Waggoner Ranch: The End of An Era

Waggoner RanchThis is your lucky day, friends! I’ve got a business proposition for you! Waggoner Ranch, the famed eight hundred square mile piece of Texas history, is on the market for $725,000,000.00!  Now, I would just buy it myself, but I crunched some numbers and have decided to share the joy with a few thousand of my closest friends. I figure we could have a sort of timeshare! It will be great! But, I suppose you’ll want to know more about this fabulous investment opportunity, so allow me to get down to business.

Promised Land History

Dan WaggonerFor starters, you should know that you would be investing in a big ol’ hunk of Western history. Dan Waggoner established Waggoner Ranch in 1849. He started by buying land near the North Texas town of Decatur. He also bought six horses and 242 head of Longhorn cattle. Things went well for Dan and, as land was cleared for settlement around his parcel, he snatched it up, in his own form of “Westward Expansion.” In 1851, he purchased another 15,000 acres west of Decatur. He also continued growing his herds of cattle.

Waggoner RanchAfter Dan’s death in 1903, his son, W.T. continued expanding the ranch. W.T. said, “I want to run the most cattle, breed the best horses and work harder than anyone.” Under W.T.’s management, the ranch expanded to more than 500,000 acres! The serious rancher longed to find good fresh water for his cattle. But, drat it all! His attempts at drilling water wells revealed nothing but oil! W.T. made the best of it and leased around 250,000 acres to a little petroleum company named Texaco, in 1909. It’s like I always say: “When life hands you lemons, made lemonade. And, when life hands you oil wells, well, just kick back and count your money!” Okay, so I’ve never said that before now, but you would be surprised at how seldom this “problem” comes up in life!

W.T. had three children: Electra, E. Paul, and Guy. When Electra Waggoner married, W.T. decided it was best to keep the family as close together as possible, so to prevent her from moving away, he built her an 11,000 square foot home in Fort Worth, as a wedding present. Hmm . . . I guess that beats getting a toaster!

Quarter Horse Legacy

 Quarter Horse Poco BuenoWaggoner Ranch is also home to some of the greatest horse history in the world! E. Paul Waggoner purchased Quarter Horse Poco Bueno in 1945 for $5,700. When you consider that Poco Bueno is widely acknowledged to have been the most influential stallion in the history of the breed, $5,700 was a phenomenal bargain, even in 1945! He was named champion yearling stallion at the Texas Cowboy Reunion Quarter Horse Show. In the 40s, he was grand champion stallion at Denver’s National Western Stock Show, the State Fair of Texas, the Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show in Fort Worth, and the American Royal Livestock Show in Kansas City. It was 1948 when Poco Bueno began his performance career as a cutting horse. He gained swarms of fans and became the first Quarter Horse to be insured for $100,000.

 Quarter Horse Poco BuenoOf the 405 registered AQHA foals sired by Poco Bueno, 222 of them were top performers. Daughter Poco Lena is known as one of the greatest cutting horse of all time. E. Paul Waggoner’s death predated Poco Bueno’s by two years. In his will, Waggoner left instructions that Poco Bueno was to be buried in a standing position in a grave across from the ranch’s main entrance. And, so he was. A four-ton granite marker was engraved with his name, picture, and the words, “Champion and Sire of Champions.” In 1990, Poco Bueno was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame.

It is that bloodline that continues today in the famous Quarter Horses of Waggoner Ranch.

The Dallas Dynasty

When the offspring of W.T. Waggoner begat future generations, things really got lively! If the prime time soaps of the 70’s and 80’s taught us anything, it was that every respectable dynasty has a rip-roaring family feud. And the Waggoners would have made J.R. Ewing proud!

Electra Waggoner BiggsFor years there was a major dispute between Electra Waggoner Biggs (niece of the original Electra) and the other Waggoner heir, Electra’s cousin, Bucky Wharton (son of the original Electra). At that time, they each owned half of the land, oil and mineral rights, and they had a very famous difference of opinion as to what should be done with the property. From the early 90s, until her death in 2001, Electra objected to plans to divide or liquidate the property.

The dispute did not die with Electra. In 2003, a district judge ruled in favor of liquidating the ranch. Bucky Wharton appealed the judge’s decision. That brings us to today. The Waggoner family heirs finally agreed to list the property, and that’s where we come in, all y’all!

The Lay of the Land

Waggoner RanchAt a current size of approximately 510,000 acres, Waggoner Ranch is recognized as the largest ranch in Texas to be contained by one fence. In fact, the ranch is spread out over six different counties. So, it would be really great if a few of our investors knew a thing or two about fence mending! Let me know if that falls under your skill set and I’ll pencil you in for that job.Wag8a

Wag8bThe Fort Worth Star Telegram reports that there are “two main compounds, hundreds of homes, about 20 cowboy camps, hundreds of quarter horses, thousands of heads of cattle, 1,200 oil wells and 30,000 acres of cultivated land.” Stargazer Mercantile can provide decorative accent pieces for the houses. I feel it’s the least I can do! Plus, if no one objects, I would like to help play with the newborn foals. I’ll just pencil myself in for that job.

Oils Well that Ends Well

Our purchase will entitle us to 42% of the ranch’s mineral rights. Why doesn’t it entitle us to all of it? The Waggoner family heirs will retain the balance of the mineral rights. The 1,200 oil wells produce 675,000 barrels of oil annually. But we’ll want to have the reserves assessed. Who knows? We might strike a lot more “Texas tea.”

Land o’ Goshen!

Waggoner RanchThe real estate brokers who listed the property are expecting bidders to come from all over the world. While they are expecting to see wealthy U.S. oil barons and wealthy foreigners who dream of being a cowboy step up to the plate, they probably have no clue about a wild card like us . . . I think we could really blindside them by showing up with our rolls of coins!

Okay, okay. I realize this may not actually work out for us. But you have to admit; it’s fun to consider!  Here’s a great video that will give you a better idea of what the Waggoner Ranch is really like, so that you can dream on!

Happy Trails,
Anita Lequoia

4 Replies to “Waggoner Ranch: The End of An Era”

  1. Why not chip in together? I have more than a hundred gal pals that would love to offer their coins and so do others! Wouldn’t that be something! I say let’s do it! How about a dude ranch and/or bed and breakfast too!

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