History and Legacy of the Iconic McCoy Cattle Ranch in West Texas

History and Legacy of the Iconic McCoy Cattle Ranch in West Texas
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The History of the McCoy Ranch in Texas

The McCoy Ranch has a long and storied history in the state of Texas. Located near the small town of Robert Lee, the ranch was originally founded in the late 1800s by James McCoy, a cattle rancher who had moved to West Texas from Kansas. Under McCoy's leadership, the ranch grew to over 100,000 acres and became one of the largest cattle operations in the region.

The Early Days of the McCoy Ranch

James McCoy arrived in Texas in the 1870s, bringing with him a small herd of cattle he had purchased in Kansas. McCoy was drawn to West Texas by the vast expanses of open range that were ideal for grazing cattle. He started modestly, leasing grazing land around Robert Lee and building up his herd.

By the mid 1880s, McCoy had acquired enough capital to begin purchasing land in earnest. He bought acreage from other ranchers and also acquired railroad land grants. Within a decade, the McCoy Ranch encompassed thousands of acres. McCoy ran mostly Hereford and Angus cattle breeds on the ranch in those early years.

A Growing Operation

James McCoy passed away in the early 1900s, leaving the ranch to his sons, Ed and Charles. The McCoy brothers continued expanding the ranch, acquiring smaller neighboring spreads. They also began improving the ranch infrastructure, digging wells and windmills to provide more reliable water sources.

The discovery of oil on McCoy Ranch land in the 1920s proved to be a boon for the operation. Royalty payments from oil companies allowed the McCoys to modernize and update much of the ranch. They invested in new fences, barns, and equipment to make the cattle operation more efficient.

Under the supervision of Ed and Charles McCoy, the ranch continued thriving through the middle part of the 20th century. It survived periods of drought and uncertainty thanks to the shrewd management of the McCoy brothers.

The McCoy Ranch Today

The McCoy Ranch remains family-owned and operated today. It occupies over 100,000 acres spread across Crockett, Pecos, Terrell, and Upton counties. The landscape is rugged, comprised of rocky hills, mesas, and wide open grasslands.

Modern Cattle Operations

The McCoy Ranch raises registered Texas Longhorns and Red Angus cattle today. The cattle graze freely over the expansive ranch lands, rotating between different pastures. Ranch staff utilize strategic fencing to control grazing and allow pastures to rest and regrow.

Watering troughs fed by windmills and solar pumps provide a reliable water source for the cattle herds out on the range. Additional feeding and handling facilities allow the ranch to manage cattle with lower stress.

The McCoy Ranch has a long tradition of breeding quality registered cattle. They sell breeding stock to other ranches and also market calves each fall. The cattle are rested and finished on the ranch's grasses before sale.

Diversified Land Use

While cattle ranching remains the primary activity, the McCoy Ranch has diversified its operations. Hunting leases provide an additional revenue stream each year. The ranch contains excellent habitat for quail, dove, deer, and javelina.

A large solar energy facility also occupies McCoy Ranch lands. Built in the early 2010s, the solar farm generates power that feeds into the Texas electric grid. Royalties from oil and gas companies continue to provide income as well.

The McCoys work hard to balance these different land uses with their cattle operation. Thoughtful stewardship of the landscape enables them to preserve the ranch's prosperity.

The McCoy Ranch Legacy

The McCoy Ranch represents a remarkable family legacy spanning over 140 years and four generations. The roots planted by James McCoy in the late 1800s have grown into a thriving cattle ranch thanks to the hard work and dedication of the McCoys.

Through periods of hardship and change, the McCoy Ranch has persevered. It exemplifies the rugged independence and tireless work ethic of early Texas ranchers. This historic ranch continues making its mark on the West Texas landscape today.

The McCoy name is synonymous with quality cattle and responsible land stewardship. Ranchers across Texas look to the McCoy Ranch as an example of building a lasting legacy. Its rich history is woven into the fabric of Texas ranching heritage.

FAQs

When was the McCoy Ranch established?

The McCoy Ranch was founded in the late 1800s by cattle rancher James McCoy, who moved to West Texas from Kansas.

How large is the McCoy Ranch today?

Today the McCoy Ranch occupies over 100,000 acres spread across several counties in West Texas.

What cattle breeds does the ranch raise?

The McCoy Ranch specializes in raising registered Texas Longhorns and Red Angus cattle.

Does the ranch have other operations besides cattle?

Yes, the McCoy Ranch also leases land for hunting and has a large solar energy facility on its property.

Is the McCoy Ranch still family owned?

Yes, the McCoy Ranch remains family-owned and operated after over 140 years and four generations.

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