Dude Ranch Staff Page – People.

Organizational Chart:

  1. Ellen doesn’t report to anyone
  2. Dan, the Front-of-the-House Manager, and the Events Manager report to Ellen.
  3. Barn Manager and Facilities Manager report to Dan
  4. All wranglers, including the Activities Wrangler and Facilities Wrangler report to Barn Manger (except when “loaned” to another Manager).
  5. All kitchen and housekeeping staff report to Front-of-the-House Manager (except when “loaned” to another Manager).

Each staff member will be given a personal weekly schedule with assigned days off and assigned duties each day (such as feeding horses, scullery wench, rifle range master or campfire s’mores-maker, etc.). This weekly schedule will repeat each week, not changing EXCEPT

  • when Events Manager has last minute weddings/events booking,
  • a neighbor needs help with an emergency,
  • significant guest requirements arise (such as handicapped guests) or
  • staff members are added or removed from the schedule (we encourage a mid-season break for each of us).   

Before breakfast each morning, all Managers will meet for a 5 minute stand-up meeting to confirm staff assignments or last minute changes & additions. 

Immediately after breakfast each manager then meets with her/his staff to confirm the day’s assignments.

If staff members are “loaned” to another manager, they will report to that manager for the remainder of the day or until told otherwise. That manager will report back to make sure that all loaned staff members preformed duties to the best of their ability (or otherwise).

Note well: one of the things that makes our ranch stand out from other ranches is our willingness to be as flexible as possible. The only thing that you can depend on around here is change. There will be days (such as when we have a severely handicapped guest, a neighbor in need or a last minute event booking) when your assignment may change three times!

This means that you will always be on a team, and that team is likely to change every day! If you require repetition, consistency, and/or lots of supervision, you will not be happy here.

Your packing list – what to bring. 

Other basic information and critically important articles you must know before you arrive.

Guide to the folks around here in no particular order (except the ghost is last)…

Dude Ranch Staff: Ellen & Dan

Dude Rancher Ellen and Dude Rancher Dan kiss

Dude Rancher Ellen and Dude Rancher Dan and Dude Ranch Dog, Draco kiss

E-mail: ride@sundancetrail.com

Position: Mainly Owners, but they do everything.

Comments: Ellen & Dan will be married for 45 years in May, and are parents of three children: Teresa, Gary & Peter. Most of their married life was spent in Michigan, but they also lived in Texas for a few years before buying the STR. They are both RN’s by training; Dan has been a home care & hospice administrator, Ellen is a Woman’s Health Nurse Practitioner.

Ellen is sometimes referred to as HMTRQ or just RQ for “Her Majesty the Ranch Queen.” Dan is referred to as the AO which stands for… well, never mind….


Advice to all male staff!

if you have been accepted into the summer 2019 staff please email Marisa (bumgardnermarisa@gmail.com) with your picture and a short bio so that everyone has a jump on introductions!

Name: Marisa Bumgardner

E-mail: bumgardnermarisa@gmail.com

Position: Barn Manager

Bio: I was born and raised in North Carolina and began riding at the age of seven. I competed in dressage and eventing throughout middle and high school, and rode for my university dressage team 2012-2015. I graduated Appalachian State University in May of 2017 with a B.S. in Sustainable Development – Environmental Studies with a focus in Food Systems. I came to Sundance the following week as a Children’s Wrangler and began unofficially managing the barn a month later. After a fun summer season I decided to stay on as the Winter Wrangler. This will be my third and final summer running the barn, as I’ll be returning to NC to go back to school in August. I can’t wait to meet everyone in May and hope to have another exhausting but unforgettable summer. Please feel free to email me anytime if you have questions or concerns before you arrive!

Name: Meredith Smith

E-mail: meredagrace@gmail.com

Position: Children’s Wrangler

Bio: Hi, I‘m Meredith! I was also born and raised in North Carolina. Ever since I was little I have loved being outdoors and playing with animals. Lucky for me, I grew up in the countryside, with all the animals and woods a girl could want. This past summer I had the fantastic opportunity to work outdoors, in Yellowstone National Park. I was an enrollee in the Youth Conservation Corps and I made some great friends and great memories there.

As of now, I’m just about to graduate high school, after which I plan to take a gap year and volunteer with Americorps. And after that I’ll go to college and get a degree in psychology. I can’t wait to begin working and to meet everyone. See you all this summer!

Name: Maddie Johnson

E-mail: maddiekat231@gmail.com

Position: Wrangler

Bio: I’ve lived in Colorado for 11 years now, and I started pleasure riding about 10 years ago. I’ve always loved horses, which is why when I graduated high school in 2017, I decided to make a career with them. I currently have my certification in equine therapeutic massage therapy, and I will have my certification in equine sports massage therapy by this summer, and I hope to  eventually start a business within the next 2 years or so with it! I play piano and guitar, and I love being introduced to new music! I am super excited for this summer, and am looking forward to meeting you all!

Name: Karlie Ranck

E-mail: karliec@comcast.net

Position: Wrangler

Bio: My name is Karlie Ranck and I’m 21 years old. I am a retired gymnast of 10 years and also retired cheerleader of 5 years, total that’s 15 years of acrobatics and tumbling. My passions are animals and photography, dancing and singing. I am from Eugene, OR and enjoy any outdoor experience from fishing to hiking, camping and swimming and of coarse, anything horse related.


Name: Morgan Krantz

E-mail: mjkrantz618@gmail.com

Position: Wrangler

Bio: Hi all! I’ve lived in a small town Wisconsin, just west of Madison, for a lot of my life. I’ve been horse crazed since I knew what a horse was and it really hasn’t changed. I started riding when I was about five or so and have ridden western, saddle seat, and hunt seat. I’ve done some showing, but overall my horse and I prefer to stick to the trails and jump for fun. I am currently a pre-vet and animal science major here in Wisconsin, but I’m hoping to transfer to CSU before vet school. I’ve spent the last twelve summers of my life at a Wisco version of a dude ranch, you could say, and working at it for the last four years. I also intern at an equine clinic and bartend. I’m very excited for this summer and look forward to meeting all of you!

Name: Sam Hubert

E-mail: hubertsam297@gmail.com

Position: Wrangler

Bio: My name is Sam Hubert and I grew up in a small town in Indiana that’s not super far from Cincinnati. I’ve always loved horses and have worked on and off at stables for a good chunk of my life. I’m studying Wilderness Horsemanship and Ecotourism and Adventure Travel at Hocking College in Ohio, and I was super excited when I found out I would be spending my summer pursuing my passion. I love just about anything the involved the outdoors, especially hiking and climbing. I’m counting down the days until I get to start working, and I’m super excited to meet all of you!

Name: Carter Hedden

E-mail: carterhedden4@gmail.com

Position: Wrangler

Bio: I am a true southern boy born and raised in North Georgia. I ventured north to study at Hocking College for a degree in Farrier Science while playing college basketball. After Hocking I plan to attend Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in South Georgia to get a bachelor’s degree in Livestock Production. I’ve been around horses for majority of my life while either riding or working. I have a strong bond with my family and enjoy being around a family environment. Most of my favorite childhood memories were always marked by sports and my love for farm life. My future plans include opening my own farrier business while running cattle as well.


Dude ranch summer 2019 adventure vacation all-inclusive pet friendly guest ranch

Name: Matthew Galvas

E-mail: matthewgalvas@hotmail.com

Position: Facilities Manager

Bio: I was born in Michigan, but have lived in many other states to include New York, Alaska, Utah, New Mexico and North Carolina. I’ve been at Sundance for a year now, and this will be my second summer season. I love to travel and the only states I have left to visit are Hawaii and the New England states. I enjoy the outdoors and spending time with my dogs and combining the two of them whenever possible. My favorite store is Home Depot and I almost always have some kind of project going on or plans to start a new one. My limited experience with horses has been volunteering at a horse therapy non-profit which I absolutely loved and I’ve learned much more about horses and riding since arriving at Sundance. I look forward to meeting everyone this summer and completing another successful season!

Name: Mark Corwin


Position: Ranch Carpenter

Bio: I’m from Southold, a small town on the eastern most tip of Long Island, New York. I was a bayman/charter boat/ocean fisherman/sea scalloper for 35 years. Been involved in the family carpentry business from 1965 to 1990. If I wasn’t fishing I was building houses. Moved from NY to Colorado by way of Cocoa, Florida in 2003. Worked at Shambhala Mountain Center 15 years as facilities carpenter before recently taking the ranch carpenter job at Sundance Trail. Met Laura Smith, the local yoga teacher at a drumming circle in 2005 in Fort Collins, we still live together in RFL. I own and operate Red Feather Woodshop. I am semi retired. I’ve been clean and sober since 1995.


Name: Wil Wright


Position: Head Chef


Name: Joan Wright


Position: Assistant/Pastry Chef



Name: Amanda Unruh

E-mail: amandakunruh@gmail.com

Position: Marketing & Events Manager

Bio:  I am a midwest girl from the Kansas City area, growing up in the country, loving anything outdoors, animals especially! I fell in love with horses at a very young age and spent three summers attending a horse camp before receiving my first horse, a Missouri Fox Trotter, at the age of eight. I graduated high school in 2007 from Kearney High School in Missouri and went on to study Applied Behavioral Science with a focus on Early Autism Intervention at the University of Kansas. After working with children and adults with special needs for five very rewarding years, I took a summer position at a country club and fell in love with the event industry. For the last seven years, I have transitioned completely into events and marketing, planning several weddings, hundreds of corporate events, large-scale events of over 1K guests, nonprofit events, tournaments, and more. In addition to my professional experience, I have a philanthropy heart and have spent the last few years holding positions for the KC Corporate Challenge, First Hand Foundation Court Class/Alumni, and a creator of the Young Professionals Board for Wayside Waifs in Kansas City.

I began coming out to Colorado to ski at the age of five and it has always been my dream to live in this beautiful state. I officially relocated last May to find that perfect work/life balance and have not looked back once. I love traveling and getting outside with my main squeeze, Aflie. You will find us hiking, camping, skiing (Alf man stays home), exploring little mountain towns, rock climbing, reading, or trying something new. We absolutely love meeting new people and could not be more excited for our first summer at the Sundance Trail Ranch!
Alfie: My one-year-old rescue Boxer, his pretend/assigned birthday is Cinco De Mayo and will be two. He was adopted a year ago on 12/30/17 after being left outside in single digit degrees when he was thought to be seven months old at the time.


Dude Ranch Dogs: Draco & Roxie

E-mail: Just whistle

Bios: In case anyone was wondering who’s REALLY in charge around here…you’ll notice that Dan, Ellen, and Marisa get up multiple times during each meal/meeting to let the dogs in or out as they please. Prepare your emotional stamina to avoid feeding them the table scraps they will undoubtedly beg for. Both of these pups are huge lovers and fierce protectors of the ranch. They lead the way for all trail rides and hikes and love getting the attention of every guest that comes to visit us.

Dude Ranch Ghost Lady Katie

Dude Ranch Ghost Lady Katie

Dude Ranch Staff: Lady Catherine Moon

Name: Gratton Catherine Lawder Garton Moon, aka Lady Katie

E-mail: I am headless and therefore cannot read emails

Position: Ranch Ghost

Comments: You will be telling the Moon story every week – get familiar with it now!

Wrangler Stories