Dana and Alice Kerns, along with their sons, run the Big Horn Cattle Drive in Wyoming. But it’s not just a commercial venture for them, it’s their way of life. This duo live and breathe cattle, their family having started grazing cows back in 1887. Find out more about Dana, Alice and the incredible riding opportunity they offer below.
How long have you been running the riding outfit at Double Rafter?
I was born on the Double Rafter and we have been doing cattle drives for over 25 years.
And what was the background, history, reason for starting?
My family settled here in 1887 and started grazing the grass on the Big Horn Mountains in 1889. We trailed the cattle to and from that grass starting in 1889 and have been trailing them back and forth ever since. About 25 years ago, it became apparent that in order to continue to do our passion, which is ranching, we were going to have to find another revenue stream or get out of the cow business!
How many guest horses do you have?
Describe your herd of horses in a few words.
Athletic and sound-minded.
What is the philosophy or ethos behind your horse riding experiences?
We start every trip with a horsemanship clinic. This allows us to mount the guests on horses that will meet their riding abilities. Experienced horsemen don’t want a horse geared for a beginner, but a beginner doesn’t want a horse with a big motor either. Since we own our own horses, we can mount every skill level of rider.
What do you love most about your job (guiding)?
The thing I enjoy the most is meeting people from all over the world and showing them something very few people can even begin to imagine.
What is the most challenging part?
The most challenging part is without a doubt the logistics of the trip when we have to move camp. Another really challenging aspect can be when Mother Nature decides to test your sense of humor, as this is a-go, rain or shine. We have had many different types of interference from Mother Nature. Three times in 25 years we had white out blizzard conditions and had to sit in camp as it was too dangerous to ride with people who didn’t know the country and visibility was only about 25 yards. One time we rode into one of our spike camps that we had stocked up the week before to find that a bear had helped himself. He drank or poked holes in most of the beer cans, drank the lighter fluid and the dish soap as well as the next two day’s groceries. We had to get on the SAT phone, call the valley, order more groceries and then send a pack string out to retrieve the groceries. So probably the most challenging part would be solving the unforeseen problems that arise which are just part of the cow business.
Why should globetrotters sign up for this ride?
We believe we offer the only trip of this kind because we sleep in tents, move camp as needed, there is no electricity or indoor plumbing and it’s a-go, rain or shine! If you are not adventurous then this trip is not for you. We only do six trips a year and would be doing these same trips even if no one signed up to go, so this is reality and not just a commercial venture.
A tip that every globetrotter must know before signing up for this ride:
You are going to be tired, dirty, and exhilarated beyond your imagination.
Finish this sentence – Don’t leave home without…
Your sense of adventure.
What has been the most memorable or significant moment of your guiding career?
For some unknown reason we have had lots of people state that we have changed their lives. From my perspective it would be all the friendships that we have created all over the world.
Anything else you would like to add?
We are a family operation that thoroughly enjoys what we do. We love to let people live a piece of realistic history with our cattle drives and show them the passion we have for our livestock and way of life.
Are you up for this adventure? Click here for more information and our latest departure dates.