Ranch gets dose of TV reality

Iacovettos, Saddleback Ranch star in new show, 'Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive'

Melinda Mawdsley

The Saddleback Ranch is tucked near the meandering Trout Creek with bluffs staring down from above. On all sides are mountains and picturesque views of open space.

Great. But producers and sight scouts for E! Entertainment Television’s show “Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive” wanted to know whether Saddleback Ranch “was scenic enough.”

“I said I thought it was,” said Wayne Iacovetto, owner and operator.

After a thorough search that included a questionnaire, repeated trips to the area and numerous phone calls, producers selected Saddleback Ranch, located three miles from Milner off Routt County Road 179, from more than 60 potential sites.

Taping for the eight-part series, which debuts Aug. 7, wrapped after the July 3 cattle drive in Steamboat Springs. That cattle drive, an annual Fourth of July event, roped the producers in.

“They liked that idea of the cattle drive into Steamboat,” Wayne said. “They said ‘That’s our finale.'”

On Thursday, the Iacovettos were busy tending to cattle and other matters relating to their ranch. During the 20-plus days of accommodating the TV crew’s needs and teaching children of the rich and famous to ride horses and herd cattle, the family had neglected the needs of their business and livelihood.

“We are way behind,” Wayne said.

“It took us a week after they left to get all the cattle back,” said Justin Iacovetto, Wayne and Luanna’s son. “They didn’t know what a gate was.”

But, gathered in a shaded barn, it appeared as if the Iacovettos will have stories to share for years to come. The opportunity to host or — in the case of son Jerad Iacovetto –tar in a reality TV show is a rare opportunity, especially for cowboys and cowgirls in Northwest Colorado.

The Iacovettos aren’t reality TV buffs, though they’ve heard of the expression “you’re fired” or the concept of “voting someone off the island.”

“But this is one we’ll watch,” Luanna said. “It was like when you come across an anthill and kick it up.”

June began with the Iacovetto family and its employees tending to their ranch. Then the camera crews began to show up. Then the contestants arrived. Then the 24-hours-a-day process of filming the contestants’ interactions with one another, the horses, the cattle and the ranch owners ensued.

“The first episode should be comical,” Jerad said.

The family has seen some of the footage shot during the beginning stages of the annual cattle drive from Saddleback Ranch to downtown Steamboat Springs.

After driving the cattle from their ranch to Wolf Creek Ranch the day before heading into Steamboat, the Iacovettos gathered around to watch some tape.

“If the rest of the show is close to that, it will be a lot of fun,” Justin said.

The family can’t discuss specifics until certain shows have aired. Justin, and particularly Jerad, worked the most with the contestants.

Son Jason Iacovetto appeared briefly, and Jerad’s girlfriend, Lane Cullen, worked with the contestants, as well.

Wayne was hired to be “the mysterious, ranch owner,” he said. Luanna worked behind the scenes.

Jerad did say three members snuck away during taping to catch a matinee showing of “Batman Begins,” and he and a film crew went into the Chief Plaza Cinema to take them out.

That wasn’t much of a secret. One, because Steamboat is a small town, and two, everyone on Lincoln Avenue and in the theater saw the film crew with their giant cameras.

Most of the filming was done in a more isolated area of Saddleback Ranch out of site from even the Iacovettos’ closest neighbors. Helicopters were brought in to get some footage, as well.

At the conclusion, Wayne said, each of the 10 contestants wanted to buy a horse. Several have expressed interest in returning to the ranch. “Four totally changed,” Jerad said.

The Iacovettos are planning to host a premiere party Aug. 7 in Steamboat Springs, but E! has not released the final time slot for the show.

To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208

or e-mail

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