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Welcome to Our Patch of Heaven!

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

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Helping Hands!

      It’s amazing what three weeks, a LOT of working hands and some love can do. Every year we are amazed at how quickly the ranch is primped and made ready to welcome our friends for another season.

Some people get all the fun jobs…

    ….look at all that cookie dough! We are fortunate this summer to have Mike with us as a kitchen assistant. He’s been helping us in all areas throughout the pre-season—a man of many skills—and he was introduced and recommended to us by our very own Chef Eddie. Mike is his brother! So now we officially have the best kitchen staff around. And those guys are getting a jump start on making sure our bottomless cookie box stays bottomless. IMG_5181IMG_5185

      Of course last season we discovered the local wildlife had developed a taste for our cookies as well…so this year we are setting up guard early and making sure that deep freezer is secure! (What can we say? They have good taste.)IMG_5230

      Shelby is working with Dale this year to help keep the buildings and grounds maintained and looking their best. He has lots of experience and has quickly jumped into the swing of things! We also welcome Jeff as one of our kids counselor’s this summer and if there is anyone who knows the kid’s program—it’s Jeff! He’s been coming here since he was quite young and has interned the past few years for a couple weeks here and there until he was old enough to come work full-time. But since we are without guests yet, Jeff has been helping wherever he is needed—mostly maintenance projects and preparing the grounds—you got to be versatile around here!



Then there are the REALLY tough jobs…….but someone’s gotta do them.

Butters here is a pro…


      We are extremely blessed to have had youth from Front Range Christian come the past EIGHT years and give us their service for four days. Every Spring they arrive at the ranch and do incredible amounts of work in such a short time. Their help is crucial to pulling things together and we can’t thank them enough!! Check out these hard workers! Raking, shoveling, hammering—they do it all! Talk about an army of helping hands!IMG_5393IMG_5395IMG_5401IMG_5409IMG_5467IMG_5504IMG_5573IMG_5471

So to show our appreciation, we had them trade their rakes and hammers for boots one afternoon and took them out for a beautiful ride through the Rockies. Just a small way to give back for all they do, but they were pretty thrilled about that!


      Speaking of the horses, the herd is getting settled back here in the valley and the wranglers have started conditioning them to hit the trails. Electra is joining the wrangling staff this year and there isn’t anyone who deserves it more than she. For the past several years, although she was always qualified for the position, there wasn’t an available opening in the wrangling staff. But that didn’t stop Electra from using almost every free minute she had helping the wranglers down at the barn before and after she attended to her duties on crew. If that’s not a true portrayal of love and loyalty for this ranch, then we don’t know what else is! So we are extremely happy that she hung in one more season with us so we could offer her her rightful place she longed to be—on a horse! Congratulations Electra and thank you for all your hard work!IMG_5477

More action at the barn!


      Meanwhile the crew has been spent weeks meticulously preparing the cabins and making them shine inside and out. These two gentlemen are part of your ranch crew members this summer and they are both aces! Kevin on the left is another lucky member of Jerry and Cheri’s family who came to  join their extended ranch family as well. And Kit is another former guest who came with his family for years and years before coming back this summer to show his love for the ranch by helping to share it with others. Do you see a common thread among many of our staff members? We’re not sure there is a bigger testament to how much this place touches people and their lives. The impression is so great, it often inspires them to want to join us to share that magic with others. There isn’t any bigger compliment than that!


      Right along those lines, every year we have several guests who come join us as honorary staff for days and even weeks before we open. We are blessed with an incredible ranch family who merely long to be here as quickly as they can and so offer their helping hands during our pre-season before turning right over into full-time guests for our opening week. Are we lucky or what?!

Patty, Gary, Angie, Denise and Jeff—we love you guys!


You can see the ranch is coming to life!


We saved a spot for YOU—come join us!IMG_5411

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Let it begin!

       The 2013 pre-season is well under way and with so many of our new staff arriving early, we are getting a ton done and are plenty ahead of schedule. Not to mention the weather has been fantastic and all that lovely rain and snow has everything budding and green, green, green. What a gorgeous Spring we are going to have! Can’t wait for the wildflowers….no doubt there will be lots of pictures.

       Pre-season is a LOT of work. But it’s a LOT of good stuff as well. The new staff is coming in so there’s the fun of showing this place off and welcoming the newcomers into our huge, crazy ranch family. And it’s a beautiful thing to watch the ranch slowly awake from her winter’s rest. Little by little, with loving hands that dig, paint, plant, sweep, spray, dust and clean—she gets her Spring makeover….

       Check out the redoes going on at the Ranch house. The upstairs bathroom is all complete and looks amazing. The master bath is next and is well underway! Derek Dulac, the lucky young man who snagged our Nancy Short, has taken this project on and Derek has quite an artistic touch. You’ll love all the custom trim and additions he’s done--can’t wait to see the finished project!


       There are some new faces around here. That first one looks like a new face, but Dale just grew himself a beard—thinkin’ maybe we’ll start our own version of Duck Dynasty….you know maybe like “Dude Dynasty”…..(this counts as copyright if anyone is interested.) And that there is Mark in the hole. He’ll be wrangling those horses this summer, but during pre-season everyone does whatever is needed. And we like to let the new staff get the full benefit of doing every fun job they never got to do before. It’s part of “breakin’ them in”. Builds character. See the thumbs up? They LOVE it! Doin’ great Mark!


       If you made it to the ranch last season, you’ll recognize Katie. She’s returning again this year, but will now be taking part as a kid’s wrangler. By the way the ranch kids are endlessly seeking her out (and saving her a seat), there’s no doubt she’s awesome with the little people. “Birdie” there in the middle will be part of your wrangling staff as well—we are already truly impressed with the quick and great work these guys all do. Not to mention they are all just plain FUN. It’s gonna be another great summer on the trails!


       Charity and Kaila are also new this summer. Charity is lead housekeeper and sure knows her stuff. Kaila has been coming to the ranch for some time now. In fact, you might even call her “family”—cause she is! Kaila is Jerry's niece and she happens to be part of  one of Tammy’s favorite wrangling memories in her early years at the ranch. But that’s another story we’ll save for when you visit….We’re so happy to have these ladies here! They are kickin’ some tail getting your cabins ready and looking incredible. Hard to believe these buildings are as old as they are. They continue to age beautifully due to the loving care they receive year in and out.


Meanwhile…..Holy mammoth! Pita Bread is no spring chicken anymore, so the ranch kids are giving her a hand (and brush) shedding out that winter coat. That was one warm pony! We think she lost 20 pounds--and apparently both ranch kids in that pile of hair!


       High on the pre-season list is checking out all the trails and making them ready for riders. As you can see, our Breakfast Ride bridge didn’t make it through this winter as well as other years. Beaver dams redirected the river flow and caused it to wash out. We took our crew to see what could be done, but it looks like an entire rebuild is necessary. A professional company will be coming in for that—safety first! (Hmmm…a diving board would be a nice addition this time around. We’ll see what the bosses say….)


Projects around the ranch! And we’re pleased to introduce Darwin here on the right! Another one of your wrangling staff this summer. You’re gonna LOVE her! We already do!


Uh-oh—here comes trouble. This rough bunch is heading in to gather the herd to bring back to the ranch…


…and there went the herd…. (Who gave away the surprise??)


No wait! They stopped long enough to let Jerry, Electra and Lauren grab a few and mount up. Then it was a big run into the catching pens. Our rush hour traffic is different than most people’s…………. (which one do YOU prefer?)


       Meanwhile, Cheri and Tammy gear up for the arrival of the herd by prepping their annual wormer dose. Nothing says “welcome home” like a tube of wormer in the mouth--yum! Now many of you know the crazy and scary occurrences we had LAST year on this day, but we are happy to announce, everything went perfectly smooth and emergency-free! There were also NO dogs in the vicinity. (Do NOT let your dogs get into the wormer-- It can kill them! Miraculously, ours recovered in about a week after a coma and 24 hour life support. True story.)


Then-- in rolled the trailers! It took quite a few loads….


….and a lot of patience at times…..


…but we got them all done. Even the tall ones!


(Oh and uhhh…don’t make short jokes to Cheri. She does this…and you never see it coming. Feisty one that gal is….)


Look how happy they are to be home! A good scratch and a smile!


         The rest of the week was spent getting water turned on, fixing fence, cleaning cabins and weeding gardens. But with all that hard work, we thought a little party was in order…..

…but this was no ordinary party! We managed to pull off a SURPRISE party for Cheri in her own house. Is that a feat or WHAT? We’ve mentioned before that during the off season, Cheri coaches high school basketball, but you may not know that before she ever came to Colorado, she left a huge legacy of coaching track, cross country, basketball and swimming for both girls and boys over 22 years. All in all, Cheri has put in 78 seasons of coaching and the kids she has coached still talk about what an amazing influence she had on them and in shaping their lives. And we thought that deserved a little celebration…..


       But the greatest gift was something special initiated by Cheri’s daughter Leslie who flew in for the special weekend. May 12th—Cheri’s birthday—has been officially name The Coach Amos Challenge Day. Celebrate the spirit and sportsmanship of beloved Coach Cheri Amos, by being active, promoting teamwork and supporting like-minded organizations. Then post your efforts, achievements, and ideas to The Coach Amos Challenge Facebook page on May 12th every year. Here is Cheri with her daughter Leslie receiving her framed flyer for the soon-to-be annual event! Even with just 24 hours advanced notice, once it was announced and the site was launched, there were quite a few avid challengers. Eventually we’ll be setting up a site where folks can post about what they’ve done to accept the challenge and to donate to two local non-profits in the name of their contribution. Those are Independent Sports Club –an organization dedicated to providing the youth of Grand County with opportunities to promote, support and sponsor their educational, athletic and social experiences -- and also the Troublesome Horse Rescue here in our county.  These are two causes Cheri is avidly in support of. We are lucky to have such a passionate and driven role model as one of our ranch owners. She will gladly talk horses or sports with you all day long and you can call her pro in both areas! Here are links to both these non-profits if your interested in more information:


       So of COURSE that meant Leslie and Cheri had to accept the challenge themselves and they kicked off the 1st annual Coach Amos Challenge Day with a horse back ride through the Rockies! Picture perfect!


If you want to take the Coach Amos Challenge, join the page and let us know all year long what YOU do to stay active and work as a team!

More of our pre-season fun coming soon! Plenty of new staff to introduce as well!