Photography Credit: Chip Bromfield/Rising Cross Ranch, LLC.

In the heart of Colorado, nestled amidst the rugged beauty of the Rocky Mountains, lies a family’s cherished property. This picturesque landscape served as the backdrop for an extraordinary event that brought together a diverse group of individuals dedicated to preserving the Western tradition, the environment, and the love of horses. Tawana Bain, the gracious host of this gathering, embarked on a journey that not only rekindled her connection with the outdoors but also created a deep sense of admiration and inspiration among those who had the privilege of witnessing her remarkable adventure with the Roundup Riders of the Rockies 3R’s. The 3R’s is a unique organization dedicated to preserving the Western tradition. Its members hail from over 15 different states, ranging from Connecticut to California, and their backgrounds span diverse professions, including ranchers, farmers, businesspeople, physicians, law enforcement officers, retired members of the United States Forest Service, attorneys, university professors, veterinarians, retired military personnel, and more. While their careers and life paths may differ, they all share a common bond—a deep appreciation for the American West, a commitment to conservation, a love for the environment, and a passion for horses.

The annual “Big Ride” organized by the Roundup Riders of the Rockies takes place over a seven-day period, usually within Colorado. However, it is the “Aspen Ride” that captured Tawana Bain’s heart and imagination, drawing her into an unforgettable experience that left her with a newfound admiration for the equine industry, the breathtaking outdoors, and the remarkable people who make up this organization.

As Tawana prepared to welcome the Roundup Riders of the Rockies to her family’s property, she knew she had to plan meticulously. She ensured she had the right clothing and shoes for the occasion. Little did she know that the most significant challenge would come from the horse she was assigned. As the host, she was expected to give opening remarks, a daunting task for someone who had not ridden a horse in nearly a decade. The thought of addressing over 100 strangers from the back of a horse filled her with anxiety. However, life has taught Tawana to adapt and pivot in the face of challenges.On the morning of her grand welcome, as all eyes turned to Tawana, her horse had different plans. Rather than gracefully delivering her opening remarks, the horse decided to present its backside to the crowd. In the face of this unexpected turn of events, Tawana laughed it off and, shouted to a team member – “ I guess I’ll let you take things from here!” She chose not to control every detail of the day, opting instead to embrace the unpredictability of the moment and let the journey unfold as it may.

Tawana’s laughter in the face of adversity set the tone for a day filled with breathtaking scenery, fall leaves, pristine trails, and the perfect Colorado blue sky. She marveled at the fearless children riding through the mountains at high altitudes and the warm welcome from the 3R members, albeit I am sure they were trying to figure out what this chic knew about the outdoors with her bushy fro flowing in the wind and her upstate New York accent. Gazing at the effort they put into this ride from the numerous trailers parked alongside the road spanning the mountain’s greenery to the sumptuous catered barbecue and traveling bar, this group had truly piqued her curiosity as she believes nothing in life is just a coincidence. After her Aspen Ride adventure, Tawana had the opportunity to engage in a conversation with two of the organization’s leaders, Jeff Keller and Corey Marshall.

Jeff Keller, reflecting on the event, expressed that it was one of the best Aspen Rides in the history of the Roundup Riders of the Rockies. He credited Tawana and her team’s hospitality and noted that the experience was truly exceptional. Tawana Bain reciproca

ted the sentiment, expressing her gratitude for the opportunity to explore her family’s property on horseback. She emphasized how the Aspen Ride allowed her to witness areas of their land that she had never seen on foot. Tawana’s experience exemplified the core values of the Roundup Riders of the Rockies—a deep connection to the Western tradition, horsemanship, camaraderie, and a shared love for the outdoors. One of the aspects that make the Aspen Ride special is its inclusivity. While some might describe the Roundup Riders of the Rockies as a brotherhood group, Jeff Keller explains that it’s more like a collective of like-minded individuals who share a love for Western tradition, horsemanship, and camaraderie. The organization welcomes not only men but also women and children to participate in the Aspen Ride. Jeff Keller emphasizes that they want to extend their gratitude to the family members who support their riders, as they play an essential role in allowing members to continue participating in these annual rides.

As the Roundup Riders of the Rockies celebrated their 75th anniversary, they look forward to the future. The organization recognizes the changing world and understands the need to evolve while preserving the Western heritage of trail riding and sportsmanship. Jeff Keller, who recently assumed the role of president, expressed his excitement about the direction the organization is heading. The Roundup Riders of the Rockies are embracing technology and new strategies to ensure their traditions remain vibrant and relevant in the years to come. The organization is also exploring new ride locations to keep the spirit of adventure alive.

The Roundup Riders of the Rockies members are deeply intertwined with the equine industry. Many members have their own equine-related passions and pursuits, and they support various equine-related initiatives. From therapeutic equine programs to charitable events that raise funds for equine causes, the Roundup Riders of the Rockies actively contribute to preserving the equine industry’s vitality. Tawana’s shared adventure with the Roundup Riders of the Rockies opened her eyes to the wonders of the outdoors and the bonds formed through shared experiences. Her adventure not only rekindled her love for horseback riding but also highlighted an opportunity to invite readers to embark on their own adventures and explore the beauty of the outdoors while forging meaningful connections with like-minded individuals.