Letter To Applicants - Circle Z Ranch


Thank you for your interest in employment at Circle Z Ranch. Circle Z Ranch is a winter operating ranch, and we are open to guests from late October through early May. We employ seasonal staff members from approximately October 1-May 7.


The following information is included to give you a brief background on our operation. The Circle Z Ranch is Arizona’s oldest dude ranch, having been built in 1926 by Lee Zinsmeister amid cattle ranching country. He had looked all over Arizona for a good location and, in his words, “selected this site because of the mountainous area – ideal countryside for horseback riding – and the lovely winding Sonoita stream.” He also admired the many canyons and arroyos, each different, which lead down to the stream that is heavily lined with huge cottonwood and sycamore trees. The terrain invites exploration, as each bend in the trail reveals a new view of mountains, lake or strange rock formations. Add to this the chance to see rare birds, flowering plants, and unusual mammals – keep an eye out for coati mundi (chulo) or wild peccary (javelina)- and you know why guests keep returning.

The fourth-generation children of some of our guest families are now big enough to enjoy the same type of vacation their great grandparents did! That is the key here, to provide an old-time ranch experience by keeping much of the early western atmosphere; living in simply decorated adobe cottages, riding excellent horses (many ranch-bred), and enjoying fine food. The Ranch also appeals to those who like an historic setting. Indians and Spaniards, pioneers, miners and cattlemen have all crisscrossed the area.

Mrs. Lucia Nash of Cleveland, Ohio purchased the ranch in 1975. Mrs. Nash had come here as a child and had brought her children here throughout the following years. During a vacation here, she became aware that the ranch was in danger of being sold for development and she acted quickly to purchase it. During her nearly 40 years of ownership, she has increased the ranch holdings from 800 acres to 6500 acres of deeded land. In all there are 8000 acres that make up the ranch. Mrs. Nash passed away in 2018. Richard and Diana Nash, son and daughter-in -law of Mrs. Nash, are part of the management team and are at the ranch most of the season. They also have a home in Montana.

The General Managers for the ranch are Jennie and George Lorta, who have worked for the ranch for over 40 years. Their son Miko is the corrals manager and lives on the ranch with his wife Yesenia and daughter. We are truly a family run operation and take pride in our excellent hospitality and service to our guests.

Circle Z can accommodate 30-45 guests and employs 19-22 staff members. Our season starts for staff in late October and continues until mid April each year. The climate on the ranch is mild with warm sunny days and surprisingly cool nights.

The town of Patagonia is 4 miles away and Nogales, Arizona is 12 miles away. Tucson is just a short one-hour, as is Sierra Vista. We highly recommend that staff have their own transportation for exploring the area. While living the ranch life can be challenging, the rewards are numerous and many of our employees return year after year. We look forward to hearing from you and hope that your Circle Z experience will be a pleasant one and that you will remember it for a lifetime.

For an on-line view of the ranch, please see our web site at http://www.circlez.com/.


Please complete the online application in its entirety and provide full addresses and phone numbers for all employers. Wranglers must submit a video of catching, tacking and riding horse both in a walk, trot and canter in both leads. The ranch insurance requires a copy of your driver’s license with picture if you are hired. Upon extension of an employment offer, appropriate forms and a copy of your social security card will be required. Please include all zip codes, area codes and telephone numbers where they are requested. References will be checked. Seasonal employment runs from October through early May and we are only interested in those individuals who are willing to work throughout the entire season.


The available positions require excellent physical condition and stamina. Hours tend to be irregular and long. Extended periods of work without time off may be required.


The Ranch is a Certified Drug-Free Workplace and as such has a Substance Abuse Policy in compliance with Federal and Arizona State Law. The employee will be given a copy of the Policy and a Document of Acknowledgement and Receipt in which the employee agrees to comply with all the terms and conditions of the Policy. The Policy does include provisions for drug and alcohol testing for the following reasons: Reasonable Suspicion, Post-Accident, Post-Injury, Random, and Additional Testing. It is important that you understand this Policy. It is our intention and objective to make certain that while all employees are working at the Ranch, they remain drug free.


Will have received the Covid-19 vaccination

Will be willing to follow any necessary mask mandates and physical distancing as required by the county health department

Have a consistently positive service attitude.

Be willing to maintain a neat appearance and be well groomed while on duty or in
with the ranch guests.

Accept employment to work Saturdays, Sundays, religious holidays, national holidays and any shift, if required.

Accept employment to work the number of hours and days deemed necessary by the ranch.

You must be able to submit proof of your identity and legal right to work in the United States.

Be at least 21 years of age and be willing to complete the season.

Be willing to abide by the policies of the ranch set forth in the Ranch Policy

Guide and Substance Abuse Policy that will be given you upon formal offering of a position.


A clean and wholesome appearance is a must for employment at Circle Z Ranch. Visible tattoos, body piercings and/or extremes in hairstyles, clothing, jewelry or makeup is not permitted. Our guests expect each of us to present a neat and clean appearance at all times. Men should have neatly groomed hair, cut above the collar and be cleanly shaven prior to coming on duty at the ranch. Conventional dress is required for both men and women who are in contact with the guests. Good personal hygiene is expected of all employees at all times. We expect staff to be respectful towards each other and work as part of a supportive team. Gossip and negative talk concerning other staff is not accepted. We expect staff to communicate professionally with others on the ranch team, and to avoid abusive, bullying, or vulgar language at all times. Also, smoking for staff on ranch property is not allowed. If you are a smoker you may want to consider employment elsewhere. If you accept the free room and board which the ranch offers you may not also accept a job position off property.


The ranch is a seasonal operation and work hours will fluctuate each week according to occupancy levels. Employees are expected to work such hours and days as necessary to do their jobs. Extended periods of work without time off may be required. Work shifts, hours and wages will vary from job to job and all employees are paid semi-monthly.


Living on a ranch can be challenging; however, there are many things to do if you come to the ranch armed with an imagination. For example; shopping trips to Nogales, Sonora; visiting Tubac and the old missions; hiking on our miles of trails; visiting Tombstone and Bisbee for a taste of the Old West; visit our State parks – Lake Patagonia and Kartchner Caverns. You are also invited/encouraged to horseback ride on your days off. We suggest that you bring a vehicle with you so that you can take advantage of the many things to do. Employees may use and participate in ranch facilities and activities on their days and hours off. Any employee may go on a guest ride with a wrangler; however, permission to ride must first be obtained by you from the ranch foreman or management. Riding privileges can be used only when it will not interfere with your work schedule or the ranch riding operations. We have a policy in place that covers guests of staff, when they are welcome, and the charges for their accommodations and meals.


Employees who live on the property are provided meals as part of the package. Employees who do not live on the ranch are provided a meal when scheduled through a meal period. We accommodate dietary restrictions so far as they are in-line with what we offer to our guests.


Housing is provided as part of the package and most staff members live on the ranch in our bunkhouse. If you choose to live off the ranch it will be at your own expense. There are separate bathrooms for men and women, however staff may need to share a bedroom and/or bathroom. The bunkhouse has a lounge that is equipped with satellite television, a microwave, a cooking range and complimentary laundry facilities. Employees are responsible for their own internet access as the ranch does not provide Wi-Fi for employees. Bunkhouse rooms and the lounge are smoke-free. Each employee will be assigned lounge cleaning and yard clean up duties on a rotational basis. Sorry, no horses or pets allowed.



The ranch is situated on a plateau at 4,000 feet. The weather is generally sunny and mild. However, during winter months it can get downright cold, especially in the morning and at night. We usually get snow once or twice during the winter, but it doesn’t last long. Plan on bringing sweaters and jackets. During the spring months, the days will be quite warm, but the nights will be cool. Remember that we require western dress of those who are in contact with guests.


Travel to the ranch is at your own expense. Patagonia is located 65 miles south of Tucson on State Highway 82. We strongly urge employees to have their own car at the ranch so that they can easily get off property.


Circle Z Ranch would like to thank you for your interest in employment at our ranch. Although ranch work can be strenuous and is generally physically demanding, you will find a level of camaraderie with your fellow staff members and our guests that will make the job rewarding.



Fax to: (520) 394-2058

or Send to:

Jennie and George Lorta

Resident Managers

Circle Z Ranch

P O Box 194

Patagonia, AZ 85624