Over the years…Memories from a Jackson Hole Dude Ranch

Karl and Tina

As the summer of 2012 approaches, we wanted to take this opportunity to share a little bit of the history of the Gros Ventre River Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and what it has meant and still means to the Weber and McGough families over the last 25 years.

We purchased the property, known as the Flying V Ranch, from Roy and Becky Chambers in October 1987. We bought 158 acres, four small cabins and a lodge. Our vision was to make it a place that families and individuals could come and share with one another this remarkable natural beauty called Jackson Hole. First came the addition of the log lodges and a year later, the main lodge overlooking the river. The barn across the road opened up a world of trails and activities. Some may remember those first years when the horses we bought from Roy Chambers would jump the fence and head down the road to their previous winter residence in the pastures off Mormon Row, creating some early morning roundup duties for our wranglers! One of our repeat guests pointed out that the old metal shed across from the lodge was an eyesore and so the “Mary Picarillo Maintenance building” was built. Another eyesore was the gravel pits located at the far end of the property and after much frustration with how to properly engineer them, we produced two decent fishing ponds for anglers to cast a line. Later came the arena and many afternoons filled with laughter as we have gathered up those “doagies” into the pen. In 1997 we constructed the Osprey Bridge which paid homage to the Osprey family that had nested on the banks of the Gros Ventre for 10 years. What fun we had christening the occasion with champagne, speeches and cigars! Today, it is most enjoyable, as we cross the bridge daily on foot, on horses or in one of Karl’s old cars to see what adventures await us on the other side. Chuck and Buzzie Smith shared so many of these early memories, as they managed the ranch for us for several years and became part of our family. In 2001, Chuck and Buzzie decided to retire, but did not venture far, spending their summers on the Teton Valley Ranch in Kelly and visiting often to catch up with old friends and sit awhile with Karl and Tina. Chuck’s passing last year has left an empty saddle in our barn and in our hearts and we are forever thankful for his friendship, his big smile and his love of the western way of life.

Also in 2001, we welcomed our daughter, Tori, and son-in-law, Sean, to the ranch to take over as managers. Tori and Sean have brought much to the ranch over the last 11 years– including three children, five dogs and a cat! It is a special experience to share this ranch with them and to watch our three granddaughters walk in the footsteps of their mother- always at the barn or on a horse!

We have so many memories of the past 25 years and our guests and staff are the thread that runs through it all, for it is the people that gives life to the Gros Ventre River Ranch. Be it “Rosie’s Trail”, “Lucy Hill” or “Wooden bridge”, it is all of you sharing your stories, laughter, tears and friendship that gives this ranch, our home, its character. We look forward to sharing more time with you in the future and give thanks for the time we have had together so far.

May your trails lead you back to friends and family…

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