Yes, you can be gay and be a big ol' bona fide cowboy. Take a gander at Joe Webber, head wrangler of Powderhorn Guest Ranch (800-786-1220; PowderHornGuestRanch.com), an 80-acre dude ranch in the Colorado Rockies that hosts not only family and gourmet weeks but--under the new straight-but-not-narrow owners--gay weeks, making it one of only a few truly gay-friendly dude ranches in the world.
"With the previous owners," says the strapping Webber, "I was putting up this façade of being this big straight guy, and I was getting totally sick of it. I'd have to lock my door at night because these single women would come and knock. I was so closeted." So when new owners Greg and Shelly Williams asked him to stay on as head wrangler, he replied, " 'Look, I'm gay, and I'm not coming back unless that's completely OK.' They laughed. Greg said, 'Joe, get your ass out here. We don't care at all! Come out to everyone you want to!' "
"Other ranches are afraid to do gay weeks, but we're not," says Greg Williams. "Hell, we love it! You tell me what the difference is between having a gay week and having a family week. It's all about good people and good fun."
The 35-guest ranch, established in the 1870s, sits at an elevation of 8,652 feet in the high alpine desert, adjacent to 1.4 million acres of untamed wilderness in Colorado's Gold Belt. Though its primary attraction is horseback riding, the ranch offers some of the best dry-fly trout fishing in the United States thanks to its prime location on the renowned Cebolla River. Other ranch activities include campfire gatherings, hunting, overnight outdoor camping, hot-tubbing, volleyball, and four-wheel driving trips. In spring, guests can watch calving, branding, and--for those with the stomach for it--castrating demonstrations. For 2007's gay weeks (June 3-9 and August 26-September 1) the owners have invited the gay line-dancing group the Stompers to entertain guests.
"Greg keeps telling people I'm bare-assed under my chaps and I'm not, but I told him if we do a gay week, I'd do it!" promises Webber. "Here at Powderhorn there's almost no gay people--so far. So I miss sex, but this is a dream job. I spend off-season working ski resorts so's I can ski. The best would be to meet someone and have him here."
In addition to the PowderHorn gay weeks, Montana-based OutWest Global Adventures (800-743-0458, OutWestAdventures.com) has openings for two of their four LGBT working-cattle ranch weeks in 2007: June 10-16 and August 26-September 1.