By Judy Wade
Hundreds of years ago, ranchers foresaw the need to identify their livestock, particularly the cattle, to distinguish them from other owners and deter rustlers. Thus the practice of branding was born.
When the 10 ranches participating in the Texas Ranch Roundup ride into Wichita Falls August 17-18, they will proudly display their distinctive brands on their flags in the introduction, their chuckwagons and on some of their horses. Not only does each ranch have its unique brand, each has its unique history.
Bonds Ranch was founded in 1933 when P.R. (Bob) Bonds purchased 5,000 acres of the Charlie and Mary Hicks Ranch located just north of Fort Worth, Texas. As part of the purchase of the ranch, Bonds received all the Hereford cattle as well as the Turkey Track brand. Bob hired Owen Burnett (or Big Pete as he was known) as ranch foreman in 1944. Big Pete mentored Bob’s youngest son, Pete Bonds, after Bob died in 1954.
Pete took over the management of the ranch in 1970 when he was 18 years old, and after finishing his degree in Business and Certificate in Ranch Management from Texas Christian University, Pete grew and diversified Bonds Ranch’s operations. Today, Bonds Ranch is a commercial cow/calf, stocker, and fed beef cattle operation located in 26 Texas counties and eight states.
Being a family operation, Pete relies on his wife of 41 years, Jo, and their three daughters, Missy, Bonnie and April. Missy and April work alongside Pete at the ranch headquarters in Saginaw, and Bonnie and her husband, Clint Anderson, live and ranch in Colorado with their four children, Kaycee, Larkin, Ace and Owen.
R.A. BROWN RANCH
The R.A. Brown Ranch developed through merging Brown, Thomas and Donnell family ranch lands, some of which dated back as early as 1876. It has been a family business since 1895 and continues to be recognized as a leader in raising top quality cattle and Quarter Horses.
The ranch covers 33,000 acres in Texas and Colorado and is best known for its powerful breeding bulls and the four breeds that make up the cow herd: Angus, Red Angus, SimAngus and Hotlander, a breed developed on the ranch.
After the retirement of Rob Brown and wife Peggy in 2013, the ranch underwent a generational transfer and is now operated by their children, the fifth generation: Rob A. and wife Talley, Betsy Bellah and husband Jody, Marianne McCartney and husband Todd and Donnell Brown and wife Kelli. The stylized RAB connected brand has only been in use since about 1980.
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