Denue named to Cowgirl 30 Under 30
Cody – The Wyoming tourism industry is no stranger to dude ranching. While most ranching families are boggled by the idea of paying to do ranch activities, many people flock to this kind of vacation as a way to experience a way of life foreign to many urban dwellers. Jamie Denue has been a driving force of this industry across the West, notching herself a spot in the coveted COWGIRL Magazine’s 30 Under 30, presented by the Cowboy Channel.
Originally from Oregon, Denue grew up on a ranch and was highly involved in 4-H and rodeo as a youth.
“Growing up in Oregon, ranching is just what we did,” Denue explains. “I went to college, got a degree in ecotourism and hospitality, and realized dude ranching was a thing.”
“It took me awhile to realize what I loved the most could overlap with my career,” she says.
Women of the West
With a mission to seek out and recognize young women who are making a name for themselves in the western industry, COWGIRL Magazine has been assembling their 30 Under 30 since 2019. Denue is the second employee of the Dude Ranchers’ Association to be recognized.
“This title truly means a lot to me,” she says. “I grew up in a traditional rural cattle operation, and I often got overlooked for my brothers and male cousins – so being recognized as a successful woman in this industry means a lot.”
She continues, “Growing up, people thought you could only be a successful woman in the western industry if you were a National Finals Rodeo barrel racer or a rodeo queen. It takes cowgirls of all types, and I found my place in this industry lies in awareness for what we do. And, that is just as important as being a gold buckle champion.”
Denue notes she wants her impact on the industry to be the opportunity for young girls to have a positive experience in the industry.
“I want to create positive experiences for young kids in this industry,” she says. “Whether it be showing them that working a dude ranch is a viable option, or simply giving them the positive experience I did not have.”
“At the end of the day, I don’t want them to feel looked over for their brothers and other male family members,” she states. “I want them to see their strengths and value for being just the way they are.”
Dude Ranchers’ Association
One of the oldest trade associations in the country, the Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) has been a middle man between guest ranches and prospective vacationers since 1926. The association represents 90 ranches in the U.S. and two in Canada. DRA is currently headquartered in Cody.
“People know if they take a vacation with us, they can expect a minimum level of hospitality,” Denue explains. “Those looking to stay can call and tell us about their group, and we will match them to different places based on what level of luxury and what kind of activities they are looking for.”
She notes they even have a filter tool on their website to help match potential customers to the right ranch for them.
“There is such a large spectrum when it comes to dude ranches,” she says. “Some of them are more focused on doing ranch work, while others appeal to a more luxurious vacationer and feature things such as gourmet cooking.”
Denue notes one of the biggest benefits of dude ranching is the awareness it brings to the ranching industry.
“We have people who come to one of our ranches and it’s the only exposure to this way of life that they will ever have,” she says. “A lot of our customers are families who have been coming back for years.”
She continues, “This is a great way to advocate for what we do, even for a brief snippet of time. Another big benefit is the revenue it brings to our member ranches. People pay these ranches to come visit, and the ranchers are able to invest in their own communities, which is especially critical when the market is volatile.”
Callie Hanson is a corresponding writer for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to email@example.com.