Marlboro ~ Crazy Mountain Ranch Trip ~ Montana ~ 2005
My wife Edyta and I were on Marlboro's mailing list for almost 7 years. We have received birthday cards, gifts, outdoor equipments since 1998, but this year everything was a little bit different. In April 2005 we have received small box from Marlboro which included a little WELCOME mat for our front door and a letter that was saying "Call this number and make a reservation for your trip". My wife Edyta called the number and Marlboro representative told her that she won a trip to Montana. They gave her some information about the trip and told her to wait for more information to be mailed to us.
In a couple of weeks we have received a FedEx package with all kinds of documents to sign. We have just realized that we really won a trip for two to Marlboro’s Party Ranch in Montana. Four days, three nights, airfare, food, activities, and $1150 cash!
We have read all these legal documents and my wife even asked a lawyer friend to review them and make sure there is "no catch" to this trip. Basically all these documents were about promising not to sue them if we got injured thru out the trip, and promise to let them use our names and pictures for possible commercials in the future etc. etc. Anyway, we would find out that it would all be worth it to sign all those documents. The date for the trip was set for July 28th thru July 31st. We were already excited about the trip.
We were telling everyone that we have won a trip to Marlboro Ranch in Montana. Everyone was telling us, "There is got to be some strings attached" or "It has to be something to do with Time-share".
The paperwork was going back and forth thru out all month of May and June. A couple of weeks before the trip, Marlboro has sent us our flight tickets and the check. At that time we had no doubt about this trip at all. We were so happy that they picked us for something like that. According to our flight tickets, we were set to Depart from Long Island Islip McArthur Airport at 5:30 am to Cincinnati, OH than departing at 8:40am from Cincinnati to Salt Lake City, UT than departing at 11:00 am from Salt Lake City to Bozeman, MO.
We could not sleep the previous night because we were so excited. We left our dog in a pet-hotel for four days and at 3:45 am we left home. We have arrived to Bozeman, MT airport and Marlboro staff was waiting for us. They have welcomed us and told us that they would take care of our luggage. They told us that we have to get our name-tags and sign couple of more papers. We have signed the papers and got our name-tags and there were refreshments waiting for the guests at the airport. We weren’t the only couple to spend four days at the Ranch. About 50 winners and their guests arrived during that afternoon so altogether there were about 100 guests at the Ranch.
We got on the bus to go to Crazy Mountain Ranch. It took us 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to the Ranch. Within this hour we had at least 4 Marlboro Staff members to give us refreshments and information about the area. They also talked about the ranch regulations and rules. Emily, our guide also has mentioned that we can not tip anyone on the ranch, plus, as we learned later we didn’t have to spend a dollar there. We have learned that Marlboro owns a 36 miles radius, (2million acres) of property in Bozeman, Montana and only 10% of the local people know that it exist. It was almost 3:00 pm when we have arrived at the Ranch. As the bus entered the Ranch they put on the grand music theme from Magnificent Seven and three wranglers (one of them was Mark, from Brooklyn, NY) on horses were riding next to the bus and waving at us. It was all very American, like taken from a movie. Before we got out of the bus, we had to yell "Yeee-Haaaaaa".
We were assigned to room called "Gold Creek". The room did not even smell like smoker room. On our beds there were some gifts for us. We got cowboy hats, two rain jackets, two winter jackets, digital cameras, sunglasses, Swiss Army watches, t-shirts, pair of pants, ashtrays, cigarettes, pouch bags, bandannas, whistles, a lot of stuff!! We were in heaven, I was saying to myself, "God! Please don't let me wake up". We have not seen anything like that in our lives and I don't think we will ever see again, unless we win another trip from Marlboro!
Click Here for Day 1 Photo Album
We have started to walk around this old American town. We went to "General Store" for "Trading Post" and register for activities. We have registered ourselves for Adventure Tour to Yellow Stone National Park, rafting, mountain biking, fly fishing, horseback riding, and full body massage. I recorded pretty much everything and took some pictures. Than we went to Saloon, shoot some pool and had a drink. Than we have met our new friends Tommy and Melanie, they were from Corpus Christi, Texas. We became very good friends with them. They just got married and this was their honeymoon. We went to our rooms and found a letter that was saying "We have to wear our red jackets and cowboy hats for the photo shoot at 6:30 pm. Photo shooting took place on front of Hotel, where we were staying. After the photo we hung out in the Saloon and shoot some more pool. At 7:00 pm dinner was served, food was delicious. Service was amazing. There was also live band. So far, everything was overwhelming and amazing. It was just like a dream. After dinner we went to bed.
Day 2: Friday July 29th.
Click Here for Day 2 Morning Photo Album
Breakfast was served at 6:30 am. Our first activity was 7:30 am Adventure Tour. We were ready at the "Stage Shop" and got on the bus for the trip. After 1 hour of great information and jokes from our Marlboro guides, Chris, Chris, Nancy and our bus driver Doug we were in Yellowstone National Park. We have learned that Yellowstone National Park is a size of the State of Connecticut. Isn't that amazing.
Rafting was great; we had the most experienced guide by the name of Point. After a small lesson we were in the water and fighting the waves. According to Point, it was "Class 3" rafting. We also had water fight with other rafts, and needles to say, we were soaked. Water was cold but we were drying quickly. After 5 miles of rafting we got back to the Ranch. After quick showers, we joined the block party which included snacks, drinks and various shows and activities. We have learned bull catching with lasso, watched magic tricks and branded “Ranch Logo” into leather.
Click Here for Day 2 Evening Photo Album
Than it was dinner time again. After dinner my wife took Line Dancing class with Sarah (we are from Melville, NY and Sarah was from Melville, MO) I also had to do Line Dancing because my wife made me. Don’t tell anyone though. After Line dancing there was karaoke. Our friends Melanie and Tommy sung couple of songs. Linkin Park and some cowboy songs; they were phenomenal. After many Margaritas, we went to bed.
Day 3: Saturday July 30th.
Click Here for Day 3 Morning Photo Album
Breakfast was served at 6:30 am. Our first activity was Horseback Riding at 8:30 am. We rode a trail in the mountains behind the Ranch.
The horses were so beautiful and mellow. We took some photos as usual. Edyta's horse name was "Jet" and mine was "Peewee". Our friends Tommy and Melanie were with us too.
Than at 10:00 am, we all went to do Fly-fishing. We went to "Stage Shop" and got our 2 day licenses to do fishing in the State of Montana. We have walked to the lake, and put on fishing gear (waders and wading boots) to get in the water. Tommy and Melanie jumped in to the little car to get to the other side of the lake and Edyta and I jumped into the small boat. After 5 minutes, we had a small lesson about fly-fishing, which we have never done before. After all we were in the water up to our waists and fishing. Well, after a good hour we did not catch anything. It was kind of boring for me, but Edyta loved it and even mastered the fly fishing technique.
At 12:30 pm we had our lunch at the Ranch, and as always, it was delicious. We had "heart-shaped-chicken" and all kinds of cheese...etc. We ate and went back to "General Store" to register our selves for more activities. Edyta registered herself for full body massage at 1:45 pm, and I registered myself for the same massage at 2:30 pm (by the way, the masus was from Melville, NY – what a small world). While she was getting her massage, I recorded basically every detail of this little town. I knew that when we get back and tell the story to our friends and family, they will not believe us, so I recorded everything and took almost 500 pictures in 4 days.
Click Here for Day 3 Evening Photo Album
After my massages we went to Mountain Biking at 3:00 pm. It was the hardest activity of all and it was not that popular either. There were only 7 people registered and 2 did not even showed up. We went to the top of the mountains by the Marlboro van, geared up and basically came down the hill most of the time. There were a couple of points that we had to climb up or bike through the stream. The guides were very nice and courteous people.
After mountain biking we went to our rooms and we have found out that we have more gifts. They gave each one of us, leather address books and notebooks. At 5:00pm carriages took us from the ranch to the party by the lake. Then we walked back to the ranch just in time for the dinner. Marlboro Guest Services Manager Josh was at our table with us. Dinner was awesome. Then, live cowboy band entertained us. Josh presented all the staff, from Guest services to Chefs to Maintenance to Security. Then, they all danced and it was quite an impressive show. After our deserts we have exchanged addresses with all the friends we made. We went back to our rooms and packed.
Day 4: Sunday July 31st
Click Here for Day 4 Photo Album
We got up at 6:00 am and put our luggage in front of our door, which was then picked up and delivered to the airport. We returned our keys and received yet another gift - Zippo Lighters. After breakfast we said goodbye to our new friends. It was quite sad to leave. We had had such a great time during our stay. A bus took us to the airport at 8:30am and our first flight was from Bozeman, MO departing at 11:05 am to Minneapolis, MN. Our flight delayed an hour and we took of around 12:30 pm. After arriving to Minneapolis we had to make a connection to Cincinnati, OH in 5 minutes, however, our luggage did not make it. After arriving Cincinnati we had some time to eat. At 7:50 pm our flight departed from Cincinnati, OH to Islip, NY. We have landed at 10:00 pm and it was not a surprise not to get our luggage. We drove back home sad…we were back to the reality and life was busy again. Here I am, a day later, creating this website while waiting for our luggage to be delivered home.
Everybody from the wranglers and the owners of Ranch to the staff from Marlboro was very friendly and accommodating. They really treated all the guests as royalty. If you ever win a trip there, take us with you - we know all the Marlboro Staff members so we will get all the drinks for FREE!
Cruise to Caribbeans, $5000.
Vacation to Europe , $3000.
Trip to Marlboro Ranch at Montana, PRICELESS.