Kathie & Jim Yost Kathie and I met in college – I working on my master’s degree in linguistics and doctorate in anthropology and she working on her teacher’s degree. After a short while of teaching at the university level, we felt mission work in the Amazon was calling us. We left for Ecuador's Amazon Basin in 1973 with one daughter of 18 months in tow and our second daughter born in Ecuador. Our son came along a few years later while on a furlough in the US. All three spent their early years in the jungle, learning to fish, hunt, identify plants and animals. They swam and played daily in the river with their Waorani friends with Kathie(being a phenomenal teacher) home-schooling them in our thatch hut. The river was our center of life - we bathed there, fished there, carried our household water from it and just plain enjoyed its moods - from slow, silent foggy days, to growling muddy floods, to crystal-clear gurgling over the rocks in the "dry" season.
The tribe we lived with had had almost no contact with the outside world. They had the highest rate of homicide (an internal vendetta) ever recorded in the history of man, but were just coming out of that vendetta due to the influence of the teachings of Christ. Many had never seen outsiders prior to our presence, except maybe to kill them. I have made documentary films of the culture, the best-known being one for NOVA "Nomads of the Rainforest", an award-winning one hour documentary. My 40+ publications cover a wide range of topics on the tribe, the most recent and prestigious being in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. I return there every year to help the tribe in whatever they request, whether it be legal and land rights, courses in mechanics or carpentry, assistance in learning how to set up eco-tourism, or other economic projects. Annually, they invite us back for their conferences. Because our oldest daughter speaks the language and her playmates are now the tribal leaders, they convinced her to return with her husband and daughter to help them in various ways.
As long as I can remember I have had an interest in horses, riding before I entered school age, and getting my first job as a wrangler taking mule and burro trips up Pikes Peak when I was in junior high. When we bought the ranch in 1987 I knew I was home. Our three kids were very involved in the ranch operations, and when people asked them how they liked living so isolated, they just laughed. This is civilization compared to growing up in the Amazon rainforest.
Randy & Lisa George Randy and I met at the C Lazy U guest ranch in Granby, CO in 1982. He had just been hired as the General Manager, and I was working there during my summers off from Michigan State. Once finished with school, I taught English for a number of years. As a chemical engineer by training, Randy worked at a variety of engineering jobs. Jim and Randy had known each other in graduate school and later worked together at another dude ranch where they decided to join forces in buying Latigo. Four months after they signed the papers on Latigo, Randy and I tied-the-knot in 1987. Over the years, my teaching degree came in handy as I home-schooled our children(and now they are all very skilled writers with two of them even writing novels).
Our work at another guest ranch offered us a good foundation in guest service and a great eye for what makes guest ranch vacations special. Some of our favorite standard recipes are ones that were given to Randy by the head chef upon his leaving to create our own journey at Latigo.
From day one, Randy has been in charge of the kitchen here, and once our three children were old enough to participate in our ranch program, I joined him in the food preparation. This past summer was extra special for us as two of our kids joined us in the cooking each day. What a thrill to be able to work together full time. Our oldest son, David, is married now and makes his livelihood training horses for clients in Colorado, Michigan, and Illinois. Not only did he become the skilled horseman that he is through his work here at the ranch, but he also met his wonderful wife when she worked in Latigo’s kitchen.
Although some of the previous training in our lives before Latigo seems non-applicable to the jobs we’re doing now, we joke about the fact that Randy’s chemical engineering degree is what makes him such a great chef. I do use my English degree, however, when I encourage our staff to use correct pronouns and to avoid saying on the radios for all to hear, “Where are you at?” I do believe many of our staff had never before heard that it was improper to end a sentence with a preposition.
Regardless of our backgrounds, Randy and I feel incredibly privileged to have the opportunity to raise our family and work together in this wonderful environment. We have no trouble counting our blessings each day.