What’s cooler than being a motivational speaker? Being a customer of the very same people that you motivated.
I had the excellent fortune of speaking to the Colorado Dude and Guest Ranch Association a few months ago. It was a fun gig: we were in the Ritz Carlton in the Colorado Rockies. A great group of people shared motivational laughter and fun.
One thing I love about my job is I get to learn bits and pieces of many industries. In prepping for the Association keynote, I was coached on how ranches work, what the loves and stresses are, and where the industry is headed.
Normally this would be the end of a good story: I love my job and love speaking. But the story is just getting started…
My family and I recently returned from a stay with one of the member dude ranches of the Colorado association. We went to North Folk Ranch, in Shawnee, Colorado. It’s known for fishing and horse riding. And for full-on gourmet food. It was a TOTAL blast being able to see and experience the very same industry I spoke to. I think I would have enjoyed any ranch. But the North Fork in particular was total first-class, top-shelf joy.
Let me qualify the following story by saying that I had an outstanding time. The staff, the food, the views, the facilities, and Karen and Dean May (the owners) absolutely rocked. I recommend that all of you pick up your phone now and make a reservation at the North Fork Ranch.
I’d only offer one piece of advice for you, dear readers. Don’t get on a horse. Seriously. Don’t do it. They hurt.
They put me on a horse that was apparently large. (From my perspective, they are all flippin’ huge. I’m a city boy and I’m afraid of big dogs.) I had to get on some ladder thingy to mount my horse. (This is only slightly embarrassing…. none of the real horse people seem to need a boost.)
An hour and a half of bouncy excruciating horsing later, I was convinced that the fine folks at Guantanamo have it wrong: they don’t need water boarding. Just put terrorists on a horse for 90 minutes and bounce them though the Rockies and they will give up their best friend. Seriously, it’s a slow torture.
I couldn’t move. My legs were frozen. My butt hurt more than you can say, “Oh my gosh this saddle is huge.”
The wranglers practically needed a crane to get me off. (Getting off on my own was out of the question: The Abe Lincoln at the Wax Museum could move better than I could at that moment. After I got off I stood very, VERY still. I waited. Some blood came back. In 40 or 50 minutes I was able to walk again. (Ok, maybe not that long. But in Horse Time, it had to be forever.)
The wranglers were kind; they didn’t laugh even a little. (Until I left.) They told me the horse was too big for me. I’m certain they lied to make me feel less like an idiot. (Nobody else seemed to be in agony. Every other guest seemed to jump right off, pat their horse and head in for lemonade. But try as I might, my legs wouldn’t budge.) My kids thought that the fact that I was stiffer than an I-Beam was hilarious.
Still, I had a total ball. Nobody made me go on another ride — though they did take me on a couple of shorter rides on a smaller horse. Yes, it did hurt less. The smaller horse was no longer like being drawn and quartered. It was more like being pulled like a wishbone.
We retreated to fabulous views, gourmet luxury, a wildly unique “Mountain Man,” wonderful company, and even a late night, after-hours-under-the-stars visit to the hot tub.
My wife loved it. My kids loved it. And I loved it. But please, don’t make me go on that big horse again— I’ll say anything. I’ll admit to any crime. I’ll give up any secrets you want. Just don’t make me ride.
Hey North Fork! You guys rock. You made our week. Thanks so much. Keep up the great work. It’s easy to see why you are so successful. Thanks for sharing the love!
Do YOU need a motivational speaker (and promise not to make me ride a horse afterwards?) Contact me now.
Colorado Motivational Speaker, Urban Cowboy, Flexibility-Challenged Dude
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