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Wild West Woman’s Week


By Nancy Brannon

Jo Kirchoff and her daughter Krissa, of Rosemark, Tennessee, took a mother-daughter vacation to the Montana Sky Guest Ranch for “Wild West Woman’s Week.” The ranch is nestled within more than 8,000 acres of beautiful, rugged countryside and backs up to the pristine Gallatin National forest. The Ranch offers the Wild West Women Adventure for three weeks each May; women can choose which week they want to get away to Big Sky Country.

Jo and Krissa had plenty of fun activities in addition to riding the Ranch’s horses along trails throughout the beautiful countryside. The first evening they hiked one of the Ranch’s many trails. They rode horses twice daily on the trails “up the mountains, Jo said. “Some of the trails looked a bit dangerous; there were huge cliffs!” So she was wary of her horse getting too close. “They have wranglers who go with the riders and all rides are guided,” she added.

“On day two, we rode two and a half hours over the ridges, and went to the actual working ranch. There we had a big barbeque lunch. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner there were really awesome! But I didn’t gain a pound.”

At the working ranch, guests could opt to do team penning, cattle sorting or they could play golf. “I chose cattle sorting,” Jo said. Krissa also opted for the cattle sorting. “There were 13 calves that were not yet branded. So you had to match the calf’s tag with the cow’s tag and then move them together to a different pasture to brand them.” She and Krissa were few of the guests who actually knew a bit about working cattle and were very comfortable heading into a herd of cows, including bulls. “I had a blast doing it! There was a herd of about 200 cows, including three bulls. I’ve had experience with horses and cows, so I wasn’t afraid of riding into the herd, particularly not afraid of the bulls. This was right up my alley! A great experience!”

“Another evening they brought a team of draft horses to pull a wagon for a hay ride, and we also had hors d’oeuvres. They let the guests drive the team. Both Krissa and I took a turn driving.

Every day guests could take a morning or an evening hike. In the evening, there was a bar and dancing for social hour. Guests could visit with the wranglers during social hour, too.

One option was a guided tour to Yellowstone National Park, either by bus or an all day hike. Jo and Krissa chose the all day hike and had some unforgettable experiences and sights. “We saw the famous grizzly bear with twins. We saw another grizzly up on the ridge, too. But we watched the momma and babies as a professional photographer there got photos of the three. We spent all day in Yellowstone. One part that was particularly interesting looked a lot like the Grand Canyon, and another had a huge falls. We saw Old Faithful, but from a different angle. We hiked up the ridge to see it from above. We spent time at the hotel at Yellowstone Lake, enjoying some afternoon refreshment. ” Jo’s sister-in-law is pastry chef there, so they had some “family time” as well as vacationing.

Then, of course, there was more horseback riding, usually twice a day. Jo and Krissa went fly fishing one day, and caught a few trout, then released them.

On the last day, Jo went skeet shooting. Jo was so good that the wranglers started calling her “Annie Oakley” for her proficiency. Once, they two disks were flung into the air. “I got both!” Jo raved. “It was really a good trip. I had so much fun! We both did!” she said.

For more information about Montana Sky Guest Ranch and the Wild West Women Adventure, visit:

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