Ranching

Trash Talk

Sep 21, 2016 By Christopher Hooks

The scion of one of Laredo’s first families wants to build a mammoth landfill on his ranch. But the opposition is fierce and vocal—and backed by none other than his uncle and his cousin.

When the Dust Settles

Aug 24, 2016 By Eva Hershaw

After Texas Tech researchers discovered that windstorms may be spreading antibiotic-resistant bacteria from local feedlots, public health experts stood up and took notice. So did the Texas Cattle Feeders Association.

The King’s Palace

Jan 27, 2016 By Skip Hollandsworth

The descendants of Richard and Henrietta King do hereby invite you into the King Ranch with these exclusive photographs of the one-hundred-year-old Main House.

Ranch Blessing

Jan 20, 2015 By Dan Oko

How the sale of the Powderhorn Ranch is the greatest thing to have happened for Texas.  

The Boys of the Dipper Ranch

Jan 21, 2013 By Sterry Butcher

On 50,000 acres that they have mostly to themselves (not including their hounds, mules, horses, cattle, chickens, piglets, and parents), Jasper, Trevor, and Tanner Klein live a life almost untouched by the modern world.

When the Sky Ran Dry

Jan 21, 2013 By John Burnett

Bad as the current drought is, it has yet to match the most arid spell in Texas history. Nearly two dozen survivors of the fifties drought remember the time it never rained.

The Last Empire

Jan 20, 2013 By William Broyles

The King Ranch saga: how one family conquered, tamed, loved, toiled on, and fought over a great piece of Texas.

Gentling Cheatgrass

Jan 20, 2013 By Sterry Butcher

What does it take to break a wild mustang? Patience, horse sense, experience, and if you’re Teryn Lee Muench, no more than one hundred days.

Catcher in the Raw

Jan 20, 2013 By Don Graham

Forty years after its publication, Horseman, Pass By is still one of Larry McMurtry's finest novels—and as groundbreaking as J. D. Salinger's masterpiece.

All The King’s Men

Jan 20, 2013 By William Broyles

At the core of the King Ranch is the vaquero tradition, the centuries-old culture of horsemen and cattle that began on the central plateau of Spain. Richard saw how that culture could transform the Great Plains, and in the 1850s he made a recruiting trip to Mexico. The families he…

Little House on the Prairie

Jan 20, 2013 By William Broyles

Robert E. Lee advised his friend Richard King to build his permanent home at the highest point on the surrounding prairie, a little rise on the banks of Santa Gertrudis Creek. The first building was a tiny adobe jacal built of mud and sticks. The one-story house that replaced it…

A Family Affair

Jan 20, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Richard King and his wife, Henrietta, founded the King Ranch. Their daughter Alice and her husband, Robert Kleberg — shown with their children in the turn-of-the-century photograph at the right — founded the family that sustained it. When Henrietta King died in 1925, the ranch’s 1.2 million acres were divided…

The Captain’s Kingdom

Jan 20, 2013 By William Broyles

Ranching ultimately comes down to managing land and water. The King Ranch is blessed with much of the former and almost none of the latter. Before it was divided among Richard and Henrietta King’s five children in 1935, the King Ranch was bigger than Delaware. Now it’s only bigger than…

The Next Frontier

Jan 20, 2013 By S. C. Gwynne

How has the state’s most storied ranch managed to survive and thrive in the twenty-first century? By operating in a way that its founder, Captain Richard King, would scarcely recognize.

Git Along, Lonesome Ranchers

Oct 31, 2012 By S. C. Gwynne

Cattle ranching in Texas has been endangered almost since its inception. Has the harsh economic reality finally caught up with our most iconic business?

How to Cut for Sign

Feb 1, 2012 By Andrea Valdez

After a harrowing skirmish with the Comanche in 1860, Charles Goodnight cut for sign to track down warriors who had escaped. That practice, in which a person searches for people or animals by “cutting,” or studying a section of land for clues, may seem like a lost art of the…

How to Hitch a Livestock Trailer

Aug 31, 2011 By Andrea Valdez

Hauling Herefords isn’t like towing a sailboat. A loaded stock trailer can weigh up to 30,000 pounds, and if you hook something that heavy to a bumper, you’ll drive away 
without your back end. “Gooseneck hitches are common in livestock operations,” says Joe Lewis, who has worked at Rosenberg-based Discount…

Cowgirl Up

Jul 31, 2011 By Barney Nelson

The word probably makes you think of rhinestone-studded jeans, floppy-brimmed hats, and Nashville queens, but “cowgirl” ought to stand for the tough pioneer women who built ranches and went on cattle drives and the hardy rural women who are out there today doing their fair share of the work, usually invisibly, to maintain a majestic way of live.

How to Cut the Herd

Jun 30, 2011 By Andrea Valdez

When Sam Graves and his 22-year-old bay gelding, Old Hub, beat ten other cowboys to win $150 in the first 
advertised cutting competition, in Haskell in 1898, he could not have imagined how the sport would evolve. Today the National Cutting Horse Association, which hosts the World Championship Futurity, in…

Randy Goode, Artificial Inseminator

Oct 31, 2009 By Texas Monthly

Goode grew up on a ranch in Damon, where he now runs an artificial insemination business. He travels the country collecting DNA for a U.S. Department of Agriculture research project on mad cow disease. Back in the seventies, my dad learned to artificially inseminate cows by reading a book and…

How to Build a Barbed-Wire Fence

Sep 30, 2009 By Andrea Valdez

The HISTORY In 1876 salesman John W. Gates brought barbed wire to Texas when he wagered $1 million that he could build a fence that would capably contain cattle. Some incredulous gambler took the bet. Gates erected a fence in San Antonio’s Military Plaza and shocked a gathered crowd as…

How to Rope a Calf

Jan 1, 2009 By Andrea Valdez

The Rationale Ask a ranch hand how to tell if someone’s a good cowboy and he’ll say the proof is in his lassoing. The rope has always been “the long arm of the cowboy,” writes Midland native John R. Erickson in Catch Rope. Though roping began on the ranch as…

Fred Garza, Tick Rider

Jan 1, 2008 By Texas Monthly

Garza was born and raised in Webb County. For the past fifteen years, he has been an inspector with the Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program, a mounted patrol started by the USDA in 1906. A tick rider patrols the border, the Rio Grande River, on horseback every day. Our job…

How to Brand the Herd

Jul 31, 2007 By Andrea Valdez

The Rationale Why make a lasting impression on your cattle? To fend off cattle rustlers, whose pilfering of literal cash cows is hardly a defunct business (ranchers in the Southwest lost $6.2 million in livestock in 2005). “Think of branding as a license plate on your car, a means of…

The Man In the White Hat

Feb 1, 2006 By John Spong

To hear John Poindexter tell it, he’s one of the good guys—a faithful steward of his West Texas land and therefore a worthy bidder for 46,000 acres of Big Bend Ranch State Park. But sometimes having your heart in the right place simply isn’t enough.