Bar W Cowboy Code

Guest Ranch Corral

When you come to vacation or work at the Bar W, you will notice visible signs posted around our guest ranch that hold a meaningful message and a gentle reminder of the Bar W culture. Consider it the “Bar W Cowboy Code,” it’s our abiding source of inspiration to improve every day.

We kick off the season with a two day training summit with nationally recognized motivational speaker, Kirk Weisler. Each year, we select a theme to add to our culture and incorporate it alongside the existing principles to guide us through the year.

Guests and employees are invited to participate in our four key pillars which build our guest ranch culture.


Guest Ranch Lodge“LFTG” stands for “Look for the Good” and is an inspiring message introduced to us by one of our previous wranglers. Thain wrote “LFTG” on his hand with a Sharpie marker every day.  Thain explained his background of training young horses which are notorious for testing their trainer.  By using, “LFTG” as a reminder to foster the positive attributes the horse demonstrated, instead of dwelling on the horse’s negative behaviors. Sure enough, the rest would follow.

Feeling inspired, we adopted that concept and ordered bracelets stamped with LFTG and hid Thain’s Sharpie marker (that can’t be healthy, right?). We apply the concept by seeking out the good in our colleagues, guests, horses, business partners, and in turn we hope they extend us the same courtesy. What we’ve discovered is if you focus on the good qualities you tend to expose more good.


212° is a book written by Sam Parker which we have applied as our customer service motto. It’s a powerful motivational tool intended to encourage everyone to go the extra degree. The concept: at 211°, water is hot. At 212°, it boils. And with boiling water, comes steam, and with steam, you can power a locomotive.

Just one extra degree makes all the difference.

212° motivates us to approach each day with a sense of purpose and renewed energy for serving our guests. In a matter of weeks it’s apparent the positive effects this ideology holds. During weekly staff meetings we end the meeting by giving shout outs to fellow team members who “212’d it.” Throughout the week it’s commonplace to hear, – “did you see that?…she really 212’d that one.”



Kirk also taught us about Chris Hatfield past Commander of the International Space Station. Commander Hatfield asked every single astronaut to perform a daily secret service for a fellow team member.

“BWSS” stands for the “Bar W Secret Service” whose mission is to do something nice for another person every day. Isn’t it amazing that small acts of kindness can improve someone’s entire day? Every interaction is an opportunity to have a positive impact on both of your lives. These selfless deeds are sure to have a ripple effect while nurturing the human spirit.

Bar W Guest Ranch Horses

big moo

This concept originated from Seth Godin’s book, Big Moo, which shares stories of ordinary people doing remarkable things. A firsthand experience of Big Moo is as follows, Ranch owner, Dave Leishman, and his family were vacationing in the Bahamas at Atlantis Resort. After an epic day of traveling, they found themselves at Starbucks, at the end of a very long line of vacationers.

It’s no surprise, an uncaffeinated lineup of tourists is about one spilled frappuccino away from inciting a riot. There was no small talk among customers and the tension was palpable.

Right on cue, a barista, emerges from the backroom, reaches for a coffee cup (you know, to write the person’s name on it) and looks at her customer and says, really loudly, “Oh my goodness those are the greenest eyes I have ever seen!” She turns to her colleague, and says, “I’m writing green eyes on this cup.” The barista continued down the line with “blue eyes”, then “brown eyes”, “blondest hair”, etc. Her tactful engagement diffused the tension, left customers smiling, and eagerly anticipating what she was going to say next.

During our weekly guest ranch orientation, Dave, shares each of these values and encourages guests to embrace and participate in the Bar W Cowboy Code. Additionally, supportive reading materials are available upon request including, “Cowboy Ethics”, “212°”, and the “Big Moo”.

7 comments on “Bar W Cowboy Code

  • Margaret Jennings

    Perfect! Great tools to teach your philosophy at the Bar W. As a former (lucky) guest there, I can still remember that feeling of being welcome, appreciated, and part of something special….even tho’ I had no ranch skills! Hope to come back!

    • Ashley Ducharme

      Margaret, it’s great to hear from you! We are delighted you felt part of our family when you stayed with us in 2015! Thanks for keeping in touch with us and come visit us anytime to freshen up your ranch skills. Cheers!

  • Sandy Ossenschmidt

    I love everything about this post!!!! You guys are on my bucket list if places to go 🙂

    • Ashley Ducharme

      Sandy, thank you so much for your kind words. Give us a call when you are ready to check off a dude ranch vacation from your bucket list! We would love to have you. Happy holidays!

  • Debbie

    Been following a little on the blog. And really enjoy the emails. Can’t wait until APRIL 1, 2018 to find out what dates are available for our 3 day stay with our grandson Bo. He is SO excited. Heck WE’RE as excited.

    • Ashley Ducharme

      Debbie, it’s wonderful to hear you enjoy reading the blog, we will keep them coming! Would absolutely love to have you and Bo join us this summer. We will reach out to you when we begin accepting 3 night reservations but you are always welcome to check in with us and see how availability is shaping up. Happy holidays!

  • Anna

    Hi from the South of France !
    I hope to be able to ring you and book a week with you in Fall !!!
    I will be on the phone and booking as soon as I can !
    Have a great day !


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