When Randy George (ChemEngr’71, MBA’78), left, and Jim Yost (MAnth’67, PhD’72), right, met in Boulder during the late 1960s, they had no idea they’d end up running a guest ranch together in western Grand County, Colo.
But since 1987 they’ve been operating the rustic Latigo Ranch, an 82-year-old spread near Kremmling, Colo., that offers stunning views of the Continental Divide.
Visitors dine in a historic log lodge, eat delicious meals prepared by Randy, take nature walks with Jim and go on trail rides — including overnight pack trips — with him and his skilled wranglers.
When the pair graduated from CU, they headed in different directions.
Randy, a New Jersey native, worked as an engineer for several years in Minnesota, Texas and Indiana.
Jim headed for South America with his young family — and stayed for a decade — to do anthropological research and Christian missionary work with the Waorani people in the Ecuadorean jungle.
He continues to visit the tribe, recently publishing an article in the National Academy of Sciences about the Waorani.
It didn’t take Randy long to get back to Colorado. By 1975, he was working as mountain manager at the Eldora Mountain Resort.
“I missed this state a lot,” says Randy, who worked at Eldora for three seasons while completing an MBA at CU. Later, he became manager of the C Lazy U, another Grand County guest ranch.
Eventually he reconnected with Jim, who returned from Ecuador in 1982. A native of Colorado Springs, Jim had led mule trips up Pikes Peak as a teenager.
“Working with Randy while I figured out what I wanted to do was a natural,” Jim says. “Truth be told, I’d always wanted to run a ranch.”
They raised their families at the Latigo — each has three kids — and the partnership is still going strong.
“The secret to our success has been to not let the smaller things derail us,” Randy says.
Jim concurs, noting they both have a lot of skills in a variety of areas, so they can cover each other.
“And that’s allowed me to go back to Ecuador for my research,” he says. “From my perspective, the partnership has been great.