Meet the Puckett Family and Travel Down Memory Lane

We are delighted to have this opportunity to welcome you to the Covered Wagon Ranch. We feel extremely fortunate to have been able to purchase the ranch in the spring of 2013. It is our goal to maintain the historic character of the ranch, provide top notch riding and to offer a rustic, but comfortable atmosphere for our guests to enjoy during their stay. We, along with our staff, want you to enjoy your stay, your rides, the beautiful country, and all of the other activities that you may choose to do during your visit to the Covered Wagon Ranch. As part of the ranch ‘family,’ please let us know if there is anything that we can do to help make this a great vacation. Learn more about our family, and the ranch’s history below, then join us in person so you can hear more stories from us in person around the campfire.

The Pucket Family, Kurt, Melissa, Braxton and Sawyer

Through the years…

We’ve loved raising our boys at Covered Wagon Ranch! We look forward to sharing ranch life with your family too!
Enjoy these photos of our family through the years at Covered Wagon Ranch:

The Puckett Family

In 2011, Kurt and Melissa returned to the Covered Wagon Ranch as a partner, and in the spring of 2013, they purchased the ranch. They welcomed two busy boys into the ranching world, Braxton (10) and Sawyer (7) who truly make the Covered Wagon Ranch that much more special.

Melissa is a native Montana girl. Her family has been farming and ranching in central Montana since the early 1900’s. As she puts it, Montana and the country are all she knows. She attended college in Montana, and after graduating she decided she didn’t want to leave Montana and never has. Melissa is a Certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist and PEMF Practitioner and enjoys barrel racing, roping and snowboarding in her spare time. Melissa takes great pride in caring for the horses at the ranch, many of which they raised themselves.

Kurt grew up on a farm in Georgia. When Atlanta started to move north, he loaded two horses and moved to Montana in the spring of 1998. Kurt found the Covered Wagon and started working there that spring. He worked by Will’s side for seven years doing every job on the ranch and continued to work at the ranch for an additional four years after the ranch changed ownership to JT and Debi. In the fall of 2008, he left the Covered Wagon and went to work for a cattle ranch near Harrison, Montana. Kurt’s passion is the backcountry and knows this country well and enjoys sharing his knowledge and love for the mountains with the guests. He loves to pack, start colts, work cows, rope and snowboard.

Braxton (10) is known on the ranch as the animal whisperer! You can almost always find him curled up next to an animal loving on them. He is full of life and kindness and loves people. Braxton is an incredible skier and loves to scare his mom with his daredevil ways. He loves basketball and his horses, especially the biggest horse on the ranch, Guiness!

Sawyer’s (7) personality and expressions are as big as the state of Montana. He is incredibly creative and is always creating something artsy or on some kind of adventure. He is an amazing skier and soccer player. Sawyer will talk your ear off and does not know a stranger.

old photo kids on horseback
old photo people on fence
old photo loading wagon
old photo happy group

Ranch History

The Montana ranch history runs deep here at Covered Wagon Ranch, which was was founded in 1925 by Vic Benson Sr. and his wife Eda.

The Benson Family in Montana Dude Ranch History

Vic Sr. and Eda ran this ranch as a Guest Ranch ever since the first cabin was built in 1925! The first cabins Vic built hand-built  are still being used! They are our Daly Creek and Big Springs Creek Cabins. The rest of the cabins were hand constructed in the years to come. Of 10 guest cabins, seven have wood burning stoves for heat and three have propane. All now have private baths. In keeping with their Montana Tradition, the Covered Wagon Ranch has been entertaining guests right here for over 95 years!

Vic Sr. and Eda had only one son…Vic Jr. After his parents passed away Vic Jr. took care of his inheritance. In 1983, Will King came in to the picture as a partner and  he  helped run the ranch.

Will King’s Place in Montana Dude Ranch History

In 1992 Will bought out Vic Jr, but Vic continued to stay at the ranch until his passing in the spring of 1998. Will developed the excellent horse program that we are still so proud of; and also added the Main Lodge, the Rec Hall, the barn and several cabins to the ranch. These changes have enabled the Covered Wagon Ranch to grow, without sacrificing the rich Montana traditions that we offer our guests today! We believe in keeping it the way it was when guests were visiting us in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and on!

Naccarto & Taylor in Montana Dude Ranch History

In June of 2005, Debi Naccarto and Jerry (Jt) Taylor, of Bozeman, purchased the ranch. They brought renewed energy to the ranch and a great deal of expertise on the business end of things. In 2011, Kurt and Melissa returned to the Covered Wagon Ranch as partners to Debi and JT, until they purchased the ranch in 2013.

What our Guests are Saying:

Perfect in every way This review is long overdue. When I initially decided I was going out west, I looked at reviews and when Covered Wagon came up – it looked like a “no brainer”. Well, that’s exactly what it is… The meals were delicious and happy hour was so fun outside on their new patio (BYO). Everyone that worked there couldn’t have been more friendly and welcoming… The sights are breathtaking and I was in awe everyday. Montana is a stunning state…After dinner every night, I would walk down to see the horses; one of the coolest things was that the mares and their babies would be free roaming the land all the time… The trail rides were awesome and I loved the fact that we could start in one place and end up in another…. I loved having the option of the hot tub – my knees loved it too… I will be going back without question…Time of my life for sure.