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Hey, dudes! Still dreaming about a ranch reunion? Or have you already made the trip? Share your ranch reunion stories with our readers. E-mail us.

McClellan family roasting marshmallows at Bar W Ranch
McClellan family roasting marshmallows at Bar W Ranch.

Bar W Guest Ranch

The Bar W Guest Ranch in Whitefish, Montana, hosts numerous multi-generational stays. Most notably, we hosted the McClellan Family Reunion to celebrate the 80th birthdays of their Grandma and Grandpa. The family was from all over the US and England, and this was the first time in many years they had been in the same place at the same time. The family — ranging from six to 80 years old — enjoyed a variety of activities. Younger children were kept busy at the summer kids program while older kids experienced more exciting trail rides and horsemanship lessons. The ranch hosted a surprise birthday party where each member shared a special token of appreciation, including treasures flown overseas, a duet, and poems written about this special gathering. The McClellan family of 16 was able to share an extraordinary experience in a place where they felt at home. They bonded during square dancing, wagon ride dinners, skeet shooting, campfires, and in the quiet that surrounds the ranch. Stories were shared and memories were made! Visit http://www.thebarw.com

These two testimonials about Bar W on TripAdvisor are from the Plotz Family Reunion.
"Best Family Vacation Ever"

Our three-generation family of 11 just spent a week at the Bar W and loved everything about it. Horseback riding was the main attraction. Both experienced and inexperienced riders made great progress in our skills and pleasure in riding. Trail rides through the high timber were especially beautiful. The Guest Rodeo on the last day was a delight. We learned to herd steers, to rope, to compete in a barrel race. The wranglers were kind, skilled and a lot of fun. There were lots of other activities: swimming, boating, mountain biking, square dancing, a rodeo, whitewater rafting, a beautifully supervised program for small children. There are also many comfortable spaces inside and outside the lodge where we could relax, read, talk. Food is served family style and is family friendly--bountiful home cooking with flexible accommodation for our vegetarians. 
Most of all, the Bar W reminded us how friendly, personal and flexible a small family business can be. All the children requested that we come again next summer.

"Perfect place for a family vacation"
Only a couple of us were interested in horses. I had never ridden before Bar W. The horseback experience was amazing. My son and I both left wanting to ride all the time. The week ended up being the best family vacation every single one of us had ever taken.

Here are a few basics. Meals were fantastic. Accommodations were lovely and the location is spectacular. Staff were uniformly kind, good natured, fun and flexible. Wranglers were thoughtful teachers, who spent time figuring out how to teach us. Most fun part: The morning we spent herding steers! They arranged a variety of non-horse activities that were uniformly delightful, including spectacular whitewater rafting, mountain bike-riding, rock-climbing, skeet-shooting, and hiking. I could not recommend the Bar W more highly to a family seeking a wonderful dude ranch experience.


Greenhorn Ranch Guest Ranch

Molsberry Family Reunion at Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch in Quincy, California.
Molsberry Family Reunion at Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch in Quincy, California. Visit www.greenhornranch.com/


When five stars just aren't enough

With 20,000 acres of rolling desert hills, crisp blue skies, majestic mountains and spectacular sunsets, Rancho de los Caballeros, Wickenburg, Arizona (ranchodeloscaballeros.com), is a refreshing change of pace perfect for guests of any age. An historic family-owned guest ranch since 1948, Rancho de los Caballeros offers a unique setting for guests looking to escape the average hotel experience. From simple to extravagant, traditional to unexpected, we offer a wide range of menus and event options for an intimate party of 10 to a grand reception of 125.  It's easy for attendees to have the entire ranch to themselves.  Spend time in adventurous activities ranging from horseback riding to team penning, ATV tours to trap and skeet shoot, golf, tennis or leisurely walks, and spa treatments.  For the evening, schedule a Desert Cookout Under the Stars for a true western experience, beginning with a hayride out to the South Yucca Flats for a mouth-watering barbecue over a mesquite grill.  Partake of the hearty feast, then enjoy a roaring campfire while you listen to live cowboy music from the 1930s to today's hits.

Family reunion celebrates pioneer history at Grant-Kohrs Ranch
They supped on beef and turkey, sipped sweet tea and swapped stories. It was a good old-fashioned western barbecue Thursday evening, on a good old-fashioned ranch.

Conrad Kohrs, the cattle king of Montana during its territorial days, died in 1920, as did his three Bielenberg half-brothers who helped shape this frontier. But their spirits and their stories were omnipresent at the Grant-Kohrs Ranch, in the shadow of Mount Powell.

"We're so rich with family history we're spoiled rotten," said Don Kohrs, a descendant of Con Kohrs's brother Henry, who planned the Kohrs-Bielenberg family reunion that drew 100 people. Many came from Iowa and California, and even more from western Montana.

"It's more of a gathering than a reunion," Kohrs noted. "A lot of people … have never met each other before."  So they sat and did just that.

Conrad Kohrs, born in Germany in 1835, arrived in Montana in 1862, before it was Montana. His Bielenberg half-brothers, also German-born, shared the same mother.

All three Bielenberg boys, followed Conrad to Montana. All but one, whom Kohrs put in charge of the home ranch, married in Montana and had multiple children.

The Grant-Kohrs Ranch is a national historic site, the only working ranch in the National Park Service system.  The park holds an annual Grant-Kohrs Ranch Days.

A family tree stretched the entire length of dairy barn's interior wall. Park Superintendent Laura Rotegard encouraged people to find their names, check them off and make additions and corrections.

"When a family comes back to a place that was theirs, that's now owned by the country, it's a celebration of everything they've been willing to give up so that the rest of the country can benefit from their story," Rotegard said. "That's just something you can never say thank you for often enough."
From a story by Kim Briggeman in The Missoulian, Missoula, Montana

It takes a ranch to host Rogers family reunion
Keeping close and staying in touch with everyone can be difficult for families who've outgrown the dining room table, the add-on family room or the spacious back yard.  This was one of the obstacles facing 12 cousins who formed the Rogers family reunion committee planning.

James and “Lizzie” (Redding) Rogers, who married in 1890, were parents of 12 children—six boys and six girls—and have a lineage of 434 descendants both living and deceased. James and Lizzie's 12 children are known collectively as “The Twelve” to the four generations who have followed.

“The Twelve” are all gone now, but their tradition of togetherness is still being fulfilled by their descendants with periodic family reunions, the most recent of which was held in a wooded glen on the Chileno Valley, California, ranch of Leroy Dolcini.

Over time, many family members retained their agrarian heritage, while others branched off into a wide range of careers, and two descendants who've “just disappeared.” They were widely known in the area because all but one of the original 12 families considered Petaluma, California, their town to live, shop, or do business in.

To keep it simple, they planned to barbecue chicken and hot dogs, with everyone obliged to bring a side dish and beverages. On the day of the event the food was bountiful. Three tables were set up just for salads, which included that reliable standby of older generations, green and orange Jello. There were “pots and pots” of home-cooked beans and others brought homemade pies and cakes.

A chart of the extensive Rogers family tree was on display, along with poster boards affixed with numerous family photographs. Everyone wore name tags bearing the number corresponding to which of “The Twelve” they descended from, and greeters helped familiarize newcomers with each other. Of the nearly 300 attendees, the eldest was Dorothy Rogers Hall, 82, and the youngest was McKenzie Mann, just two months old. Unbridled energy abounded, with more than 60 children under the age of 12. At the end of the celebration, the leftover food was thoughtfully wrapped and donated to the Petaluma Kitchen.

 From a story by Harlan Osborne in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, California

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