Back in 2014, the Waggoner Ranch was for sale for a small fee of $725,000,000. Spanning over 500,000 acres, or 800 square miles, the ranch is the largest single-fence ranch in the entire United States. Let us say that again, it’s 800 square miles. To put it into perspective, you could fit both New York City and Los Angeles inside the footprint of this cowboy kingdom.
Packed with 1,000 oil wells, 6,000 cattle, 500 horses, and a casual 30,000 acres of cropland, this mega ranch was the playground for cultural icons like Will Rogers and Teddy Roosevelt. The only thing missing from this ranch was a small nation, which some could argue it was one itself. Either way, in early 2016 the ranch was sold to Arsenal Football Club owner Steve Kroenke, for its named price and continues to operate as it has for over 100 years.
Tell me you wouldn’t want to hunt wild coyotes with Teddy Roosevelt? What about riding quarter horses with one of America’s first cowboy icons? Though we can’t bring the two of them back for your enjoyment, nor can we give you $726,000,000 to buy the place off Kroenke, we can tell you why moving to a ranch could actually change your life.
When you think ranch, your first reaction might be the decadent creamy sauce. But your second thought is probably that of rolling valleys running parallel to vast mountain ranges, with little to no sight of other human life. Though the initial thought of such expansive land might be intimidating or lackluster, it is the heart and soul of ranching itself.
For some, ranching is a way of life—whether they be generational or first-timers, they feel called to live on the ranch. For others, it is a vacation away from the craziness that many experience living in overcrowded cities that billow with air pollution and drown out the bright night sky.
As a team that is all about the ranch life, we appreciate the little things like clean air, open space, and a little bit of raw weather that conditions the skin. All of this comes from finding a ranch with a prime location for your type of lifestyle. Whether it be flatlands filled with cattle and crops or rugged terrain built for the outdoorsman, you’re bound to uncover the ranch meant for you if you search enough.
We could sit here and brag about Instagram-worthy landscapes, but there can be some locational drawbacks to living on a ranch. The most obvious is that chances are, you’re going to be in the middle of nowhere. Don’t act disappointed, you’re not moving to the Arctic Circle or the Sahara, although some seasons the weather might feel that way. Either way, you’re more than likely going to be outside walking distance from your local grocery and police station. If you’re used to popping over to your neighbors to borrow some laundry detergent or share a late-night glass of whiskey, adopting ranch life, in the beginning, might be tough. But that’s what ranches are for, growing, learning, and getting out of your comfort zone.
There’s plenty of reasons to move to a ranch, but one that tends to come up in conversation is the cost of living and investment potential. Out of the gate, ranch living can cost some money—as most properties tend to hold a relatively high value for the land alone. But you can’t look at a ranch as one singular transaction. It is a long-tailed investment that can prove itself to be not only cost-efficient but also potentially lucrative.
Think about this, if your ranch style is more grassland, where you graze cattle and maybe raise crops, you’re wielding a double-edged sword. On one side you’re creating a sustainable lifestyle for yourself and those who live on the ranch. On the other side, you’re establishing a business that can sustain itself year over year. If your style is more rugged terrain with wild animals and altering landscapes, you again have the opportunity to benefit from the land you call home. If Teddy Roosevelt wanted to hunt on the Waggoneer Ranch, imagine how much hunters and gun enthusiasts would pay to enjoy mornings observing game roam across your property. Keep in mind, all of these visitors need somewhere to stay—someone queue the Airbnb ad.
The relationship between living cost and investment potential is constantly in flux—the more you put in the more you get out. If you want to call this ranch home, keeping it simple with some cattle and a few rows of crops might just do the trick. Either way, you’re taking steps toward sustainability, which everyone can be a fan of. If this ranch is a seasonal destination, renting out to other want-to-be cowboys and cowgirls presents an opportunity for some serious loot—which again, doesn’t sound too bad.
Though there is plenty of financial gain that can come from moving onto a ranch, there are some cons that could present themselves. The first being that you cannot control the weather. Yes, it would be sweet to be able to predict it better than your local station, but that’s just not in the cards. Weather can make or break a ranch. If you’re looking to profit from your property in inclement weather, you mine as well be Shia Labeouf in Holes waiting on the rain.
Another potential obstacle is ranch experience. We all like to think we have a little cowboy in us, but some just don’t. The responsibility of a ranch is a significant undertaking and without experience, what was once an exciting adventure can quickly become arduous and drain the bank account. But, don’t worry, we have a network of agents ready to jump in and help you.
Before we dive into the positive impact ranch living can have, let us just clarify that quality of life is no doubt subjective. But, if you think that living on a ranch makes you feel like John Wayne, you’re not wrong. Anyway, we see ranch living as something that can change your life—see the title of this article. It is something we believe in and we’ve seen people fall in love with the eclectic amount of experiences that this lifestyle has to offer.
You want to hunt big game or flyfish? Grab your gear and get out there. Looking for miles of open pasture for horseback riding? It’s waiting for you. Maybe you want to tap into your inner Ernest Hemingway and embrace nature while pondering the meaning of life and writing prose. Go for it. The ranch life presents the opportunity to explore new adventures and embrace a style of living that’s rooted in tradition, and that is something we take pride in.
If you’re expecting us to present the cons around the quality of life when it comes to ranch living, you’re reading the wrong article. Ranch life is simply the best…there, we said it.
Yes, the ranch life isn’t for everyone. But, even for those who think that it’s not their cup of tea, do us this one solid: grab yourself a comfy rocking chair—you know the ones that you see in old westerns, where cowboys would sway back and forth as they lit up a smoke—and find yourself a westward view of the evening sky. Now sit back, and just watch the sun paint watercolors across the expansive blue canvas and tell us that you’re not impressed.
Though some might find living on a ranch outdated or simply unreasonable, we have one challenge for you, try it— we think you’d be surprised.