Save the Date!

WyoGives 2024

The 5th annual WyoGives is Wednesday, July 10, 2024. This is also Wyoming’s Statehood Day!

For the fourth consecutive year, the Dude Ranch Foundation is joining WyoGives, an initiative by the Wyoming Nonprofit Network. WyoGives is a dynamic 24-hour online fundraising event that unites Wyoming-based nonprofits to collectively raise funds for worthy causes.

On July 10th, every online donation made through the platform will be amplified by a generous $1,000,000 incentive pool provided by the Hughes Charitable Foundation.

We need your help!

The Executive Director & Board Update

Dude Ranch Foundation Executive Director, Josie Hedderman

Executive Director Update:

We are thrilled to have our new Executive Director, Josie Hedderman, in the saddle!

Josie has roots in Cody, Wyoming on both sides of her family for more than one hundred years. In fact, her great-great grandfather was the first County Treasurer when Park County was created. Most recently, she spent eleven years as the Custom Events and Group Travel Manager for the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. “Taking the reins” of the Dude Ranch Foundation, Hedderman says she looks forward to making history relevant and relatable to contemporary audiences, expanding awareness of foundation programs, and strengthening engagement with those who are passionate about preserving the Western way of life. Please join us in welcoming Josie to the Foundation!

Board Update:

Amanda Ferguson Esch has provided incredible leadership and support over many years, and the Foundation is endlessly grateful for her time and energy. In January, Amanda passed the baton to Russell True who was elected as the new Chairman of the Dude Ranch Foundation Board of Directors. Russell was co-founder of the Arizona Dude Ranch Association and is a two-time past president of the Dude Ranchers’ Association. In 2017, Russell was inducted into the Arizona Tourism Hall of Fame, and in 2024 he was inducted into the DRA Hall of Fame. In related news, the Foundation is pleased to benefit from a wealth of knowledge and experience with new board members Deborah Plum, Lynn Downey, and Kameron Kelsey, who were elected to the Board of Directors in January 2024.

Museum Update

We are excited to welcome Wyoming River Trips, which will operate a satellite booking kiosk in the museum on the weekends. Wyoming River Trips was founded in the winter of 1978. Since its inception, it has been the only continually owned and operated rafting company in the Cody area, focusing on providing safe, family whitewater adventures that are accessible and approachable to all.

Whitewater and Scenic Rafting in Wyoming

The Western Museum is open six days a week this summer! Visit us between 9 AM and 5 PM, Tuesday through Sunday.

Dude Ranch Foundation Western Museum and Heritage Center

Congratulations, Scholarship Recipients!

Dude Ranch Foundation Scholarship Recipients Announced!

The DRF is committed to investing in the future leaders of the dude ranch industry. Our scholarship program provides financial assistance and encouragement to students pursuing degrees that will help perpetuate this great industry and our Western culture.

At the board of directors meeting on April 24, 2024, we awarded nine scholarships to the worthy students listed below.

  • Felicity Halmay, attending University of Wyoming
  • Victoria Forgan, attending Colorado Mesa University
  • Christine Howe, attending Colorado College
  • Taylor Peck, attending University of Montana Western
  • Josie Meyring, attending Cal Poly
  • Susan Davis, attending Purdue University
  • Jymie Adamson, attending Weatherford College
  • Abilene Yurich, attending Mesa State
  • Benjamin Mathis, attending University of Wyoming

For the 2024/2025 school year, we awarded $22,000 in scholarship money. Since its inception, the DRF has awarded over $477,000 to 279 students!

The only reason this program is successful is because of supporters like you!

Benjamin Mathis

Dear Dude Ranch Foundation,

I am incredibly grateful for your organization’s generosity in awarding me the Dude Ranch Foundation Scholarship for my next year of study. Your assistance is invaluable to me and will be very impactful in helping me to achieve my goals.

I am excited to attend the University of Wyoming this fall, and I look forward to once again having such a great opportunity to expand my horizons and gain new knowledge and skills. I will be studying for a Bachelor’s of Psychology with the intent to pursue a Master’s of Library Science down the road. When I complete this course of study, I hope to invest my time and energy into the dude ranch industry, be it here in Colorado, to the north in Wyoming, or wherever I am placed in life.

Thank you so much for your award, it means a great deal to me.

Benjamin Mathis

Lariat Legacy, the Magazine is Here!

Lariat Legacy, The Magazine, Volume 3

The 3rd edition of Lariat Legacy, The Magazine, is now available for your enjoyment. Please let us know if you’d like to order a dozen or more magazines for your guest rooms and cabins. We’d be happy to send them out at only $3 per copy, plus shipping. Email:

From the Chairman of the Dude Ranch Foundation Board:

Welcome to Lariat Legacy, the modern resurrection of the much-loved, long-running Dude Rancher Magazine. As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Dude Ranchers’ Association, founded in 1926, we at the Dude Ranch Foundation, the 501c3 dedicated to education and the preservation of Dude Ranch history, are excited to fulfill our role in celebrating this important milestone. As a lifetime Dude Rancher and dedicated fan of Western rural culture, this Foundation is my charity. In this, the most generous country in the world, we all have unlimited options to help. The Dude Ranch Foundation allows me to make a real difference in supporting scholarships, horse safety and welfare, and the preservation of Dude Ranch history and heritage. I hope you will join me in our work to support Western Culture. Enjoy the magazine.


Russell True

Rider’s Watch: Safeguarding the Ranch


Greenhorn Ranch Trail Riding

Guest Orientation

Many Dude Ranch guests are not familiar with trail riding. With guest and horse safety as the top priority, orientation should always be provided prior to a trail ride.


  1. Riders should clearly understand responsibility for their own personal well-being, the welfare of fellow riders, and the well-being of the horse they are riding.
  1. Trail rules should be stated clearly during general orientation and reinforced on trail rides.
  1. Basic riding skills should be demonstrated and then practiced by guests.
  1. Mounting and dismounting should be demonstrated and supervised.
  1. The rider should be aware of the variety of terrain they will be exposed to within the different rides.
  1. Appropriate dress is related to rider safety (riding boots, long pants, and hat).
  1. All carry-on objects should be secured or left behind.
  1. All guests should understand the nature of the horse as a flight animal.
  1. The role of the wrangler/guide should be included in any written materials and restated verbally within all levels of orientation.
  1. Written material available prior to orientation may help in reinforcing basic skills, rules and regulations.
  1. Orientation for children should be age appropriate so the child can understand the information listed above.
  1. If helmets are offered/required, helmet fitting procedures should be posted and staff should be trained to conduct the procedure.

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.