My name is Harry Holden and I run the Dude Ranch portion of the Triple H Ranch in Big Horn, Wyoming. If you want to be a stickler about it, the name on my birth certificate is Harriet, but NO one ever calls me that. I guess it could’a been worse. My folks had a thing for “H” names and they might have stuck me with Henrietta or Hepzibah—now wouldn’t that have been lovely. As long as you stick to Harry, we’ll get along fine.
My son Jeff runs the cattle operation of the ranch. Originally, my brother Hank—see what I mean about “H” names—was the cattleman, but when he was killed, almost twenty years ago now, my sister-in-law asked my husband to take over. Frank managed the stock until his death five years back. Now Jeff does a bang-up job.
Tell us more about your Family.
I already mentioned Jeff. He and his wife Liz and their three boys live in the main house on the ranch. Except, of course, when the weather gets too severe. Then they move into town, so the boys don’t miss school. I love that they are so close and I get to see them grow up. Just wish my daughter Paula wasn’t so far. She lives in Denver.
My sister-in-law Celia still lives in their family home in the southern part of the ranch. Her oldest, Shawn, is a Marine officer and is due home on leave shortly. Her older daughter is an attorney in Cheyenne, but the other lives in town, near the clinic she shares with two other doctors.
Then, of course, there’s my other family—the people who work at the ranch. Most of them have been with us for years. The majority are summer hires, but several are full-time and live here on the ranch too. I love having the college kids around. They keep things lively and me up to date. By the way, I’m in need of a cook for the summer. If you know anyone good, give their names.
Recount for us the scariest moment of your life.
Let me think about that. Growing up on the ranch, you learn to deal with things that city folk never encounter. On the other hand, some of the stuff I see on TV would turn my hair white.
I wasn’t directly involved in one of the most frightening things to happen here, but I was definitely upset by it. An injured grizzly bear wandered out of the hills and decided the pickings were easier at the ranch. Not a good situation for the stock or the guests. Even though we did everything we could think of to discourage him, he continued to hang around. One day he went after one of the men and if my nephew Shawn hadn’t been a crack shot, Charlie could have been seriously hurt or even killed. Thank goodness nothing like that has ever repeated.
What helps you unwind and relax?
Since I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, all I need to do is step outside to see nature’s gift to us all. Nothing more relaxing than that. Of course, during the height of the guest season, things become hectic and sometimes I need to get away by myself for a while. While the urge to hop on a plane can be awfully appealing, I have to content myself with a ride in the hills or maybe a relaxing massage in town.
Once we close up for the winter, I can indulge my wanderlust and head for warmer climes. Not that I’m a beach bum. I’ve been too active all my life to lie on the sand for long. No, my passion is exploring. I love to find and learn about new places. Next winter I’m going to Tibet. I’ve always wanted to see the Himalayas. Celia, my sister-in-law, is going with me. I can’t wait.
What makes you happy?
That’s simple—my family and my ranch.
What one word that best describes you?
Down to earth. Guess that’s actually three words. I love my life and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Can you tell us something surprising about you?
I hadn’t originally planned on running the Dude Ranch. I planned on being a writer. Even majored in Creative Writing in college (with a minor in Business, to be safe). I figured Frank could do the guests—he was a real people person—while I wrote and raised our kids. Hank’s death altered that dream. Life rarely goes the way you plan. I still dabble on occasion, but mostly my creative energy goes into pleasing our visitors.
Any writer or book you’d recommend?
There’s a new gal who just wrote a book about an incident that happened last summer. Her name is Kate Wyland and the book is WYOMING ESCAPE. It’s a pretty accurate and exciting description of what went down. Hope we don’t have anything like that again.
I hear she’s got another book coming out soon. FOREWARNING is about Kasey Martin, an alternative healer, who must regain her faith in her psychic abilities and then use them to protect herself and those she loves.
Lastly, what’s a favorite quote.
Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.
With two people dead and fearing she's next, city girl, Mikela Richards, flees her home and finds temporary refuge at a Wyoming Dude Ranch. There she encounters the no-nonsense owner, a woman named Harry, and her nephew, Shawn Saunders, a compelling, on-leave Marine.
Back from Afghanistan to heal both physically and emotionally, Shawn recognizes the type of fear in Mikela's eyes—it's one of the things he's come home to forget. Even though he knows it's a bad idea, he can't stop himself from trying to help her, while she's even more afraid of letting him.
When the killer finds Mikela, she must decide if she can trust Shawn and his ranch family or if she should continue to go it alone.
Reading and horses have been life-long passions for Kate Wyland. Now she combines the two by writing romantic suspense stories, usually in a horsey setting and often with a touch of paranormal.
Kate started riding at three years old but as an adult was side-tracked by marriage, children and career. When her youngest turned out to be horse crazy too, she returned to her first love. Throughout the years she’s taken part in a wide variety of equestrian activities. She and her husband own three older, semi-retired horses and can’t image a life without her equine buddies.
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