trip & he certainly loves all the love!!
March 1st, 2021 by coveredwagonranch
Meet the lady behind the phone and computer…Hannah
Tell us about yourself and what you like to do for fun.
Oh boy, the dreaded ‘tell me about yourself’ question!
I’m originally from the Southeast, but moved out here specifically to work at this ranch. Although I miss the South, I really love Montana, so I guess I’ll stick around for a while.
I live with a feisty cat named Alice and a geriatric yet peppy Jack Russell Terrier named Sammy.
When I’m not at work, I love to hike and go on road trips around the region. I’m really trying to get back into gardening and writing, two hobbies that I used to spend a lot of time at. I also watch a frankly shameful number of educational videos on YouTube (shout out to SciShow and Last Week Tonight, my go-to binge material).
Sometimes I like to ride horses. I’ve always been jealous of people who are really in tune with their steeds, but I’m also kind of embarrassed at how bad I am, so I try to sneak down to the corral when no one is around.
This is your fourth summer at the ranch, what keeps bringing you back to the Covered Wagon?
This is the most interesting job I’ve ever had as well as being somehow the most laid-back and the most challenging. I enjoy the variety of work I do, from giving tours of the ranch to entering receipts. I always tell Melissa that I’ll keep coming back until I find a job that I like better, and that just hasn’t happened yet. It also helps that I get four months of the most amazing food I’ve ever eaten, for free!
Melissa says you make her life easier; what do you do at the ranch?
Whatever I want! As for what I’m supposed to be doing… I take reservations, answer guest inquires through phone and email, give tours to new guests, and process check-ins and check-outs. I do a little bit of bookkeeping as well, by which I mean squinting at receipts and bills for hours to make sure they match. I also check to make sure the cabins are in tip top shape before guests arrive (not that I really need to after our awesome housekeepers get through with them).
What do you consider your specialty?
Brooding over all the embarrassing things I’ve said any given day.
Or if you mean from a culinary perspective, then peanut-butter jelly sandwiches.
What is something you are known for?
Ideally, most people don’t even notice me. But I think what I’m known for among my friends is my dry sense of humor and my aggressive reluctance to sing and play guitar with Kurt after dinner.
You love to play the guitar; can we find you singing around the campfire?
See the answer above.
You can find me singing around the campfire, if I’ve knocked a few back at dinner. Otherwise, I have a sore throat… *cough cough*
Where is your favorite place to hike?
So far, the coolest place I’ve been hiking (in the Gallatin Canyon) is Lava Lake. It takes three to four hours round trip, which is about my max, but I’m always rewarded with a very relaxing lake-side siesta. I also like driving down the Taylor Fork Road or into Yellowstone and just wandering through the hills.
What is one thing people do not know about you that you would like to share that would help them to get to know you better?
I’m really shy and awkward when you first meet me, and it takes a long time for me to be comfortable enough to open up to people. Of course, I’m still awkward once you get to know, just hopefully in a more endearing way.
February 16th, 2021 by coveredwagonranch
Getting to know the Barn Boss…Sarah
Please tell us about yourself and your riding.
Well, I grew up in New York so I rode English and went to a summer camp where we jumped a lot. I never really showed but was more of a lesson kid who was way too quiet to make barn friends (little Sarah was a lot more shy than I am now).. When it was decided that this was a way too expensive hobby to have, I stopped riding for a while. When I was in college, I started back riding and working different places including a rescue, a Friesian farm, with a gal that worked mustangs and about everything in between. I got a lot of my experience this way and I am somewhat competent now but there’s always more to learn. In terms of my personal life, come to the ranch and I’ll tell ya on one of our rides 😉.
Sarah & Freddie
This is your third summer at the ranch, what keeps bringing you back to the Covered Wagon Ranch?
I love riding with guests, and the Covered Wagon is one of the best places to ride. We seriously do have some of the best riding you’ll find at a guest ranch. Becoming HBB kept me around too, as I’ve always shot for a management position. I’m constantly working to be better at my job because as everyone knows, when we’re at the ranch it isn’t really just a job but our entire lives! But Kirsten’s cooking, my little Loretty and a good place for Freddie and Hammy are the real reasons.
Meet Freddie & Hammer
What kind of rides can guests expect to go on while visiting the ranch?
Whatever they want!! We have soooo many rides that we can pretty much accommodate whatever rides people want to do—flat or steep, short or long, in the trees or out, or anything really. Kurto gets a feel for these things at breakfast.. Or maybe me or Melissa too since Kurto’s fixing to retire (although I don’t either of us can chew into the radio as loud as he can) But anyways yeah we only plan one day at a time so the world is your oyster at the ol Covered Wagon.
Who is your favorite Covered Wagon Horse and why?
My favorite Covered Wagon horse is the second most beautiful thing on the ranch (behind me), Princess Loretta Consuela Bananahammock. She’s been my girl since my first summer and let me tell you, she continues to challenge me every single day with her attitude but we get along alright and has truly become my go to. I’d do anything with her and probably survive on most days.
Sarah & her favorite mount, Loretta
What do you consider your specialty?
I try to keep it pretty real and will never be fake with people. Yes, it is my job to be nice to guests but it’s genuine because I’m very nice 😊. I love meeting all the guests and could sit and talk to them for days, but I also can get down to business pretty quickly if I need to. I don’t really think I have many specialties but I like to think I’m a pretty versatile person.
What are your goals or visions at the ranch?
My goal of every day is to have no incident reports and for everyone to stay on top of the horses they step on until they decide to step off. In a larger realm, I hope to give Kurt a reason have less anxiety during the season.
What do you like to do on your off time?
Hang out with Freddie, hike with Freddie, ski with Freddie, ride horses with Freddie… shall I go on?
What is something you are known for?
Freddie? He’s the star of every show. Other than that, at the ranch I think I’m known for drinking beer while trying to rope, giving horses weird nicknames, wrangling in my slip on chicken shoes, and packing my bikini to swim in lakes on lunch rides
Sarah & Ninja preparing for her lunch swim
What is one thing people do not know about you that you would like to share that would help them to get to know you better?
Come to the ranch, lets ride, and I’ll tell you all you want to know because I sure can’t think of a very good answer.
January 11th, 2021 by coveredwagonranch
EXECUTIVE CHEF KIRSTEN WEST
What attracted you to the Covered Wagon Ranch? Well, actually it was my best friend Danielle’s idea to go to Montana. Without her I probably would never have ventured outside my comfort zone and applied for the job. In fact, the first time she asked me if wanted to go with her I turned her down, I had a job already was kind of settled into a routine. But then one day I started thinking and I realized that the only thing holding me back was me. So, I took a leap and applied to work at The Covered Wagon Ranch. Best decision ever, I’ve learned so much since working there and have grown in so many different ways.
Why cooking? My mom started teaching me to cook and bake when I was pretty young, so it’s always been a big part of my life. We always sat down to dinner as a family. It didn’t matter of it was some huge, elaborate meal that took hours to prepare or ramen noodles, we sat down as a family every single night. So, to me cooking is a way of connecting with the people. There is almost nothing more satisfying than putting your heart into creating something for someone and then seeing people enjoy your hard work.
What do you consider your cooking style? That is a tough question, it is very hard to define my cooking as any one style: I like to try different things, and I want to keep going outside my comfort zone more and more and really test myself. The biggest defining factor in my cooking is authenticity, I like to make things from scratch whenever possible and I spend time reading about different ethnic cuisines and trying to use real ingredients. I do not believe in shortcuts. If I am going to do something, I want to do it right.
What kind of food can guests expect while vacationing at the Covered Wagon Ranch?If you come to the Covered Wagon you can expect to be VERY well fed! We do a lot of grilling and southern inspired food. Think home cooking meets fine dining.
What is your favorite thing to make? I do not think I can pick just one favorite, anyone that knows me knows I love making desserts. I especially love the precision of French style pastries. I love making chocolate eclairs and different kinds of tarts and cakes.
What do you consider your specialty? I would have to say my specialty would have to be a mini pavlova with lemon curd and berries! They are really fun to make and they look so pretty when there are done.
What are you goals and visions for the ranch? I want the food I make to bring people together. The most meaningful compliments I have received about my cooking were from people telling me that my food reminded them of something their mother or grandmother used to make. I want to bring people back to their roots and remind them of the simple pleasure of a good meal shared with family and friends.
What do you like to do on your off time? I love riding four wheelers in the hills, the faster the better. And snowboarding when I get the chance. I love long drives into the hills, exploring caves, and camping. I also enjoy reading ridiculously long books when I have the time. Les Miserables and Crime and Punishment are my favorites. What is one thing people do not know about you that you would like to share that would help them get to know you better? That I am not as serious a person as I seem at first glance. It sometimes takes me awhile to open up the people because I am shy (although I’m trying to be better at that) but once people get to know me, they realize that I am basically hilarious.
Kirsten with her Fiancé Dan (who is a Wrangler at the ranch)
They are getting Married 4/3/21
September 10th, 2020 by coveredwagonranch
Imagine the peaceful, quiet scene. The Lodge is all warm with Christmas lights.
Snow is mounded fluffy and clean all around. Fire crackles in the hearth.
Outside, the kids race their sleds down the hill to the barn.
Some folks are strapping on their snowshoes to explore trails around the ranch.
Later we’ll all go for a sleigh ride at the neighbor’s, just like in days of Yore.
For six days in December this can be your Winter Wonderland. When Christmas is over, the kids are bummed out, and the grown-ups are exhausted, everyone needs a vacation! Your stay will include sleigh rides at Elkhorn Ranch next door, snowshoeing, and sledding.
And on New Year’s Eve we’ll have “Dinner and Drinks”.
Even though we won’t offer horseback riding (the snow’s a bit deep for that), you can visit our four-legged friends in their winter pasture. We’ll be happy to give you a tour of the property.
Check out the details below.
Christmas Vacation 2020
At the Covered Wagon Ranch
Ranch open December 27-January 1st
Breakfast & Dinner included
10% discount for 8 or more people (maximum of 10 people)
Add-on options include: airport transportation, skiing, snowmobiling, dog-sledding, off-ranch dining, and more.
Aaaand we’re located less than an hour from the West gate of Yellowstone National Park, world-famous for its fantastic snowy landscapes.
Christmas Vacation Package Pricing
Each cabin has a wood stove and a bathroom between the bedrooms.
Group of 4… $4000
Group of 3… $3200
Group of 2… $2500
Party of 1… $1500
Rates are per cabin with a limit on the number of guests in each cabin.
A 30% deposit is required and the remaining balance is due 14 days before arrival.
No refunds will be given if cancelled within 30 days, no exceptions.
So book your Covered Wagon Christmas today!
August 8th, 2020 by coveredwagonranch
Good morning everyone! My name is Chief and I will be taking over this blog for the moment.
As you all know, we horses are the most important members of the Covered Wagon Ranch staff. And if I say so myself, I am definitely the most important horse (but don’t tell Fred I said that). I’m sure you’re all very curious about what life is like for a celebrity such as myself, so I’ll give you a little sneak peak into my world.
First thing in the morning, my caregivers wake me with a relaxing brush massage and a bag of oats. While they dress me I ponder the heftier subjects in life, like “why does grass taste so good?” and “how convenient is it that my caregivers have weird finger feet perfectly designed for brushing me and giving me oats”. Once I’m dressed, I wait patiently for my guest to meet me at the barn.
Out on the trail, I feel invigorated and excited to explore. Don’t let my bored and aloof expression fool you; deep down I love the trail. Sure, lounging in the corral is nice, but what is life without some honest work to bring meaning to your days?
Back home in the corrals, I head over to the local mineral lick to hang out with my friends and relax after a long day of hard work and fresh trail grass.
Finally as the sun sets, I cozy up next to my friends for another peaceful night in the canyon. And there you have it; a day in the life of a ranch horse.
June 25th, 2020 by coveredwagonranch
You want to visit the CWR, but maybe someone in your party isn’t excited by the idea of straddling a thousand-pound animal and riding into bear-infested wilderness. Fear not! Other options are available as well. From relaxing afternoons on the porch, to pulse-pounding whitewater adventures, there’s something for everyone in the Gallatin Canyon.
Fun and Games
In the rec hall, we have a pool table and Foosball table, while just outside you can play corn-hole or horseshoe, or try your hand at roping a dummy bull. On Friday nights, you can hit the dance floor to the smooth notes of a local band at our weekly cookout. For the kids (or kids at heart), we have a trampoline and a seesaw like no other. Finally, every evening you can feel like part of the family while sitting around the fire, cooking s’mores, and joining in an impromptu musical performance by the one and only Kurt Puckett.
Venture a little off ranch for adventures on the Gallatin River. During the spring months you can hop on nature’s roller coaster with Geyser Whitewater Expeditions in Big Sky. Once the river calms down in the summer, you borrow some of our tubes, drive up the road a bit, and float back to the ranch. Or if you fancy yourself a fisher, grab one of our poles and settle down on the banks of the Gallatin River or the Taylor Fork Creek, both within easy walking distance of your cabin. You can also rent equipment, or hire a guide through Gallatin River Guides in Big Sky for some more serious action.
Up High, Down Low
If you’re the squirrel monkey of the family then zip-lining could be the sport for you. Take to the canopy with Yellowstone Zipline or Yellowstone Aerial Adventures for climbing and gliding. Maybe you prefer to keep your feet on the ground; you are a non-rider after all. Numerous hiking trails of a variety of terrain and intensity can be found minutes from the ranch. One trail even starts right behind the Lodge and takes you up Benson Point for a great view of the canyon.
You’re on vacation, literally in sight of Yellowstone National Park. If you’ve never seen Old Faithful, the crowds are totally worth it. Pack a lunch and find a seat before the other tourists start crowding the boardwalk, and you’ll have a great view of the most famous geyser in the world. To get your souvenirs, visit the town of West Yellowstone, on the border of the park, and be sure to check out the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center for close encounters of the furry kind. Another good spot for shopping is Big Sky, just fifteen minutes up the road, home to the celebrity-populated ski resort. If you’re up for a bit longer of a drive, go ahead and explore Bozeman. If you flew in, Bozeman is not the small town you drove through to reach the ranch; that’s Belgrade. Located fifteen minutes west of the airport, on the interstate, Bozeman is home to a plethora of breweries and restaurants, and even has a pretty good nightlife scene for a small city. Be sure to visit the Museum of the Rockies while you’re there, especially if you have dinosaur-crazy kids (or adults).
So if you reserved as a non-rider and are now fretting over what to do… never fear. Check out some of the array of activities southwest Montana has to offer.
May 2nd, 2020 by coveredwagonranch
Hello CWR FAMILY! Wow, its hard to believe 6 months have come and gone since we closed the ranch. Kurt and I are delighted for the opportunity to welcome you to or back to the ranch for another great season! The Covered Wagon Ranch is a small ranch with a big personality! We are beyond pumped about the crew ‘line up’ this year! You will find a lot of familiar faces…one that will surprise you all (you have to read through)! Okay enough said let me introduce you to everyone including us!
Kurt and I own and operate the Covered Wagon Ranch. We are not absentee owners and take pride in working with our crew. Kurt was born and raised in north Georgia on his family’s farm. When Atlanta started to get too busy for his liking, he loaded two horses and headed west and landed at the Covered Wagon Ranch. Kurt has done every job on the ranch in the last 22 years (minus three years he was gone) and there is not anyone that loves the ranch more than him. You can find him first thing in the morning enjoying the fire and cup a coffee or in the evening with an IPA or bourbon on the rocks! He is filled with love and compassion for the outdoors, animals, Montana and our family. His favorite pass time is on the back of a horse but now days if you can get him out on a trail you have something on him as he says, ‘he is retired.’ In the off season he still enjoys helping neighboring ranches cowboying and loves to make a nice horse…. although he doesn’t ride much of anyone but Miranda these days! He is easy to talk to and by the end of the visit you will feel like you have known him your whole life.
Braxton is our oldest son (6 years old) and although he has had lots of obstacles in his short life there is not anyone more positive and happier in the world. He absolutely loves riding his horses, Two Ton and Harvey and just picked up roping-although he ropes Two Ton more than the steer. He is super adventurous and rides both his Motorcycle (Honda 50) and his 4-wheeler (Honda-90). He enjoys shooting gophers with his Papa T and lives to be outside. He is a known visitor of the campfire after supper and you will ALWAYS find him with chocolate and smores.
Sawyer is our youngest (3) and he has a big personality, a big imagination, a big storyteller and likes to turn everything into a song. Let’s just say he is a very expressive 3-year-old. We tend to call him his nickname ‘Halvie’ short for Halverson and last night he informed me “I go by Halvie, not Sawyer, just Halvie” He will make you laugh and your mouth drop with what he has to say. He is not into horses (yet) but is highly creative with the things he does. He has never met a stranger and be sure of it, he will take you on some kind of adventure!
And lastly there is me. I was born and raised in Montana and attended college here. I received my degree in Education but until lately the only person I was teaching was Kurt and his progress was limited! I grew up with ranching families in the mountains. I have a big passion for horses and am constantly challenging myself to do something else with them. I love to work cows, rope, barrel race and enjoy breeding and raising performance and ranch horses. We have two foals and two more due in the next month, babies are definitely my favorite! I am a certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist and love to make my four-legged friends feel as good as I do after a massage! Anything I can do on or with a horse makes my heart happy and keeps me sane. I love the Covered Wagon Ranch and the family you gain here. There is something extra special about this place.
AND THE PEOPLE THAT HELP TO MAKE IT GO AROUND!
Hello my name is Hannah and I’ll be the Administrative Assistant this summer! I was born in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Within a month of my birth, my family moved to Ruskin, Florida where I spent the next sixteen years. My family moved again in 2006 to northern Alabama, where I completed high school and obtained a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Montevallo. For many years thereafter I moved frequently about the southeastern United States, but I always dreamed of moving back out West. One day my sister got tired of listening to my pining and submitted an application for me to a little ranch in Montana. I have spent the three summers since at the Covered Wagon with my cat and sometimes-nemesis Alice. I keep Melissa in check and run the office while she is running around like a chicken with her head chopped off. I enjoy hiking and love to ride my favorite four legged friend Blaze any chance I can! During the winter months I engage in other occupations.
Hi, I am Sarah and I will be helping Kurt and Melissa run the barn this summer. This will be my 4th summer working at a dude ranch and my 2nd summer at the Covered Wagon. I am a transplant from New York, but I think the mountains make a better workplace than a building, so y’all are stuck with me! When I am not riding, you can catch me either hiking or skiing and just exploring. I am so excited for this season and to get to ride with new and old friends!
Saddle up Buttercup & get ready for a ride! Lucky for you fine folk this ain’t my first rodeo, I’m on round two here at the Covered Wagon and can’t wait to meet y’all this summer. On the ranch you can find me in my big flatbrim hat (which Kurt makes fun of), on a yellow horse (Kurt also makes fun of) or you won’t find me cause sometimes I have a habit of getting lost…… ohh well. I love a good wild adventure hence why this Masshole moved 2000miles away from home into grizzly bear territory. However, I am somewhat educated with a degree in Veterinary Science and am working towards my certification in Large Animal/Equine surgery. So you see not just another pretty face 🙂 but if you think ice cream and donuts are main course meals, we should be friends.
Until Warmer days under that Big Sky, ❤️ Amy G
Hi guys! My name is Shelby Miller and I’m from Kuna Idaho. This is my second year at the Covered Wagon Ranch and I’m so excited to be back. Horses are my passion in life, I grew up spending a lot of time in the mountains, showing horses, rodeoing and going to barrel races. I’m always trying to learn a little more and get a little better for my horses! I’m looking forward to meeting new people, seeing returning friends, and spending my season in some of the most beautiful country on earth.
Hi my name is Dan and I will be one of your wranglers this summer. I am one of 8 kids and was born in Wyoming and then grew up in Oregon. I logged for most of my adult life and last summer was my first year at the ranch. I chose this ranch because of the fact that it was all about family and I love that. I fell in love with the Pucketts right away and they grew on me. They are the best bosses I have ever had in my life and that is because they do not act like bosses! This is my second year here and I cannot wait to meet all the new people and the regulars.
Hi, my name is Kirsten West. I am 21 years old and I am from Washington state. This will be my second year at the Covered Wagon Ranch. I will be this year’s breakfast and lunch chef and I am super excited to be a part of the kitchen crew. I come from a large family and cooking has always been a big part of my life. So, I am excited to be able to do what I love. I am looking forward to meeting all the guests and spending time with new people.
Hi my name’s Jordan and I’m looking forward to another summer at Covered Wagon Ranch as your housekeeper! Originally from Missouri, I have been living in Montana and Wyoming on and off for the last ten years. I love the mountains and going on adventures with my dog Roo! I enjoy being outside skiing, kayaking, fly fishing, biking with my dog and just lying in a hammock. I grew up riding horses but really like to drive draft horses now and have been to a couple horse farming workshops. I have spent most of the last 10 years in guest hospitality working in National Parks and guest ranches. I worked for Kurt and Melissa in 2012 and so excited to come back this summer and meet the crew and all the guest!!
Hey y’all my name is Gianna Lanciani! I was born in Connecticut, raised in Virginia, and go to school in North Carolina…I am just making my way down south! I am a rising senior at East Carolina University where I am majoring in Elementary Education. I have been riding horses since I could walk and showing competitively up until going to college. Although I have been around horses my whole life, I’m new to the western world and very eager to learn! I am so excited to get to work with the kids this summer and combine my love for children and horses as the Kids Wrangler. My dog Bella, is a 2 year old Plott Hound mix and is the sweetest girl. She loves to go exploring with me and will give anybody and everybody tons of kisses. I am so excited to get the opportunity to work at the Covered Wagon Ranch this summer and meet everybody and make amazing memories!
Hey y’all my name is Bella Lovett and I will be your prep-cook this summer. I was born and raised in Georgia and grew up riding horses. During high school my family moved to Iowa to get back to my mother’s roots, and we sold our horses right before we left Georgia. After realizing just how much I missed being around these beautiful creatures, I figured what better place to go to than a ranch? I am currently in college, majoring in Veterinary Medicine and minoring in Sociology. Some of my favorite things to do include painting, cooking, working out, adventuring, and flow art! My family breeds European working-line German Shepherds and I have 9 dogs at home, plus the cutest Siamese kitty. I’m a big environmentalist, an extrovert, and sometimes too honest… sorry in advance?
Hi there, my name is Amelia Porter. I was born and raised on a small farm in Southern Oregon and grew up riding horses and raising livestock. I am the youngest of four kids and the only horse crazy kid out of the bunch. Within the past four years, I moved away from home, went to college for two years and graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Horticulture, and started a new job at a well-known veterinary clinic in the area. I enjoy spending my free time with my horses and dog, as well as barrel racing, roping, and trail riding. I am really looking forward to starting the next chapter of my life up in Montana and I am beyond excited to be a wrangler at the Covered Wagon Ranch! See y’all soon!
Hey, Y’all! My name is Alissa and I am from a small town in North Carolina. Inspired by many trips out west and a love for the outdoors, I am stoked to spend a season at the CWR! I grew up spending most of my days outdoors, and continue to love spending time doing anything outdoors, especially in the mountains! I love working with children, spending time with my family (there are twelve of us!), working with leather, learning new things, and meeting new people! I am looking forward to my time on the Covered Wagon Ranch and cannot wait to meet you!
Hey everyone! I am Meghan, I like people, deep conversations, and the color of sunshine. I make the best jokes around, though I may or may not be the only one who ever laughs at them . . .I can usually be heard singing (rather loudly) or having a solo dance party. I have the attention span of a chicken nugget, but that is okay because everyone loves chicken nuggets, right? I was born and raised in Missouri, and dream of someday traveling the world, practicing my photography full time. I will be your Server/Dishwasher this summer.
Hi! I am Lisa Costle, and I have the pleasure of being one of your wranglers at Covered Wagon Ranch this summer. I was born and raised in the heart of the Gallatin Valley an hour North of the ranch. From competing in barrel races on the weekend to roping in the arena, you will not ﬁnd me very far from my horses Sugar, Sienna, and Fox. When I am not working, I enjoy spending my time outdoors in the mountains hiking, skiing, camping, or kayaking. I cannot wait to show you the big sky country I call home and cannot thank you enough for allowing me to share my lifestyle with you this summer!
Hey ya’ll, my name is Karah. I am 23 years old and from the good ole peach state, Georgia. This will be my first year working on a dude ranch. I am exhilarated for the opportunity to work at The Covered Wagon as a wrangler this summer. Horses have been a huge part of my life for the past 15 years and being able to meet new people, explore new places, all while being on the back of a good horse sounds like a dream come true. I cannot wait to meet ya’ll this summer.
Hey y’all! My name is Elana, and this is my first summer at the Covered Wagon Ranch! I currently reside in the western suburbs of Illinois with my parents, twin brother, younger sister, and two dogs. During the school year, I pursue an education at the University of Colorado, where I hope to gain a degree in environmental science and business. I grew up spending most of my summers at a sleep-away camp in Wisconsin, where I learned many different outdoor skills. I am incredibly fond of hiking, biking, canoeing, and exploring. This summer, I am very excited to be a server and dishwasher on this ranch, and I look forward to meeting all of you!
And some how some way we talked this last one into returning to the ranch for his 5th summer! I know there will be a lot of surprised guests to see this one….
Hello my name is Roy, it is truly an honor to be coming back to the Covered Wagon Ranch for my 5th season. When Kurt asked me to come back, I pounced at the opportunity. I am truly dedicated to bringing positive growth to our culinary program. Last season I opened the Covered Wagon Ranch Cafe with help of our owners and amazing staff. The cafe is a fully functioning breakfast diner where we serve breakfast a la carte. I love our little breakfast cafe concept, it is so unique from what we were doing when I first came to the Ranch in 2016. This way we can cater to all types, and truly provide a luxury experience to our guests.
Last season we opened a new cookout concept on Monday night. This season we are going back to the old cookout at the Rec Hall with steaks, burgers, brats, hot dogs, and all the accompanying fixings on Friday nights. Monday’s cookout will be a Wood-Fired beef roast and catch of the day, all cooked on our custom Argentine-Style Asador. We are calling it our Margarita Mondays Meet and Great. Surf and Turf with Melissa Puckett’s hand-crafted Margaritas should really get your week off to a proper start.
In 2018 Kurt and Melissa bought me a wood oven and we have been doing pizza lunches with it. It was sad when some guests and staff would be out all day on the trail and miss out. So, I figured why not do it on Thursday nights when everyone is about to hit the rodeo in West Yellowstone, or live music in Big Sky. Artisan Wood-Fired Pizzas, Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, Sicilian Style Pizza, and an Italian inspired salad bar await you every Thursday night,
A Lot of people nowadays have dietary restrictions and food allergies. I tend to go a little out of the way for these individuals. I know how chefs are and want these guests to be blown away by their culinary experience here at the ranch. I love cooking for everyone from the vegan to the carnivore. It is an honor and a privilege to feed people life.
We hope you have the best spring and excited to see you all very soon!
August 31st, 2019 by coveredwagonranch
Every wonder what life is like at the CWR for the people who live and work here? Let’s take a quick look into the Secret Lives of the Covered Wagon Crew…
Our days begin early. Wranglers are at the barn around 6 to get horses ready for the day. At 7 we all meet at the Lodge for breakfast, where Kurt and Melissa lead our morning meeting, complete with the daily horoscope reading. After breakfast we all head off to work.
Of course, one of the great perks of working on this ranch is the food and the riding. All the crew are welcome and encouraged to join guests for our chef’s delicious meals. We also get to join guests on rides (for free!) on our days off.
Not everyone is a big rider, but we have plenty of other options for our free time. Yellowstone National Park is only a little ways down the road, hiking and fly-fishing in the Gallatin National Forest are phenomenal, and opportunities for white-water rafting, zip-lining, and more abound. Bozeman, an hour north, offers excellent dining and shopping, and is home to the Museum of the Rockies. There’s always the neighborhood bar as well, for those so inclined.
July 27th, 2019 by coveredwagonranch
Some things never change! Here at the Covered Wagon Ranch, we’ve gathered up plenty of cherished traditions in the past century, and are still creating them today.
Riding is our oldest tradition. Today we ride on hundreds of trails throughout the Gallatin Mountains. We keep our groups small and our rides personal, tailored to each guest’s Wild West dreams. Of course, happy horses make happy guests, and from a young a age we treat our MVP employees with respect and care. Our colts start training around two or three years of age, and are eased into the world of trail riding. At the end of their career, Kurt and Melissa find them the perfect retirement home to spend the rest of their days as fat and happy “pasture ornaments”.
Suppertime at the CWR is family time. Guests and crew all sit down together and pass the serving plates, just like we do at home. Which makes sense, as the ranch is a second home to many, and a second family too.
Rest and Relaxation
Second to riding, folks come to the ranch for some much needed self-care. You can find them tossing around horseshoes, toting fly-fishing poles down to the Taylor Fork Creek, shooting pool in the rec hall, or just lounging on their cabin porches. Most nights we pull the s’mores basket out to the fire pit in front of the lodge, and if you’re lucky, you can get Kurt to play his guitar!
Our guests create their own traditions when they visit us.
Mary aka “Grandma Bling Bling” always gets her Christmas card picture taken with the men of the crew.
Keith requests Twinkies and Scotch be left in his cabin.
Rick and Linda love to spoil Kara, aka Queenie, feeding her treats and welcoming her to their cabin.
Some guests always stay in the same cabin, every year, for decades, or ride the same horse or visit the same trails.
For some guests coming to the ranch is itself a tradition. David comes three times a season, Tiffany’s practically grown up here, and Bill and Lyn have been visiting for over thirty years.
What’s your favorite tradition at the CWR? What’s something you want to see become a tradition? Let us know in the comments section below!
June 23rd, 2019 by coveredwagonranch
If you take it slow and easy, you might just get a chance to meet the newest member of the CWR herd, Guy. He’s shy, but cute as a bug and getting friendlier every day. His favorite pastimes include prancing and bucking in the grass, taking long naps, hiding behind his mom Ojos, and playing with his best friend Freddy.
Little Guy has big shoes to fill though. As the grandson of Frenchman’s Guy and Mr Jess Perry, he comes from a proud line of high-performance horses. Guy’s great-grand-sire, sorrel Quarter Horse Mr Jess Perry, earned his keep as a champion race-horse and a prolific stallion.
Guy’s grand-sire Frenchman’s Guy also started as just a cute little “Guy”, born in 1987 and raised by the Myers in South Dakota. He lost one of his eyes in an accident as a colt, but still become a grand champion barrel and rodeo athlete. Frenchman’s Guy later became such a popular sire, with more than 1000 foals, that the Myers cloned him to keep his genes alive!
Never far from his side, Guy’s mama Ojos doesn’t let much faze her. But like her colt’s male relatives, she’s had plenty of experience working under pressure, a quality she inherited from her famous grand-sire, Poco Bueno. A black Quarter Horse, Ojos spent her younger days working cattle for Sitz Angus Ranch, where she raised her first foal Nikita. She overcame several injuries before joining the CWR herd. Now she’s happy as broodmare. If you see her with her ears back, don’t be alarmed; that’s just an old habit from her cattle days.
Kurt and Melissa plan on starting him as a two year old in hopes of him being ready for Futurities his four year old year and ending as a finished performance horse. Depending on his disposition, confirmation and what the future holds he may be kept a stud, but for now, he’s busy just being a cute stud colt!
June 4th, 2019 by coveredwagonranch
Meet our crew for the 2019 season!
Caleigh Check – Kid Wrangler (from 2018 season)
Hi! My name is Caleigh and I’m from Tampa Bay Florida. This is my second year at The Covered Wagon and there will probably be a third! I love horses and If I’m not exploring the mountains, I’m barrel racing my horse Hotshot in my free time. I can’t wait to explore new country and meet tons of new people. I’m excited to see what adventures are to come this summer!
Taylor Harrington – Wrangler
Hello everyone! My name is Taylor Harrington, and I will be working as a wrangler at the ranch this year. I am 21 years old and originally from Shelbyville, a small town in Northeast Missouri. I am very excited for this opportunity to work with people who share my passion for quality horsemanship. I am looking forward to meeting new people, exploring new country, and doing my part to make sure every guest has the most memorable experience possible! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!
Amy Grenier – Wrangler
Hey guys! My name is Amy Grenier and I’m a wrangler here at the Covered Wagon Ranch. This is my pup partner in crime Shep, he’s a rescue from the south. Born and raised on the east coast in Massachusetts, I am stoked to be out in Montana to experience this beautiful country and everything it has to offer. After graduating college with a degree in veterinary medicine I have worked as a Veterinary Technician for the Hospital for Large Animals at Tufts University. Horses have always been a passion of mine and I am very fortunate to be able to be making a career working alongside of them. When not in the saddle I am still outdoors snowboarding (I love the Snow!), hiking, fishing, hunting, you name it and I am always down for an adventure. Can’t wait to meet you all this summer at the Ranch!
Megan Barbas – Wrangler
I’m Megan Barbas. Born and raised on the Northshore of Massachusetts, I have always wanted to travel cross-country and try living in the West. My life has always revolved around everything to do with horses. My first pony taught me many lessons starting at the age of eight. Since then I have ridden in various disciplines; I love to have fun trying different equestrian sports. I am currently bringing along my young QH and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us. I am wicked excited to be a wrangler at The Covered Wagon and am looking forward to meeting so many new friends from all over. Cheers!
Sarah Corning – Wrangler
Hi y’all! I’m Sarah and I’ll be a wrangler this summer. I grew up in New York, but I say y’all because it makes me sound better. I’m 23 years old and I went to Tufts University. I’ve never been to Montana, but I worked on a guest ranch in Colorado for two summers and fell in love with the entire experience! I attempted to “get a real job”, but I’m not cut out for the office life, so I’m excited to continue my adventures as a wrangler. I love working with horses, but even more so, I love sharing my passion with new people. I can’t wait to meet you!
Tirzah Cadicamo – Wrangler
Hello everyone! My name is Tirzah Cadicamo and I am a 23-year-old from Southwestern Colorado. My passions are travel, wild places and horses. Because my ongoing goal is to be able to combine these interests whenever possible, I am very excited to be one of your wranglers this summer. I cannot wait to join you on horseback to explore another piece of this beautiful country.
Roy Stegall – Executive Chef (from 2016, 2017, 2018 seasons)
This is Chef Roy James Stegall’s fourth season at the Covered Wagon Ranch. This year as the Executive Chef his goals are developing new and exciting pastries, new and ancient techniques, and food that welcomes the soul home. Chef Roy James is originally from Southern California and has cooked all over the West Coast and Rocky Mountains. His cuisine has strong ties to Italian, Mexican, Argentinian, Southern, and Down-Home Country! “I truly love cooking everything for everyone. It’s an honor to feed people life.” At the Covered Wagon you can always count on cookie jars always being full, gourmet breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. “I believe in the Covered Wagon Ranch. Our mission statement is Come as a guest and leave as family. That statement is something I hold dear to my heart.
Grace Linnaberry – Breakfast/Lunch Chef
My name is Grace Linnabary. Although I have spent most of my life in central Ohio I have a passion for travel. I love backpacking for weeks at a time. I have seen every National Park east of the Mississippi and one day I hope to run a marathon in every state. When I am not on the road I adore serving people; it fills me with a sense of purpose. Rather than choose between these two lifelong obsessions, I am going to couple them here at Covered Wagon Ranch! I am elated to work under the ever-talented Chef Roy James. I can’t believe that I have the opportunity to live so close to national treasures like Yellowstone and the Gallatin River. I am going to savor every minute here this summer! If you see me in the kitchen or on surrounding trails I hope you feel welcome to ask me anything. I am looking forward to hearing about your adventure as well!
Kirsten West – Pastry Chef/Server/Dishwasher
My name is Kirsten West. I am twenty years old and I am from Benton City, Washington. I am the second child in a family of eight kids and only two of us are girls! I have only ever driven through Montana, so I am excited to spend my summer here. One of the things I am looking forward to is spending time with the horses! I enjoy trying new recipes and I will be working in the kitchen at the ranch this summer. I am really looking forward to meeting new people and making lots of friends!
Eli Ray – Server/Dishwasher
Hello, my name is Eli. I am from Cumming, Georgia. I came out to the Covered Wagon Ranch to work with the crew and learn new skills and bring them back to Georgia. I can’t wait to learn and grow with this crew and figure out who I really am. In my free time I like rodeos and being outdoors! I’m excited to meet all the guests and build friendships.
Hannah McConnell – Housekeeper (from 2017 season)
Hello, my name is Hannah McConnell and I am from Dawsonville, Georgia. I am 22 years old and will be a housekeeper this summer! My heart belongs in Montana and every year I keep saying I’ll stay! I am so excited for the upcoming experiences, memories and friendships that I will be able to create.
Danielle West – Alternate
Hello, my name is Danielle West. I come from the small town of Rindge, New Hampshire. I am 21 and I will be the alternate at the Covered Wagon Ranch this summer. It’s always been one of my dreams to work on a ranch somewhere out West, so this summer I get to experience one of my biggest dreams! I love animals, the outdoors and exploring new places. One thing I’ve never done before is gone white water rafting, so I’m hoping this summer I get to try it out. I am excited to meet you all and make some great memories!
Hannah Allen – Administrative Assistant (from 2018 season)
Hey, I’m Hannah Allen! This is my second year at the Covered Wagon and I’m so excited to be back! I grew up in Florida and have lived throughout the South, but spent the past year living in Montana where I got to experience my first real winter. In my spare time I enjoy writing, bird-watching, and chilling with my cat Alice. I can’t wait to see old friends and make new ones this summer!
Daniel Goodrick – Ranch Hand
My name is Daniel Goodrick, (Dan) and this is my first year at Covered Wagon Ranch. I am super excited that Kurt and Melissa invited me to come and help out this summer! I am 24 years old and love the outdoors and hard work. I have been a logger in Oregon for the past five to six years and love it. I have always enjoyed being around animals and have a love for horses. My experience with horses has always been riding in the mountains, hunting and having fun (all types). I was born in Evanston, Wyoming and moved to Oregon with my family some years later. I have one sister and six brothers my sister is the oldest and I am the oldest boy. I love adventures and hope you do too!
Dustyn Garland – Ranch Hand
Hey, my name is Dusty Garland. I was born and raised in Dallas, Georgia. I am 24 years old and looking forward to my first year at Covered Wagon Ranch. This will be a season of “firsts” for me… this is my first year as a ranch hand and my first trip to Montana. I am a genuine people person and love to meet new people. I am an entertainer at heart! I have been a member of the Rocky Branch Ghost Town and Pine Mountain Gold Museum performance group for the past 18 months. We performed gunfights and train robberies for school groups and cowboy festivals throughout the year. I am self-taught on the guitar and sing a little too. I look forward to making some incredible memories with new friends, learning to rope and just taking in the beautiful country-side!
Alexis Messner – Nanny
Hello my name is Alexis Messner. I am a recent homeschooled graduate and the oldest of eight children. My family and I live in the Tri-Cities Area in Eastern Washington. I am 18 years old and will be the nanny this summer on the ranch. This will be be my first time in Montana so I’m super excited! I’m so excited to get to know Melissa and Kurt Puckett’s little ones and have fun with them! I love horses so it’s always been a dream of mine to be at a dude ranch. I love nature photography so I’ll probably have a camera in my hands a lot. I love adventures and getting to meet new people!
February 25th, 2019 by coveredwagonranch
So, You Want A Schedule?
Let me explain one thing…. I am OCD, my husband calls me CDO because OCD isn’t in alphabetical order! And I am all about schedules, routines, my planner and what is happening next…but not on vacation! I get it you need a general idea of your plan for the week so I am here to lay it out for you, in hopes of you learning too that vacation is a time for you to let go of that schedule, let loose, have too many glasses of wine, laugh until your stomach hurts, meet new friends, reminisce with old ones, watch your kids ‘be kids’ but most of all a time to R-E-L-A-X and recuperate. Because I know what it is like to be a control freak and what is happening next, I am going to lay what a week at the ranch looks like for all those people that are like me and want to let go…. but struggle!
We are a small, authentic guest ranch with ten guest cabins. We have on average 20 guests. You can come and leave any day of the week you would like but a few things to keep in mind. We do not ride on Sundays or day of departures. It is a minimum of a three-night stay. We have 15 crew and Kurt and myself that make the ranch operate.
Sundays-this is generally the day people arrive and depart. Yes, most people stay for 7 nights and I believe to get the whole experience you should come for a week. This allows you to unpack, unwind and enjoy the experience. Well I want to experience everything? Yes, you can, you can stay with us three nights (we allow that) go to Yellowstone and go to Jackson. You can make it one big busy trip in a week. A lot of our guests do that, but the next year they return and stay at the ranch for a week. I understand you have a week off work, and you want to experience as much as humanely possible and you can venture down the road, but you might as well plan a couple days on the tail end for a vacation from your vacation because you will be exhausted…at least I would be!
Here you have it a 7-day Schedule
Sundays-This is the day you arrive at the ranch. Check in time is 3PM, we give you a tour of the ranch, show you your cabin and get you all settled. Appetizers/Happy Hour is at 6:00 on the patio and dinner is at 7pm. Happy Hour, yes, I said it, but that doesn’t mean you have to drink, it just means that you have the opportunity to mingle with other guests, share stories and get to know everyone.
If you do enjoy alcohol, it is BYOB, so I suggest bringing some! Love a glass of wine at dinner, beer after a long ride, or whiskey on the rocks? Do it you are on vacation!
Dinner is served family style in our rustic lodge. But I am a vegetarian and I don’t eat gluten? That isn’t an issue whatsoever at Covered Wagon! We got you covered, my executive Chef, Roy James, has been with us a long time. He loves what he does and caters to individuals. What kind of food can I expect? We call it Ranchero Novelle. It is food you would find at a ranch with a touch of fine dining in it. Roy James is all about presentation, quality, and quantity. One thing is for certain if you go hungry at the Covered Wagon Ranch it is your own fault! What about dessert? Dessert is plated and tastes even better with a cup of coffee! Every night after dinner we have a fire outside the main lodge. You decided to skip dessert? Well you have a second chance at smores or join Braxton and fill up on Hershey chocolate-because we all know he will be there! Take a walk to the barn with us to do “critter check” or take a walk on your own to see the horses (they love the attention). Go fly fishing, watch the stars, play a game of horse shoes, or continue drinking and mingling with other guests. Whatever YOU want to do, remember it is YOUR vacation (I promise that won’t be the last time you hear me say that)!
Monday- Coffee is on at 6 and breakfast is served between 7:30-8:30 daily. If you are an early riser and the rest of your family aren’t, come join Kurt in the lodge, have a cup of coffee, read the paper, sit by the cozy fire. The lodge is your living room. A place to relax and trust me nothing is more relaxing than a good book, coffee and a warm fire! Anyway, back to breakfast. Breakfast is a combination of buffet and to order. There are always hot and cold cereals, breads, a fresh baked pastry and fresh fruit on the buffet line, but you also put your order in with the server. There is always a specialty item such as eggs benedict and we always have French toast or pancakes, eggs and bacon or sausage…so you tell us what you want.
This is the time Kurt makes his way throughout the room asking everyone what they want to do for the day. Our riding program is what we are so known for and that is probably one of the reasons you booked with us! He will ask you a straight forward question, what is the plan for the day? But what does that mean? I will help you out with that, do you want to go for a half or full day? Do you want to take a lunch or come back and have lunch at the ranch? Do you want to stay flat, climb, end up at a lake, view, up and back, or leave at one place and end up at another? My returns usually have an idea of where they want to go and tell Kurt this at breakfast. We do not have a signup sheet or a schedule of rides. You tell us what you want to do and believe it or not he generally makes it happen! If you have no idea (which some guests don’t) Kurt is incredible about choosing a ride that you will enjoy. What about horses? Well Kurt and I (so be careful not to make me upset, just kidding) pick your horses. We have everyone from beginners to experienced trainers that visit our ranch. We pride ourselves in our horses and our horse program. We ride on close to 100 different trails, we run three trucks and trailers daily, we are outfitters in Yellowstone National Park, and we ride anywhere from 6,500’-10,000’ in elevation. Our horses are ranch raised and we know them inside and out. Most of the time we do a good job on picking the perfect horse for our guests.
8:45-we meet at the barn for orientation (only new guests) and we get you setup on your horse. Rides generally go out between 9-9:30. We keep our groups small with 4-5 people in a group or in rare occasions 6 if it is a family or a group of friends. All our rides are guided, and we do offer daily lessons in the arena for those that want to do that.
1:00-Lunch is buffet style at 1:00, unless you are on a full day ride in which you would have filled out a lunch card (what kind of sandwich you want) and filled your complementary lunch bag with goodies that are healthy and not-so-healthy.
2:30-Our afternoon rides try and leave about 2:30 and return between 4-5 (depending on what you want). These rides are designed for those who didn’t want to do a ride in the morning/full day but wanted to take a short ride in the afternoon or someone who checked in on a day other than Sunday (you can ride the day of arrival).
2-6:30 this is you time. Some people go to Big Sky to do an off-ranch activity, some are still on a ride, some sit on their front porch and drink, some read, some fish, some float the river, some hike and some sleep!
6:30-Appetizers and Happy Hour. Monday’s dinner is different we do a BBQ Meet and Greet! A lot of guests check in on Sundays, but some guests choose to wait until Monday to check in. Monday nights are designed to be a load of fun. We have a BBQ on the patio filled with Gourmet Burgers and a BBQ item such as Ribs, Brisket or a Boston Butt. This dinner is served buffet style outside and you can choose to eat inside or outside. This night is new to the Covered Wagon’s program and Chef Roy James and us are excited to launch it this summer! Monday night is accompanied for a fire and your choice of evening activities.
Tuesday & Wednesday are very similar in you choosing what you want to do that day and dinner is served family style. Thursdays we bump dinner up an hour early so if anyone wants to go to Music in the Meadow in Big Sky or the West Yellowstone Rodeo, they can. You do not have to go to either event, some people like to relax and enjoy the quietness, once again whatever YOU want to do! Appetizers are at 5:30 and dinner is served at 6:00 Buffet Style-Pasta night!
Friday nights are a ton of fun at the ranch. Dinner is at the Rec. Hall and it is Surf and Turf. We offer Filet Mignon, Catch of the Day, Mountain Sausages and Hot Dogs, live music, camp fire with smores of course, dancing, roping dummy’s, horse shoes and other lawn games and games inside the rec hall.
Saturday nights the horses head up the mountain. This is a popular event for our guests and wranglers. This means the week is over, they get Sunday off and time to recuperate for the following week of guests. It is truly magical watching the wranglers lead the herd through the gorge, across the creek and up the mountain. There are no words for how beautiful it truly is.
Sunday morning- Day of departure we have a buffet style breakfast, shed tears, check-out, make reservations for the following year and say our goodbyes. Check out time is 10AM and then we do it all over again!
What about the kids? Kids are welcome at the Covered Wagon! Kurt and I have two boys of our own that are 2 and 5. We consider ourselves a family ranch and many of our return guests have children that have been ‘raised’ on the ranch coming year after year. We have two play yards with endless toys, swing sets, teeter totter, yard games, a Rec. Hall with a pool table and foosball, board games and a play room in the main lodge. The kids can have as much or little to do with the horses as they want. We offer daily lessons if they want them. They GET to eat with you, ride with you or ditch you if they want. They get to be kids in the mountains, on a ranch. They form friendships with people and their four-legged friends. They will love it; the only question is who will love it more you or them?
What about off-ranch activities? You have everything from zip-lining, whitewater rafting, skeet shooting, kayaking, mountain biking, Lewis and Clark Caverns, Virginia and Nevada City, Museum of the Rockies and the most popular Yellowstone National Park all a short drive from the ranch! Keep in mind in order to do any of the off-ranch activities you will need your own car, but guess what? The Bozeman airport has cars for you to rent!
So, there you have it a step by step schedule of the week for you…for all my adults who like me, need a plan! We are real people with a love and passion for the outdoors, Montana, horses and people! It is simple, we love what we do!
November 19th, 2018 by coveredwagonranch
HELLO CWR FAMILY!
We had a wonderful season at the ranch this summer. Actually we extended our season this year into October and had a great success, so we will continue to do in the future. It was nice to wrap up the season with fall weather, a little bit of snow and a great group of guests.
We will reopen the gates June 10th. The reservations are crazy for next year and availability is getting pretty limited especially for June and July. The horses are doing wonderful! We are wintering the herd at our property we call Braxyer which is a complete change on CWR history but sometimes change is good and to be able to see them every day is a good thing! We have been working a lot on fence out there, different pastures and built a 5-acre feed lot where we will feed them this winter. They are going through about 2,100 pounds of hay per day! Yes, you heard that right a little over a ton a day. Needless to say, our bale bed truck has been getting used and we have been feeding every couple of days.
Kurt and I are excited to announce we bought a house in the valley! We originally were going to build at the property where are horses are but decided to put that on hold and ending up buying a 107-year-old house in town. We officially closed on our new house in the town of Three Forks (90 minutes from the ranch) October 1st. We started construction/remodeling on the projects we wanted done with the house and wrapping that up in the next week. It has been quite the process. We cannot even begin to explain how excited we are to have all our horses in one place and so close to our new home (15 minutes). The animals are adjusting and enjoying ‘City Life.’ We are closer to the horses, family, schools and a community and are loving it!
We officially sold the hunting business in May and Kurt enjoyed not being in hunting camp for the first time in 15+ years. It was nice to have him at home and his help at the ranch in September/October. With us selling the hunting business we are cutting down our herd size. It has been a challenge to us emotionally, but we have been very fortunate in the homes they went to and everyone has kept in contact with how they are doing. Kurt just got back from delivering 6 across the country and putting 5,300 miles on and being gone for 8 days. After 22 years at the ranch Toby was retired to long time guests in North Dakota and reunited with old Covered Wagon horses. We have two babies due in April 2019 and I plan on barrel racing throughout the winter.
Braxton is beyond excited for Christmas and has been begging us for the last two weeks to put up the Christmas tree and asking when is elf will be back. Kurt is pretty adamant we wait until after Thanksgiving but maybe a cute 4-year old can persuade him into putting it up this week! He is enjoying pre-school and loving the new house. Sawyer is 100 miles an hour and a hot mess. He talks non-stop and is right there with his big brother. The things he says make me laugh a lot. As for Kurt and I we are doing great and enjoying our life.
On behalf of the Covered Wagon Ranch and the Puckett’s we hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a great Holiday!
October 9th, 2018 by coveredwagonranch
Here at the CWR, things are winding down. Moving horses to winter pasture, shutting down cabins, filing end-of-year paperwork, and a million other chores fill our days, while we try to stay warm.
The few guests willing to brave Montana’s first snows are a welcome distraction from the closing “to-do” list. If you are one of those brave souls, you certainly get a worth-while reward: lower numbers, lower rates, and elegant vistas of snow-powdered mountain slopes. Plus the horses are getting adorably fluffy.
We’ll be sad to say goodbye to all the new friends we made, both human and equine, but we’ll always have our memories of this summer. So so long, Dudes! We’ll see you next year!
August 22nd, 2018 by coveredwagonranch
How to Survive a Dude Ranch
Let me tell you, being a guest at a dude ranch is a lot of work. I can tell by watching our guests that they have it rough. Most nights they’re moaning and groaning after dinner about how full they are, and sometimes they stay in our hot tub so long I’m sure they must feel terrible. It’s so bad here on the ranch, that some guests are crying by the time they leave!
So if you decide to visit the CWR, here are five important pointers on how to leave intact.
- Love on your horse. The Covered Wagon is all about horses. We love our horses and we want you to as well. Once you get here, we’ll match you with a horse to ride for your entire stay. When you meet your horse, introduce yourself! Scratch her behind the ears, give her a treat. You can even help brush her or saddle her if you want. You’ll soon be BFFs (best friends forever)!
- Be kind to the crew. They don’t need their ears scratched, but a friendly “hello” when you see them is nice. At the CWR especially, the crew is family, and we want you to be part of our ranch family too. Trust me, your stay at the ranch will be way more fun if you interact with the crew, simply because they’re fun people.
- Dress the part. I don’t mean you have to wear a cowboy hat and flannel every day (although let’s be honest, those are the coolest fashion choices available). But you will need cowboy boots or at least riding boots. And Montana weather is kind of weird, so bring sweatshirts and shorts, even in July. Be prepared for any weather and you won’t be unpleasantly surprised.
- Break the diet. Don’t even try to watch your weight while you’re on the ranch. Just forget about it. The will power required to resist our chef’s magnificent cooking is more than one human could possibly possess. Besides, you’re on vacation. Who diets on vacation?
- Don’t forget the rec hall. We specialize in horses, but there’s a lot to do on the ranch besides riding. Guests often seem to forget that we have a pool table, piano, and plenty of board games in the recreation hall. You can also borrow some of our fly-fishing rods and go down to the Taylor Fork Creek or the Gallatin River. We have some tubes for floating down the creek too, on hot summer days. Or you can take a vigorous hike up the hill behind the ranch to Benson Point, which provides a splendid view of the canyon. And of course there’s the hot tub.
So there you have it: everything you need to know to survive your stay at the Covered Wagon Ranch. Happy trails!
July 19th, 2018 by coveredwagonranch
There’s a new girl on the ranch! Tassel the filly was born on June 3 to Rain Dancer. She had a bit of a rough start, but now she’s healthy and happy, and stealing hats like a pro.
Even though Tassel was born a month after her due date, she was what the vet called dismature – meaning she was in the oven but wasn’t cooking. She didn’t get enough colostrum, her bones were not calcified, and her cartilage was not completely hardened. Tassal spent her first few weeks at the vet, but thanks to Dr. Flint of Montana Equine, she got to come back to the ranch. After a few more weeks recuperating and letting her cartilage harden, she was able to roam the property with her mom, making friends and delighting guests.
Sassy and curious, Tassel loves to spend her days nibbling guests’ sleeves, playing with the ranch dogs, and getting her neck scratched. Some day she might take guests out on the trail, but for now she’s busy stealing their hearts.
June 21st, 2018 by coveredwagonranch
Hello, my Covered Wagon Ranch Family! The time has arrived us and we have opened our doors for the 2018 season! You all know Kurt, Braxton Sawyer and me, but I thought this year I would do a Blog to introduce our crew we have on board! Below, you will find a short bio of each CWR 2018 Crew Member and a picture to go with! We are excited for you to meet each and every one of them this summer!
This is Chef Roy James Stegall’s third season at the Covered Wagon Ranch. This year as the Executive Chef his goals are developing new and exciting pastries, new and ancient techniques, and food that welcomes the soul home. Chef Roy James is originally from Southern California and has cooked all over the West Coast and Rocky Mountains. His cuisine has strong ties to Italian, Mexican, Argentinian, Southern, and Down-Home Country! “I truly love cooking everything for everyone. It’s an honor to feed people life.” At the Covered Wagon you can always count on cookie jars always being full, gourmet breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. “I believe in the Covered Wagon Ranch. Our mission statement is Come as a guest and leave as family. That statement is something I hold dear to my heart.”
Hello, my name is Daniel. I arrived out west in 1998 at the age of 17 and started working at the Old Faithful Inn where I stayed for four summers. I grew up fly fishing in north Georgia with my dad and my love for fly fishing and the mountains pushed me to make the big move out west for good. I worked at the 320 Ranch for ten years running their bar and worked at the Cabin Bar and Grille on the mountain running their bar for nine years. I met Kurt when I first came out to Montana and when I heard they were looking for another chef I reached out to him. My passion for the outdoors, hiking, fly fishing and skiing brought me out here and I have no desire to leave. This is home now!
Hi everyone! My name is Jordan Turner, I’m a wrangler here at Covered Wagon Ranch. I’m 22 years old and originally from Texas, although I’ve spent the last two years in Wyoming. This ranch really sparked my interest after first talking with Kurt and Melissa and coming to realize how passionate they are about this place and the horses they have. They know each and every horse like the back of their hand and I am very thankful to get to work with and learn from people that share the same passion as I do. They welcomed my two horses and I in with open arms and I have heard nothing but good stories after good stories about summers on the ranch. Looking forward to a great season and lots of miles in the saddle. See you guys when you get here! Happy Trails
My name is Lizzy Anderson, I am 20 years old. I was born and raised in Chugwater, Wyoming. I have worked on our family ranch my whole life, riding horses, working cows, fixing fence, doing pretty much everything ranching requires. I moved to Montana looking to start my own business as an Equine Bodywork Therapist. What drew me to the Covered Wagon ranch was the opportunity to do what I love (which is anything horses) and to have the opportunity to meet the great people who will visit us this summer. I also really appreciate the way Kurt and Melissa keep the cowboy traditions alive.
Ana hails from California’s central coast; exactly half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Though not from a ranching family, Ana has been riding and working with horses for 20 years, and prior to coming to the Covered Wagon she managed events for one of California’s oldest cattle ranches. She chose the Covered Wagon because she prefers getting to know her guests on a personal level and wants to be able to provide them with an intimate, hands-on ranch experience. Ana is excited to be working in the barn this summer, sharing the special magic that only horses can provide with all her new Covered Wagon friends!
Hi, my name is Sydney Dressler I am from Dodgeville, Wisconsin and just graduated with an Animal Science degree from the University of Tennessee at Martin. I will be a Wrangler this summer at the Covered Wagon Ranch. I am excited to join the ranch family as it combines my passion for horses and the western way of life as well as the joy of working with people from all backgrounds who have similar interests.
Ranch Hand/Backup Wrangler
Hello, my name is Weston Hamilton and I am 19 years old. This will be my first summer at the Covered Wagon Ranch. I am from a little town located in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee called Tellico Plains. There is not much to do in my hometown that doesn’t relate to the outdoors! I am very excited about working this summer because it has always been a dream of mine to “cowboy”. I have competed in rodeos my entire life and have horses of my own, but there is a drawing of a western soul to head west. I learned of the ranch from a good friend who worked on the ranch the previous year. I have been blessed to be hired as a ranch hand and I hope to learn as much as I can about the area, the people, and the western lifestyle.
Hello, my name is Cole! I am from Cumming Georgia. I came out to the Covered Wagon Ranch to work with Melissa and Kurt so that I could learn as much and possible about horses and taking care of the land. I also wanted to get away and find who I really want to be! No better place to do it than 2,000 miles away from home! In my free time I like to Rodeo and hang out with my friends. I can’t wait to see what this season has to offer me out here in Montana at the Covered Wagon Ranch!
Hello, my name is Brody Ross, I am 19 years old from Canton, Georgia. I first heard about the Covered Wagon last year when I had some friends that came out here and worked. I love to ride bulls and travel the rodeo circuit. I hope to be working here in years to come and call this home.
Hi everyone! My name is Misty Seppala. I’m from a large family in a small town of southern New Hampshire. I was craving adventure and a rejuvenating break from work before diving into college. I learned about Covered Wagon Ranch from a friend, who had worked for CWR a couple years ago (Clarissa). Her stories and experience here were too tempting to pass, so here I am! My position as the ‘alternate’ will be to cover days off for some of the other crew members and to help out wherever I am needed. I am excited to make many wonderful new friends and am quite honored to be a part of the CWR crew!
Hello, I am Hannah Allen! I grew up in Florida and have lived throughout the South. In 2013 I graduated from the University of Montevallo and aspire to someday work professionally as a writer. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, gardening, and watching pointless videos on YouTube. I’ve always wanted to live Out West, and I was drawn to the welcoming, family atmosphere of the Covered Wagon Ranch. I’ll be working as one of your housekeepers, and I look forward to the meeting everyone!
I’m Desirae Freeman, I am a proud dog mom to two wild and rambunctious Siberian Huskies from a small community in West Virginia that most people have never heard of named Canvas. Growing up something that I always watched with my Great-Grandfather and Dad was old Western Movies such as Walking Tall; Big Jake or and of the Lonesome Dove series. As a result of that I always made the comment that I would live in the West one day, it became a goal of mine. Last year when I came across Covered Wagon I knew I had to take the chance and submit an application. As luck would have it I ended up getting the Nanny position.
My name is Caleigh….I’m from Land ‘O Lakes, FL. I’ve been riding horses since I could walk and have always loved just being around a horse, they are such intelligent creatures and have taught me more than I could ever have imagined. I have wanted to come West as long as I can remember, I’m always looking for an adventure and this is best way to start. I’m excited to be here, the views are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. We have great beaches in Florida but we live around sea level, so the mountains are something I’ve always dreamed about. I hope to take away from this experience, new friends, quality saddle time, working experience and hopefully enough money to put a down payment on my first car. I have fallen in love with the Covered Wagon Ranch, after only being here for a short amount of time. the state of Montana is breathtaking. I appreciate my new family, Kurt and Melissa, for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime and I’m very excited to see what the future holds for me and the ranch.
May 24th, 2018 by coveredwagonranch
Do what makes you happy…. okay animals make me happy!
As most of you know Kurt and I do not have a shortage of animals 94 horses and mules (soon to be 95 after Rain foals), Devil the cat, Nellie the pig and 3 dogs…well that number has now changed.
Last spring, after we purchased our property by Three Forks, Montana that we now refer to as ‘Braxyer’ named after our two boys, Braxton and Sawyer. We had a few dogs occasionally show up. Each time they showed up Austin and Sarah would call the owner (they had collars at the time) and the owner would bring them home. Well we moved up to the ranch last May the season got started, fall came, winter came and now it is spring 2018. We are back at the property living and so are the 1-3 stray dogs, this time without collars on.
At first Kurt would call the owner and he would come get his dog. This started out to be 1-2 times a week. At first, him or his mother would come get the dog/dogs. They lived about a mile down the road from our property. Well as time went on we quit calling because we would leave messages and the dog would still be at the property. We finally gave in and decided to feed the brown dog, who was nameless, and we called Brownie for several days before learning his name was Levi.
(He made himself right at home)
Now let me set the scene here. This a lab, (Kurt’s least favorite dog), a male (Kurt does not like boy dogs) and we have three dogs already.
After three days of Levi living with us and treating him as our own, we were working on the corrals and a random car stopped. A lady steps out of the vehicle “Is that my dog or your dog?” My response, “Well that depends, it may have been your dog, but it is my dog now…” She laughs and says, “Joint Custody?” and comes in the gate to retrieve her dog. He is a happy dog (no signs of abuse) and jumps in the car. When I asked why she didn’t come get him three days ago she tells me she knew where he was she saw him in the pasture the day before and she would “bring over a bag of dog food.” And just like that Levi was gone. Well a week passed, and it is Monday morning. It is storming, and I am loading Braxton in the car to head to pre-school. On the way to my car I find two wet and cold labs. I immediately got frustrated, Kurt called and tried to reach the owner and had no luck, so I loaded the two wet, big dogs, in my car and drove them home. I will leave this part short and say I was pretty stern with the fact that if they didn’t keep their dogs at home I would not be returning them or calling them anymore.
A few days later we were at the dog owner’s house after buying a building from him. We talked about Levi and our immediate love for him and how ‘good of a dog’ he is. He proceeded to tell us that he moved into town and couldn’t take them all so Levi was forced to stay with his parents and their three dogs. Kurt and him talked back and forth about it and he was persistent that if he is happy with us he should just live with us.
Levi was adopted from a kill shelter in California by this guy’s mother 7 years ago. He must have grown up around kids because he is amazing with our two boys (more so than our other three). He has a kind eye, potty trained, well behaved and listens great. Unlike most dogs our three girls like him.
Over the course of the next few days we were at Levi’s owner’s house a lot preparing to move the building we bought from them. The renter, who lived in a house behind the main house, shared stories about Levi and that he most likely left the house and wondered to ours because no one was ever home, he was only fed once a day and said sometimes that didn’t happen and would get into the trash.
The last day of moving the building Levi came home with us and has never left. We didn’t tell them we were taking him, but they knew where he went. It has been about 6 weeks since he came home with us. Like all our dogs, he is on a verbal leash and hasn’t tried to leave once. He has never got in the garbage, had an accident, got into it with our dogs and Sawyer and Braxton love to cuddle with him. Our best guess is that he is 10-11ish, a Chocolate lab and he is semi-crippled. He is pretty Bow legged, stairs are hard for him, but that tail is always wagging or thumping on something. His eyes are bright, he has fattened up and well Levi makes number 100 here at the Covered Wagon Ranch where he will spend the rest of his life loved on by our family and the Covered Wagon Ranch Family!
April 30th, 2018 by coveredwagonranch
Hello Covered Wagon Ranch Family! I wanted to drop a line and let you know of a few things to check out!
Kurt and I decided to do a raffle for 2 three-night stays at the ranch for 2018 season a value of $3,000. We sold 60 spots @ $50 ticket. We had lots of interest and sold out all the tickets. We did the drawing today and a big congratulation to Trish and Travis Kreiser for winning! I was so excited when I called her that I forgot to tell her who I was and just shouted you won! She needed some good news and today she got it! Trish and Travis purchased 3 tickets for the raffle.
Offering a 15% discount the week of October 7th (adults only) on singles and 20% discount if you book more than one person!
Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for giveaways, live feeds and as always I appreciate you following my Blog!
December 22nd, 2017 by coveredwagonranch
Wow, I can’t believe another year has come and go. Time seems to go faster and faster every year. This year was a very busy one for Kurt and I. We welcomed our second son, Sawyer, into the world in January. Braxton wasn’t too sure of him at first, but they are now best friends and always into something!
I hit the ground running, (literally) six weeks post C-section Barrel Racing on a few new horses, a gray head horse named Uno (which most of you know the story behind that pony if you don’t do ask it is a good one). I am seasoning him on the barrels and he has quickly won my heart and been my go to horse. He is the one I hit the trails on the most this summer (even over Pancake).
Perry, who isn’t new to barrels but was new to me; unfortunately, she was out with a couple different injuries most of the summer. However, she still ended the season with two buckles and reserve national champion in my division! Needless to say when she did run she was spot on! Lastly, my rock-solid go to Barrel Horse Princess Daizy. I keep telling myself I am going to retire her and put a baby in her belly but she hasn’t told me that is what she wants yet. I am sure it won’t be long until Braxton steals her from me as he enjoys exercising her for me in the summer. All three horses won me enough money to cover my entry fees…which is always a plus and I learned an incredible amount of information.
We bought a little place near Three Forks, Montana that we will eventually build our house on, but for now we are using it for shoulder pasture in the spring and fall to keep the big herd and to keep our broodmares, babies and personal horses at in the winter time. Kurt and Papa T did some work this spring on the property and we now have a couple different pastures. There is a spring fed pond on the property and we even snorkeled in the pond! Needless to say we spent a ton of time out there this spring and most every Sunday this summer.
In April we welcomed Rita’s third baby, Logan. He was the first baby born at the new property near Logan, hence his name. He is a full brother to Miranda and Dollar and a half brother to Blake, Gwen and Sass. This means lots and lots of BLUE ROANS around the ranch! Speaking of Blue Roans most of them we put more rides on this year and started the foundation for several of the younger ones. They should be ready to hit the trails come this summer. We bred Rain Dancer for a 2018 foal and bred Rita back too, this time to a High Brow Cat Stud. We are excited to see Rita’s baby’s future as cowy as she is!
Crew got here in May, we opened the doors to Guests in June had a very fun and successful season at the ranch. As always it was full of lots of wildlife, lots of miles on young and seasoned horses, oodles and oodles of stories and even more friendships were made.
This fall we finished up the season with our ‘Adults Only’ month, had a wild third week of September with a ton of snow and super cold weather and then ended the season a week later with gorgeous weather and no snow.
We retired two long time Covered Wagon Ranch’ Horses, Bo and Cheyenne, to North Dakota and brought three more into our herd, Roanie, Maggie and Shasta! We are super excited for our guests to get to know them. That brings our herd to 96 head now at the ranch! Hard to believe we bought the ranch 4 years ago with 40 and there are only 12 of those horses left!
This is the first time in a long time we haven’t had any horses at the ranch….which means that Nikita is turned out too! This is a big moment for us as she has been doctored and in the stall for two years. She is in a small pasture with Winston (who is also healing from an injury) and they are enjoying it. She still has a road to recovery, but it is a step we never thought would come. The rest of the herd is doing great and loving their life. Rita and Rain’s bellies are growing, the colts too and the older ones are showing the younger ones the ropes. It won’t be long when we are gathering them to start all over again.
As always this time of year we try and head over to our friends to help them out with their annual Bull sale. Kurt took a new little filly he bought this summer, Drifter, and I stayed true to the tradition and brought Pancake. Both of the horses did great, but it is hard to beat my big old Boy Pancake doing any kind of ranch work. We had a ton of fun moving cows and it was great for our horses and dogs to get out and do some work too.
December has been so much fun with our little family preparing for the holiday. The lodge is decorated and we have five trees up!
The biggest one is 12’ and Braxton was beyond excited to decorate it. We have a visitor from the North Pole, Red the Elf, that is watching over Braxton and Sawyer and returning to Santa each night to report on their behavior (I wonder if he can stay year-round)
and Braxton has been on his best behavior.
Braxton started pre-school in Gateway and is loving every minute of it. Sawyer is all but walking and is super busy. As for Kurt and I we are finally catching our breath and excited to spend Christmas in our home with our family and friends. We hope whatever holiday you are celebrating this December that is a great one!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from the Covered Wagon Ranch and the Pucketts!
November 2nd, 2017 by coveredwagonranch
As you are aware by now I am particular to horses and you could say a little obsessed at times, but I have my reasons! Deuce and his best friend Felix were the kind of horses that you spent years trying to find and sometimes you never did. The horse we wished we had forty of. The one the kids could climb under and all over. Where you could give him a year off and go grab him out of pasture and he was the same horse he was at the end of a long season at the ranch. He was honest, sure footed, broke, and reliable. Kids and adults could both ride him but he was especially partial to the ladies….especially one lady.
Deuce is the kind of horse that you can see and feel everything when you look into his eyes. His eyes are sincere and deep, I always referred to them as ‘Grandpa Eyes.’ They were what the horse world refers to as kind and when we lost his best friend, Felix those eyes changed and it seemed like Deuce just couldn’t get a break.
Last spring we went out of town for a family trip and Will (the previous owner) said he would run up and check on horses at our new pasture. That is when we got the phone call that changed everything….
I could see Kurt’s facial expression and I remember the whole room going silent. Kurt got off the phone and said it is one of our horses. He said, “I am not sure which one, Will said it was a bay” and unfortunately Will didn’t have the ability to get him out of the backcountry but knew he wouldn’t make it through the night. So we called Keaton who came to Deuce’s rescue.
When he arrived, he found Deuce off by himself. It looked like you sliced his fetlock off, the swelling was horrific and you can tell he had lost all his energy. Some way somehow Keaton was able to get Deuce on the trailer that night and take him to Hardaway Clinic.
The next morning Kurt and I arrived at the clinic first thing to find our horse in pretty rough shape. It turns out Deuce had fallen through an old box car that was converted into a bridge. Dr. Hardaway explained the risks, the severity of the injury and we talked about quality of life for Deuce. Deuce was getting up in age, but we saw the look in his eyes. He wasn’t ready to give up. So, Kurt and I made the choice that so many people frowned on us for making. We brought him home.
Over the next two months Deuce was in a stall. We would change his leg every four days and rewrap it. It was slowly healing but because it was in a high motion area we knew it would take at least six months if ever to heal.
You know that lady that changes the mood of everything when she enters a room? The lady that is full of joy and her smile is infectious? The one that you wish could be there on every bad day?
Ya I know one too, her given name is Mary but we call her Bling-Bling because if you ever see her coming you will understand why. She is known for her silver, her turquoise and her love to wear as much of it as humanly possible. She has the best sense of humor, love for life and loves to flirt with the boys….who of course dote over her.
Mary had been coming to the ranch long before I had, but that didn’t matter to her she took me in and loved me as if she had known me my whole life. When we found out we were pregnant you can believe she was over the top and quickly her name changed to Grandma Bling Bling.
As most of you know when you arrive at the Covered Wagon you are matched with a horse. Most of the time that is your horse for the week, in Mary’s case that was her horse for 11+ years. Mary was matched with Deuce and the love for one another began. Every year Mary had to her ride her boy and as hard as it is to always let the guests ride the horse they request (especially such a popular horse) Mary was different, they had a bond that I’ll admit I really didn’t see or get until last summer. Mary loved and loved and loved on Deuce and some times that is as far as they would get. I can see it like it was yesterday her telling me “I am going to just hang at the ranch and love on Deuce” and she would laugh and put her hand on my shoulder.
I truly believe Deuce looked forward to Mary’s visit and the attention she gave him and last summer was no different. Grandma Bling Bling arrived at the ranch, but this time with a hurt horse and not any hurt horse, her Deuce. I cannot even imagine what Mary was feeling, but I do know her love for that horse was not going to change. She immediately headed to the corrals to see her boy and there he was in the stall.
Over the last couple of weeks Deuce had been laying down in his stall a lot. He wasn’t eating much and his weight was dropping off. Every morning at breakfast while Kurt would be putting together rides Mary already knew what she would be doing, spending the day with her Deuce. I can’t remember if Kurt shared with Mary that we would be putting Deuce down after she left or if he kept that quiet, either way it didn’t matter.
Mary was determined to spend as much time with him as she could. Mary did end up going out on a couple rides on another horse and even though he was sweet and took good care of her he wasn’t Deuce. She knew that Deuce needed her.
Mary left Sunday morning and he was scheduled to be put down on Tuesday, but little did we know he wouldn’t be. Sunday after Mary left Deuce started walking better, he quite laying down as much and he started to gain weight and eat his grain again. I don’t know what Mary did to my horse, but I do know she saved him.
Over the next two months Deuce started to heal and was able to be put out in a run by himself. He was walking good and it was only a matter of time before he was back to his old self.
Mary returned for her second visit to the ranch that fall, this time to a whole different horse. That week was similar in that Mary spent most days at the barn visiting Deuce, but it was also emotional because she knew that Deuce would be leaving the Covered Wagon. I had made a phone call in August, to Deb and Boyd in North Dakota that just happens to be a guest at the ranch too. We retire a lot of our horses to their Family Farm and I asked if they could take three more, Deuce being one of them and she agreed. So I know you are thinking he is healing why are you retiring him? Because he deserved it. That year was hard on Deuce he lost his best friend and went through a horrific injury.
On Sunday after Mary left I loaded three of my friends on the retirement trailer and wished them a happy retirement. I cried a lot that morning and most of the day. I knew the horse that had a horrific injury and had all odds against him, the horse that’s life was saved because of one lady expressed her love, the horse that showed me how tough horses really are, who’s eyes are so sincere deep and loving. That horse survived, he made it. I will miss seeing him in pasture, guests will miss him at the ranch but I know he will enjoy every minute of Retirement!
Today, Deuce is reunited with over ten of his friends from the Covered Wagon. He is loving retirement in North Dakota and is 100% healed and running the pasture like nothing happened. He is happy again and the happiness in his eyes have returned because of one lady, one special lady that just so happens to be celebrating her 80th Birthday next week. So, if you like this story please share it with your friends and let’s try and get 80 shares and 80 likes for one extremely special lady who saved one extremely special horse, Deuce.
Happy 80th Birthday Grandma Bling Bling!