Seventy Seven Outfit Durango

Seventy Seven Outfit

Sandy Young has been riding horses since she was 4 years old. “Dad bought my first pony; an unbroken, blue-eyed yearling Shetland stallion that took pleasure in bucking me off until I toughened up and rode him out. My next horse was a 2-year old Tennessee Walker stallion who kept me fearless.”

Larry Zauberis served in the U.S. Army from 1965-1970 that included a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam as captain of a fuel transportation unit. Afterwards, he graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelors degree in economics before moving to Durango with friends in 1975. He was quick to find work on the forest planting trees and maintaining trails. Larry had limited experience with horses but Chuck Hester, owner of Timberline Outfitters saw promise and hired him to pack a mule string that carried ore samples from Silver Mesa over Trimble Pass to Vallecito Creek trailhead.

77Outfit Durango Colorado

With all her possessions stuffed into a Chevy Nova, Sandy traveled throughout the west the summer of 1980. “I was looking for a job with horses. By September I was passing through Durango with only $50 left to my name.” A vegetarian at the time, she signed on with Timberline Outfitters to cook prime rib in hunting camp. It was at the Strawberry Patch trailhead in Elbert Creek that Sandy met Hester’s foreman, Larry Zauberis. “In a few days I was breaking camps and wrangling with the best of them.”

For the next five years, Larry and Sandy got together and rode the permit for the Dutch Creek Cattle & Horse Company who summer grazed 500 mother cows in fifty square miles of road less national forest lands in Hermosa Creek. They continued guiding & outfitting summer camps and fall hunts part-time under the name Dutch Creek Outfitters. “You better know how to take care for your horses when you’re working like this every day for 6 months.”

By 1986, being “camped out” year round had gotten old. It was time to find a place where the water was running “in the house”. Sandy rode off the cow range and put an irrigation shovel to work for the Dalton Ranch that provided such a place. The ranch produced 20,000 hay bales annually and managed a cow/calf herd in the Animas Valley. “Night riding during spring calving and operating the New Holland Stackliner was my favorite jobs. Little did I know that trapping 4,000 gophers out of the hayfields would later give way to the ranch becoming a golf course!”

SW Colorado Larry rode off the cow range a year later to run a pick and shovel for the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. He quickly moved up to operate heavy equipment for Maintenance of Way. “The job had all the challenges of being in the back country and especially when clearing snow slide paths in the spring and opening the line to Silverton.” Sandy and Larry continued to spend their free time exploring the San Juan National Forest on horseback.

In 1990, Sandy and Larry moved down valley so Sandy could manage a horse ranch. Under Sandy’s watch, Frazier Ranch expanded the horse boarding program, increased hay production and added a Red Angus beef herd. “For me, this job was about painting the open space in green grass for all to appreciate. It was here that our natural grass fed butcher beef program began.” It was during this time that Larry became a self-taught computer guy and Sandy found opportunities to use her writing skills.

Today the Seventy Seven Outfit home place is south of Durango on the Florida Mesa. Why the name? Sandy was born at 7:00 a.m. on a June day, “. . . and the number seven has followed me around ever since. I’ve won betting on the seventh horse in the seventh race, and I’d bet on a pair of sevens to win in a poker hand. It’s been a good life!”

77Outfit Durango Colorado