Board of Directors

The Dude Ranch Foundation

Board of Directors

The Dude Ranch Foundation

Our Leadership

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader. ~ Chris Ledoux, country music singer-songwriter and hall of fame rodeo champion, (1948 – 2005)

Russell True – Chairman

Russell True owner and operator of White Stallion Ranch which was homesteaded in 1936 as a cattle ranch in Tucson, Arizona. His parents, Allen and Cynthia True purchased the ranch in 1965. White Stallion is currently operated by the third generation of the True family. Russell and his wife Laura also own Tombstone Monument Ranch in Tombstone and Rancho de la Osa in Sasabe.

Russell is the author of Dude Ranching in Arizona, and Dude Ranching in Wyoming, he was inducted into the Arizona Tourism Hall of Fame along with receiving the prestigious award of person of the year by Family Travel Association in 2019.

Russell was co-founder and president of the Arizona Dude Ranch Association and two-time president of the Dude Ranchers’ Association.

“As you can see dude ranching has been a part of my life since day one. I am proud to be a board member of the Dude Ranch Foundation to help with the continuation of protecting and preserving the western way of life my family, my self and western enthusiasts everywhere hold so dear.”

Don McIntyre – Vice Chairman

Don loved growing up in Louisiana where there was an emphasis on faith, family and friends and where food and fun were a huge part of the culture. The only thing missing was horses, so after he graduated college, he headed west to join the staff of Elk Canyon Dude Ranch in Montana. It was there that he found his calling and took a bit of the Cajun culture West!

In 1998, Don got his dream job and began working at Wind River Christian Dude Ranch. It was in 2002, that a guest at WRR introduced him to his future bride, Sara McIntyre. With a great 15 years of marriage now under our belt and the blessing of two buckaroos, Lena, and Cason, we feel incredibly blessed that we get to serve in dude ranching as a family.

“I am honored to get the opportunity to serve on the Dude Ranch Foundation Board and I will strive to help the Foundation grow and carry on its traditions.”

Bob Foster – Secretary/Treasurer

Bob is passionate about people, the West and the hospitality industry. Raised in Colorado, he spent his summers working on his family’s dude ranch. After graduating from Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL, he served five years as a Captain in the US Army and then completed a master’s program at Cornell University in Hotel Administration.

For over 40 years, Bob put his education and leadership experience into practice as he and his wife, Karen, owned and operated Lost Valley Ranch, Sedalia, CO, managed Lone Mountain Ranch, Big Sky, MT, and consulted on Rawah Ranch, Glendevey, CO.

As a way of “giving back” Bob has served on boards as a member and officer: Colorado, Montana, and National Dude Ranch Associations; the Colorado and National Hotel and Lodging Associations; and the South Platte River protection and reclamation board.

In 1988, Bob was President of the Dude Rancher’s Association when they formed the Dude Rancher’s Educational Trust (the precursor of the Dude Ranch Foundation).

“Serving on the Dude Ranch Foundation’s Board is a natural fit since my life has been marked by a: love for learning, both formal and experiential education; a love of sharing our ranching lifestyle and it’s values; and a love for the land, it’s beauty and it’s bounty.”

Josie Hedderman – Executive Director

Josie Hedderman is a hospitality professional who is deeply rooted in a love for rugged landscapes and authentic connections. With a background in event management, team building, marketing, and packaged travel, she thrives in connecting people with history through elevated experiences. Finding solace and inspiration in the wilderness of Wyoming, she also enjoys traveling and seeking new perspectives. “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.

Lynn Downey – Board Member

I grew up in a horsey family in the San Francisco Bay Area. My uncle raised quarter horses, and two of my cousins rodeoed. But I never learned to ride, because I didn’t get the love-of-horses gene. I was the bookworm who loved western history. (Well, I still am.)

I first got interested in dude ranching when I was the historian for Levi Strauss & Co., and discovered that the company made “Dude Ranch Duds” in the 1930s and 1940s. I began to research the history of the dude ranch and collect all kinds of memorabilia. I realized how much dude ranching has contributed to American culture, and wrote the book American Dude Ranch: A Touch of the Cowboy and the Thrill of the West. I also set my two historical novels on a dude ranch.

I proudly call myself a dudine, and I’m deeply committed to preserving and sharing the fascinating history of dude ranching.

Lucia Hatfield – Board Member

In 1983 I graduated from USC Law Center and began practicing law as a civil litigator. Became partner in the Law Firm of Nordstrom, Steele , Blythe and Jefferson ( subsequently, Nordstrom, Steele, Nicollete and Blythe). Throughout my career as a litigator, I handled complex cases throughout the United States.

Throughout the decades, I have been active in and sat on the Boards of organizations such as The Junior League of Los Angeles, The Rotary Club, The Consumer Attorneys of Los Angeles, Grupo Los Madrugadores, Los Cabos Humane Society and Los Cabos Women’s Wellness Foundation among many others.

My father’s family owned a ranch in Colombia and raised Paso Finos. In 2006 the Rawah Ranch was purchased by the Hatfield Family. My husband Ron and I feel that we are lucky to be stewards of this beautiful ranch. We strive for authenticity in the experiences that our guests enjoy. I understand the importance of the Dude Ranch way of life and the need to preserve it for future generations.

Education and access to education has always been one of the pillars in my life and I have focused many efforts in that direction. The work of the DRF ties in nicely with this pillar.

Kameron Kelsey – Board Member

Born and raised on the Nine Quarter Circle Ranch just outside Yellowstone National Park, dude ranching holds a special meaning to me. I spent my childhood learning the art of horsemanship and hospitality. It was when I moved away to college, studying Agricultural Science at Cal Poly, that I also realized how important it is to preserve Western heritage. Once I finished school and earned my pilot’s license, I knew that dude ranching, and the Nine Quarter Circle was where I wanted to spend my days. So, in 2012, I returned to the ranch and now I have taken over the reins from my father. It is my hope to continue the legacy that my father and grandfather have carried for over 75 years.

Dave Leishman – Board Member

Dave’s first trip to a Dude Ranch in Montana was an attempt to escape the rigors and chaos of the office and stave off corporate burn out. He came to Montana with his two young daughters, Meghan (age 9) and Emily (age 7). Both girls had only about a month’s worth of horseback lessons under their belts and he had even less.

It turned out to be a vacation for the ages as one of those life-changing, priority-altering experiences many people wait a lifetime for. It was a whole package – the riding, the western way of life, the rodeos, the work, and the people – a true total experience. Dave and the girls drew closer on each subsequent trip to Montana, and it was an adventure that they shared year after year. He was hooked.

So much so that after the next five annual trips, the former world-class skier and outdoorsman decided that a yearly excursion to Montana just was not enough anymore. Dave wanted a ranch of his own, a place where he could help people live the same experience, he did on his first visit. Dave and his very forgiving and flexible wife Jan purchased a ranch in Whitefish Montana and along with their three daughters Meghan, Emily and Haley turned it into the Bar W Guest Ranch which they held for 17 years before selling to the current ownership.

Dave has Served on the Dude Ranch Association Board, the Montana Dude Ranch Association Board and was past President of the Montana Dude Ranch Association.

“I consider it a real honor to serve on this board with these distinguished Board members promoting the mission of the Dude Ranch Foundation and preserving the Dude Ranch western way of life for all to have access to enjoy.”

Deborah Plum – Board Member

Deborah is a Trusts and Estates attorney focused on advising individuals, families, and their businesses in respect to succession and estate planning, family office and business structuring and cross-border tax planning. Deborah is licensed in New York, Arizona, and California, and has extensive knowledge of charitable foundations and not-for-profit organizations. While not practicing law, Deborah works as the CEO of BaseCamp for Veterans, Inc. (“BCI”). BCI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving veterans and their families that Deborah co-founded in 2018. BCI offers its participants immersive programming that focuses on equine therapy and uses a mix of wild and domesticated horses. All of BCI’s services are facilitated in partnership with White Stallion Ranch.

Deborah’s love of horses, and riding, began at the age of 2, when her family ventured from New York City to Tucson Arizona and stayed at the White Stallion Ranch.

Dan Schneider – Board Member

Dan Schneider, the former President/CEO of The Schneider Group, Inc. which merged with Leavitt Group in 2013 and has been active in developing many industry programs. The single largest specialization is an insurance program for medical device product liability insurance. The Program called ProTek has over 1000 companies insured nationwide. In addition, he has been involved in structuring insurance coverages and risk management in the Guest Ranch industry since 1998.

In November of 2019 Dan joined NFP and added his specialties to NFPs National Program Division. After more than 45 years in the industry, he has extensive experience in insurance production and marketing management. While an alum of The University of Arizona he also as attended several insurance company’s schools, including Fireman’s Fund, Hartford and Federated, as well as continuing education classes in Agency Management, Sales Management, Commercial Property Casualty and Risk Management.

Dan also played Professional Baseball from 1962 to 1971. He started with the Milwaukee Brave, then the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros.

“For the past 23 years I have enjoyed working with the Dude Ranchers’ Association in a myriad of ways. The members represent the best our country has to offer not only in terms of hospitality and genuine outdoor experiences but also in conservation and preservation. I am privileged to have had the opportunity.”

Janice Schoonover – Board Member

Janice was born and raised on the ranch that guests know as Western Pleasure Guest Ranch. Her family roots have grown deep in the Gold Creek Valley, with six generations from her mother’s side and five generations from her father’s side calling the Gold Creek Valley their homes.

Janice married her high school sweetheart, Roley Schoonover, in 1982. After a few years away for college the couple returned to Northern Idaho and added guest ranching to the family ranch in 1991. Their two children Danielle and Isaac grew up on the guest ranch. Both have married and live and work at the ranch, along with two grandchildren Emily, Gabe and Zeke.

Carolyn Stimmel – Board Member

Dude Ranching found Carolyn over fifty plus years ago as a young guest, at the Elbow Ranch in Kelly WY. From there she has been involved in her families’ property, the Red Rock Ranch also located in Kelly. She has worked many aspects of the business, as an employee, manager and recently owner.

Having been exposed to Dude Ranching since her early childhood she feels it has helped form strong bonds, traditions and loyalties for her and her family in the industry.

From the time of her first visit to a dude ranch to present day, she continues to find life’s lessons are to be had. Working, growing, and connecting with her parents, siblings and now her own young family has been an awesome experience. Seeing her four son’s desires to walk in the same footsteps as she did has been extremely rewarding.

Harley and Carolyn are incredibly grateful that their family wants to continue developing and maintaining Red Rock as a premier guest ranch.
“Joining The Foundation and aligning with the mission of preserving the history of Dude Ranching brings immense joy to me. It is an honor to work alongside these dedicated members on the Foundation that have deep ties, traditions and loyalties to the Dude Ranching Industry.”

Hunter Sullivan – Board Member

I am fortunate to say I have extensive ranch and outdoor experience and a true passion for ranch life. Before finding my home at the CM Ranch, I spent 8 years at the Spotted Horse Ranch south of Jackson, where I served as Ranch Operations Manager. I also had broad backcountry and fly-fishing experience. My wife Mollie, myself, and our two children, Luke and Nora have been the CM Managers for 10+ years now. Our love of the CM grows with every passing season and we continue to carry on the rich traditions that the CM is well known for, with a few added touches of our own. There is no better place to raise our children and grow our family.

Doug Van Berkum – Board Member

My wife Linda and I have been dude ranching with our son David and his wife Jane for thirty years. We have all been involved with the DRA and the CDGRA in board activities during this time. Jane has been president of the CDGRA and David has been president of the DRA.
Prior to dude ranching I was involved as an educator and fund-raiser in higher education.

We have totally enjoyed building a ranch and the relationships we have formed through ranching and in the state and national organizations.

I am delighted to be back involved with the Dude Ranch Foundation as a director emeritus.