The western culture is alive and well in Idaho. Guest ranches, professional and amateur rodeos, equestrian competitions, wild horses and sweeping vistas dotted with livestock can be found all around the state. The dusty trails and cowboy hats conjure images from your favorite western movie, and now, you can play a starring role.
Last year, Larry Knapp, owner of 3K Ranch, developed the beginnings of Real Cowboy College, envisioning a place where all walks of life could come and learn the true cowboy way. He invited D.R. Bledsoe, manager of Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch, to partner with him in creating the experience. Founded on respect and integrity, Real Cowboy College, offers individuals a chance to learn the true “cowboy code” from professionals with years of invaluable experience.
Real Cowboy College offers multi-level education, from novice to expert, in several disciplines. The program focuses on cowboy skills and character. Students are immersed into cowboy culture, starting first with real cowboy attire. Coaches facilitate the shopping spree experience, while participants select clothing suitable for training. Orientation commences with a history of the western ranch horse, horse confirmation, horse care, grooming and horsemanship skills. Participants will be paired up with their own horse and will learn the basics of how to care for, groom and saddle their horse. Further education teaches horsemanship, roping, and working and moving cattle. The longer overnight trips will include cooking, campfires, cowboy entertainment and cowboy culture.
The 3 K Ranch in Star, Idaho, accommodates Real Cowboy College participants during portions of their instruction. Longer courses will start at 3 K Ranch then move up to Seven Devils Lodge for riders to experience diversified terrain and higher levels of education.
The Seven Devils Lodge, managed by D.R. Bledsoe, is located near Council in southwest Idaho, just south of the Seven Devils mountain range. The Seven Devils Lodge sits on the historic OX Ranch, a working cattle ranch since the early 1900s, and is located just a few miles from the deepest canyon in North America, Hells Canyon. Guests at the lodge will experience real ranch life, see spectacular scenery and have access to the largest wilderness backcountry in the lower 48 states.
Real Cowboy College employs top notch instructors and world class horse trainers at 3 K Ranch and Seven Devils Lodge. Three day packages can be booked at either location. The six day package includes both locations and is the ultimate Real Cowboy College experience. Students who attend and complete the full week program will receive a diploma, others taking shorter courses will be awarded a certificate of completion.
“The experience is unparalleled,” says Knapp. “Being a real cowboy is about character, about class, about doing the right thing even when no one is watching. We guarantee that when you leave Real Cowboy College, you’ll be a changed person.”
At the age of five, Knapp started riding with his father in Broken Bow, Nebraska. When his family moved to Idaho in the 60s, Knapp competed in and won numerous local, regional, and national championships in the reigning and cow horse categories. Knapp has lived on a ranch most of his life, surrounded by horses since his early teens. His life goal was to live the life of a true cowboy. Now you can, too, at the Real Cowboy College.
For more Idaho vacation ideas, go to www.visitidaho.org.