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 three 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 key pillars which define our 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 in ink every day.  Thain explained his background of training young horses which are notorious for testing their trainer.  By using, “LFTG” as a reminder to focus and build on the things the horse was doing right  instead of trying to correct what the horse was doing wrong.  Sure enough, the rest would follow.

Feeling inspired, we adopted that concept and ordered bracelets stamped with LFTG and hid Thain’s ink pen (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 are doing the same to us. What we’ve discovered is if you focus on the good qualities you tend to expose more good.


212 Degrees 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 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. And with boiling water, comes steam, and with steam, you can power a locomotive down the tracks.

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 anonymously for a fellow team member in addition to their normal responsibilities.

“BWSS” stands for the “Bar W Secret Service” whose mission is to do something nice for another person every day though it doesn’t have to be anonymous. It is 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 have a ripple effect 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 the Atlantis Resort.  One early morning they found themselves at Starbucks, at the end of a very long line of vacationers extending right out the door.

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, “Hey Johnny, 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 awaiting and anticipating what she was going to say to the next patron.

Lean In!

In 2019 we had three wonderful days of training with Kirk and Dave had all sorts of acronyms to set the culture for that year like “Plus  One” and “FOT” as well as a couple more and having trouble deciding which one was the best to use.  When Kirk summed up the training, he looked at Dave and said that in all of his years he had never seen a team “Lean In” on the exercises like this one did.  He went on to say they not only leaned in on the team building activities they leaned in to each other.  It became crystal clear to Dave that the year would be defined on how the staff “leaned in” to the tasks at hand, each other and the guests.  So we invite our guests to join us in making your vacation a lifetime memory and “Lean In” by giving us your feedback and joining in on all the activities with 100% participation.

During our weekly guest ranch orientation, We share each of these values and encourage 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”.

9 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 !

  • N Moore

    Just wonder if you have activities for senior citizens to enjoy who are not able to ride horses or walk long distance. Would love the atmosphere of outdoors and ranch.

  • Donna M Puhl

    Love The Bar W Cowboy ( Cow”Girl”) Code, words to live by everyday. The more I read about your place the more excited I get about knowing I made the right choice to vacation with The Bar W Ranch family in Sept 2020. Happy Trails!


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