Archives On The Air 228: Giddy-Up And Go — Dude Ranchers' Association Records

Nov 14, 2020

People around the world have long had a fascination with the American West.

It is hard to resist the appeal of wide-open spaces, fresh air and freedom from crowding.

In the late 1800s, wealthy Eastern parents began sending their sons West to ranches. They hoped their children, who were "over-addicted to strong drink", might be sobered up by spending several months "roughing it".

About the same time, the word "dude" entered western slang. Cowboys used it to refer to the fancy clothing worn by Eastern visitors to their ranches. Ranchers began to realize there was a growing market for hunting, fishing, sightseeing and pack trips.

Soon, dude ranching spread throughout Montana, Colorado and Wyoming. Word of mouth served as advertising. By 1926 the Dude Ranchers' Association had formed. Marketing of dude ranches began in earnest.

Browse brochures from in the Dude Ranchers' Association records at UW's American Heritage Center.