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We love what we do 

The Ranch was homesteaded in 1921 as a land grant. Cattle and hay were raised on the ranch until the late 1930s. But because of the pristine location, closeness to the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and abundance of wildlife, outfitting for hunting of elk, deer, and bear began. The name of the JJJ Ranch came from a cattle brand, and you’ll see our horses with JJJ brand on their left hip.

Max and Ann Barker’s love affair with Montana began in 1958 while on vacation from their Iowa farm. Eighteen years later, Max & Ann along with a 12-year-old Ernie, purchased the ranch, renaming it the JJJ Wilderness Ranch. Although they had grown up with livestock and were experienced horsemen, the challenges of turning a run-down hunting lodge into a dude ranch seemed immense. After several years, many hilarious stories, and lots of hard work, Max and Ann enjoyed living the dude ranch life until their passing. We are honored to follow in their footsteps.  

Ernie Barker earned a degree in Animal Science from Montana State University in Bozeman where he met Kim, a registered nurse from a longtime Montana farm and ranch family. Our daughter, Hayley, and her husband Trey Kokoruda also graduated from MSU with degrees in Equine Science and Agricultural Business and are an active part of the ranch. They are parents to our two favorite cowgirls, Breyer and Parker, and we are happy they are keeping on the family tradition. Ernie is a licensed outfitter with the Montana Board of Outfitters and a permittee on the Lewis and Clark and Flathead National Forest. We’re passionate about this area and our industry and are very involved in our local community of Augusta, and ranching and tourism associations. 


One of the reasons the Triple J Ranch is such a special place for our guests is the young adults who dedicate themselves to helping us provide a quality vacation. We handpick talented, capable employees who enthusiastically provide impeccable service for each and every guest. Their genuine warmth and friendliness is evident in all facets of the ranch, from the corral to the kitchen to the children’s program. Every week our guests compliment the energy and hard work of each staff member. We promote a team effort and that will be evident in all we do.


At the Triple J Ranch, you’ll find a fine herd of Quarter horses from young colts we are training to a few hay burners who are old friends that we have retired after many years of faithful service. They each have unique talents and personalities that we have learned from working with them over the years. Many have been born, raised, and trained on the ranch. We also use mules for packing – gotta love those big ears! We raise and care for our horses the same way most people raise and care for their children.