Growth story

The Majestic ranch engages families with laser tag, rafting and hiking. Using online marketing, it draws 50 guests a night

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Sam Green/Cortez Journal Josh Bucksbaum rings the dinner bell to let people know there's an act

Mountain biking, paintballing, fly fishing, archery and many other activities, in addition to horseback riding, has brought a dude ranch on Road N near Mancos State Park success in recent years.

Owner Robert Bucksbaum, a Californian, bought the then-inactive Mancos Lake Ranch four years ago and started expanding it. He changed the name to Majestic Dude Ranch and has stayed engaged with operations, guiding some of the activities himself, said Marisa Upson, the ranch manager.

This tourist season bookings have been great, averaging about 50 guests a night, mostly from out of state, she said.

Online marketing and membership in dude ranch associations has been key for the ranch, Upson said.

"Our website sells itself," she said.

A wide range of activities to choose from such as laser tag, white water rafting and hiking has helped the ranch engage families - especially teenagers.

"All the activities, I hear, time and again, bring people here," she said.

The biggest challenge for the ranch has been guests getting tickets for flights from Denver to Durango because of the cost and the availability of seats, she said. But once guests arrive at the airport, the ranch takes care of all their transportation.

During the peak summer months, the ranch employs about 25 people and recruits camp counselors from all across the country to run its kids programs.

However, the ranch doesn't limit its offerings to just families, it also hosts corporate retreats and caters to adults only in September.

Ranch management has more expansion in the works. For the first time this season, it will be open for the winter season and offer sledding, snowmobiling and cross country skiing.

The ranch also has plans to add a ropes course and a new building that will house a theater and a saloon, Upson said.

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Sam Green/Cortez Journal Horses graze in the pasture at the Majestic Dude Ranch.

The mask saved Ted Tatarian from being hit in the eye during a paint ball battle at the Majestic Dude Ranch. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

The mask saved Ted Tatarian from being hit in the eye during a paint ball battle at the Majestic Dude Ranch.

Bill Haydock would have been shot between the eyes during a paint ball battle at the Majestic Dude Ranch. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Bill Haydock would have been shot between the eyes during a paint ball battle at the Majestic Dude Ranch.