One of the many things I love about fall is the lower temperatures. Those temperatures then allow me the chance to indulge in one of my favorite childhood fantasies — to be a cowboy working on a ranch while wearing a vest and a cowboy hat.
My love of playing cowboy goes back to my dad. I saw my first John Wayne Western with him, and my father created in me the fascination of living in the West — riding a horse, packing a six-shooter; running cattle and running the bad guy out of town! He helped me appreciate a good “old fashioned” Western any day of the week, a love and appreciation I still have to this day.
Oklahoma is home to a number of truly great guest ranches where you, too, can become one with the outdoors and relax, even if you don't engage in a childhood Western fantasy. In other words, you can enjoy the spirit of the Old West!
Experiencing the West is why visitors come to the Island Guest Ranch in Ames, located in northwestern Oklahoma. Carl White is the owner of the ranch, and he says they receive visitors literally from all over the world. But what they want when they arrive is pretty simple.
“They want to experience cowboys and Indians and that's why I always thought what will sell Oklahoma is what we have,” White said. “But that's what they want to do. They want to ride. They want that Western experience.”
Four generations of the White family have owned and run the 5,000-acre ranch. It is indeed a beautiful oasis, a place where you can ride, rope, run cattle, fish, shoot skeet, swim and much more.
Another family-owned operation is the Buffalo Creek Guest Ranch near Talihina in southeastern Oklahoma.