The 2024 DRA Convention Highlights

It was wonderful to see everyone at this year’s convention in Texas, and for those who could not make it, know that you were missed. We opened the convention with a bit of history about the DRA and how they have supported Dude Ranchers over the last 98 years. Visit this link to the short history presentation HERE. And this is the history presentation PDF.

Wildfire Mitigation

Joe Redden Talk

Joe Redden from the Association of Consulting Foresters was the DRF-sponsored speaker. The entire presentation can be viewed HERE. Joe covered many topics, such as:

• Wildfire Mitigation
• Insect & Disease mitigation
• Best Management Practices
• Conservation Planning
• Grant Application assistance
• Partnerships e.g. “Good Neighbor”
• Conservation Easements
• Sale of Forest Products

What a wealth of information! You can contact Joe or Shannon, their Executive Director, at or


Convention Auction

The auction was a big success again, and with the DRA now sharing 30% of the proceeds with the foundation, we raised a little over $9,000. Thank you to everyone who donated and purchased items, and a special shout out to Terry at Tanque Verde Ranch, Russell at White Stallion Ranch, and Patrick at Lone Mountain Ranch for your generous ranch vacation donations on behalf of the foundation.

Horse Safety

Thank you to everyone who attended The Horse Safety /Risk Management, Adaptive First Aid for the Trail, and Equine Health seminar. It was once again a highlight of the convention, with fantastic attendance. Thank you to Cheri Helmicki for always doing an outstanding job of teaching the class.

Dan Schneider and Dan Beaudette

Thank you again to Dan Schneider and Dan Beaudette, Sr VP of Underwriting, NFP Programs, for their fantastic $15,000 sponsorship of the Dude Ranch Foundation Horse Safety Program. We could not continue this program without the support of NFP, Glencar Insurance, and the Outdoor Insurance Program.

Wrangler Trainings

Hunewill Ranch


If your ranch is interested in hosting a wrangler training in 2024 the calendar is filling up fast so please let me know as soon as you can.

This course has been established to train wranglers & guides in the skills needed to meet the Minimum Horse Safety and Risk Management practices accepted by the DRA ranches. This course helps to provide the skills and knowledge needed to help prevent potential accidents and demonstrates how to anticipate dangerous situations on the trail. Participants in this program must already have a good working knowledge of horsemanship skills. This is both a hands-on and classroom experience. The course follows the material presented in the DRA Horse Safety Manual.

  • Current First Aid & CPR certification is required.
  • Course is eight hours. It can be completed in one full day or two half days.
  • Minimum course size is five.
  • Participants must sign an acceptance of responsibility.
  • Courses are set up through the Dude Ranch Foundation.
  • Upon completion, the DRF office will issue a card.

View a sample of the training agenda here.

To obtain certification, participants will learn and exhibit, as assessed by the instructor, a general knowledge and confidence in the following:

  • Ranch’s emergency procedures
  • Risk management
  • Handling accidents on the trail and at the barn
  • Ride management and organization
  • Riding, handling, and managing horses safely
  • General back country practices
  • Adaptive first aid for the trail

For more information on the Wrangler Training Course, contact Colleen Hodson at 307.250.1981.

Hall of Fame

Bob and Karen Foster & Russell True

Congratulations to the three new inductees into the DRA Hall of Fame, Bob and Karen Foster and Russell True. Among the three, they have over 90 years of dude ranching in general and over 50 years of serving on either the DRA Board of Directors or the Foundation Board of Directors. AMAZING!

THANK YOU, Bob, Karen, and Russell. Well Deserved!

Highlights from the Foundation Year-End Report

DRF Total Assets $729,627 – Includes Building reserve Fund, Operating Fund, Scholarship Endowment Fund, checking account funds, and the DRF Building.

Total Revenue for 2023 – $186,000 – funding sources – Fundraising, Horse Safety Sponsorship, Rental income, Interest and Dividends.

Total Expenses for 2023 -$153,100 – These include educational programs, scholarships ($22,500), fundraising, payroll, building repairs, legal, accounting, utilities, and insurance.

Horse Safety

  • Since its inception, the DRF has trained over 1000 wranglers through the DRF wrangler trainings. Please call Colleen at 307-250-1981 or shoot her an e-mail at to set up your wrangler training for 2024.
  • The Horse Safety Survey indicates that out of 670,638 hours in the saddle, there were only 110 injuries from a total of 90,691 guests that required medical attention. That is a rate of injury much less than half of one percent of all guests reported at 0.12%. Great Job!

Dude Ranch Heritage Museum:

Traffic to the museum was triple in 2023 from what it was in 2022.


  • Chairman of the Board – Russell True was elected as the new Chairman.
  • Vice Chairman – Don McIntyre
  • Treasurer – Bob Foster
  • New Directors: Hunter Sullivan and Kameron Kelsey

We want to thank our outgoing members, including Amanda Ferguson Esch, who served on the board for many years and helped the DRF get to where we are today. It is the end of an era, not having an Eaton on the foundation board.

A big thank you, Steven True and Jerry Helmicki, for all your support and contributions over the years.


Reminder – Dude Ranch Foundation Scholarship Applications are due March 15, 2024.

Please Give through Bing

There are many ways to support the Dude Ranch Foundation. And Giving with Bing is one way to support that rewards everyone! Find great search results and help create great results for the Dude Ranch Foundation!

Give with Bing is a feature of Microsoft Rewards that enables you to support a cause you care about simply by searching on Bing. It starts by signing up for Microsoft Rewards, their loyalty program. After joining, points earned for Bing searches will be automatically donated to your selected cause.

Once you register at, your search activity on Bing, at no expense to you, provides funding for the Dude Ranch Foundation.

Give with Bing is currently available in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

Join now!

Alliance Partners

Thank you to the Alliance Partners that support the Dude Ranch Foundation mission.