|Andy and his 12" with Zambuto optics.|
It might be a little early in your amateur astronomy hobby to be thinking about "lifetime scopes." Many contributors to this forum have been amateur astros for many years and own several telescopes.
A 12" Dob, say F5, is a great size though. Not too big, not too small. I see two 12" dobs in the classified section of Cloudy Nights in the $400 range. Certainly more affordable than a new scope. However, unless you trust the source, I do not recommend buying a used scope unless you can try it first. I speak from experience. So if you bought used, that would mean buying from someone relatively near your location.
I'm not a fan of Lightbridge scopes for the reasons Starman 1 stated earlier. I love my Dobstuff Dob. It's sturdy but light weight. Out of your price range though, unless you buy used.
Lots of dark sky sites in Utah! You're lucky. Probably some Astro clubs there too that might be helpful/fun to be with.