by Kyle Stinnett
Randy George, a New Jersey native, came to Colorado to attend the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he graduated with a degree in chemical engineering. After graduating, he worked for a large company in the midwest until the opportunity to return to Colorado presented itself. That opportunity was with the Lake Eldora Ski Resort. It was during his three years of managing the ski resort that George finished his masters degree in business administration. Still, George was looking for a way to make a bigger difference and saw an opportunity to make a more significant impact in the world by teaching at Rockmont College (now known as Colorado Christian University), where he spent the next four years teaching and sowing into young lives.
George stated, “At the end of my first year of teaching, one of my colleagues said, ‘One of the members of our board of trustees owns a dude ranch and their general manager just quit and you’ve got a little experience in recreation. Maybe they could use your help this summer.’ So, I ended up going to the C Lazy U Ranch, just outside of Granby in 1981.” George made an agreement with the owners that he would take on the role as acting manager over the summer in efforts to help the owners not feel pressured to find a replacement for the role too quickly.
George continues, “At the end of that summer they came to me and said that they had interviewed a bunch of people, but really wanted me to stay on as general manager. I told them I couldn’t because I had to teach back at the school. So it turned out that my second year at Rockmont, I was working full time at the school and weekends and holidays at the ranch. The third and fourth year I worked for the school, I worked part time teaching business and economic courses one day a week and managed the ranch the rest of the time.”
From 1981 to 1987, George worked at the C Lazy U Ranch before taking the opportunity to go into a property with a partner to buy Latigo Ranch in Kremmling. The George’s worked in partnership with another couple for 30 years before the couple retired and the George’s became sole owners of Latigo Ranch. This past summer the George family celebrated 36 summers of ownership and operations.
George stated, “One of the unique things about being in the dude ranch business for me, is that we’re involved with hospitality and tourism, but we are also heavily involved with agriculture and stewarding of the land. We have livestock that includes 75 horses, which entails a lot of knowledge and work. We hire quite a few staff over our summer months, so we have all of those aspects of business; meeting payroll and working with the forest service on leases.”
In discussing Randy George’s desire for running for county commissioner, George told us a story that happened earlier this year, “We were having a dinner at the ranch and a few of our friends from the eastern end of the county came over and mentioned to me that the commissioner currently over District 3 (Chris Manguso) was going to be stepping down at the end of the year and her seat would become available. They told me I should run because they thought I would make a good county commissioner. At first I was reluctant, but after thinking and praying about it, I thought maybe I should explore this a little bit.” From there, George stated that he began asking for insight from other influential people throughout the county and with their approval he began going to commissioner meetings to see what he was getting himself into. After a few meetings he stated, “I felt like I could really be able to make a positive contribution here.”
After he became certified as an official electee of the ballot, Chris Manguso stepped down from her role as County Commissioner to work for the county. Typically when a public office is open outside of regular election times in a county, the County Commissioners will appoint the individual who will fill the seat of that office until the next election. For County Commissioners, however, the party of which they ran under (Democrat, Republican, Independent), must appoint a member to represent the party on the county level. In June, Randy George was appointed county commissioner by the republican party and has been operating as the District 3 Commissioner since then.
In reference to his desire to run for this office again, George stated, “With the over 40 years of experience working in the county in the agriculture and tourism industry, the several years I spent serving on the tourism board, which, is an appointed position, I felt like I had enough experience throughout the county to really be able to help make a difference in what we are doing and going after here. I want to be able to help the county make the very best decisions for the sake of the county and be the representation the people of our county want in this office.”
In his closing statements George said, “I’m running on the Republican ticket even though I don’t agree with every direction the Republican party has taken, particularly at the national level. You have a lot less visibility and opportunity when running as an independent. But still, I am what I would call a social and fiscal conservative.”
Stay tuned next week for a part two of this interview with Randy George where he will dive deep into the opportunities he sees in Grand County.