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Dude Ranch Golfing at the Double JJ in Michigan

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Dude Ranch Golfing at the Double JJ in Michigan

Read Jetsetters Magazine at www.jetsettersmagazine.com

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"Well," Evan Burt said, squinting in the afternoon sun, "I came here seven years ago for a summer job. And I'm still here."

Evan and the other ranch hands that epitomize the superior customer service evident everywhere at the Double JJ Ranch and Thoroughbred Golf Resort in Rothbury, Michigan made me want to stay there, too.

The ranch and golf resort are just north of Grand Haven on Michigan's "left coast". It prides itself on being the only full-service dude ranch in the Midwest, according to a press release. The ranch opened in 1937 as the Jack and Jill Ranch and expanded its operations in the mid-90s. Facilities include the Back Forty, with a general store, ice cream parlor, a "Waterin' Hole" swimming complex with a 150' waterslide and a dining hall complete with a mechanical bull; and the ranch, offering horseback riding, archery and rifle ranges and canoeing on the Big Wildcat Lake. Winter activities are offered at the ranch also, from tubing and cross-country skiing to dog-sledding and snowmobiling. Cabins are available for lodging, as well as teepees and Conestoga wagons for families with children aged seven and older.

Unusual accommodations at the Double JJ include teepees and Conestoga Wagons for kids only; right - secluded Back 40 cabins. Below - The rustic "Loft" on the Thoroughbred Golf Course.

Other accommodations include the Thoroughbred Loft and Homestead Condominiums, both bordering the golf course. I stayed in the Loft, a gorgeous three-story rustic hotel with - gasp! -running water, television, telephone, a minifridge and even Jacuzzis in select suites. Don't expect plush carpeting or mahogany furnishings, but after a day on the ranch, you will welcome the room for what it was designed for - sleeping.

According to the literature, I was "minutes away, miles from the ordinary" attending the annual Media Golf Round-Up at the 1,500-acre ranch with its adjoining championship golf course. So I was ready for anything that weekend, including taking part in my first rodeo on Friday. The ranch holds about twenty rodeos a year, and this particular weekend marked the first of the 2003 season.

During one of the audience participation portions of the rodeo, I was coaxed into the rodeo ring, only to find myself chasing baby bulls with ribbons tied to their tails. The object was to snag one of these ribbons, and the winning ribbon would win a cute lil' statue commemorating the feat.

All but one of the bulls had been stripped, and I found myself uniquely poised to rip a ribbon off the running ribeye.

So, there I was, standing with my left shoulder a few feet away from the fence that encloses the ring. A crowd of people are chasing the last piece of beef counterclockwise, and it's running along the fence, towards me. Without thinking, I slam my hip into the beast and slide my left hand over its back and gripped its tail, still sliding my hand downward.

A kick and a snort later, my cow dung-encrusted hand holds a ribbon up high over my head.

No, I didn't win the prize, but I felt like I had.

The rodeo clowns performed amusing skits, and the real cowboys busting broncos and bull riding were amazing to watch. Other audience participation moments included trying to ride wild donkeys and an impressive display of skill from some of the more regular attendees, galloping atop steeds from one end of the ring to secure a rope on the other end in a rodeo-style elimination game.

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By the staff, Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent. Read Jetsetters Magazine at www.jetsettersmagazine.com

About the Author

Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent. Join the Travel Writers Network in the logo at www.jetsettersmagazine.com


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