by James Moore
There are many private landowners in America consisting of moguls and mavens, technology gurus, and some with ‘oddities’ that not many can understand – yet they get the job done and protect their land.
When it comes to one family, however, it is the ranch itself – the brand – that has made them one of the most successful landowners in the country. The o6 Ranch is known by one and all, which is no surprise seeing as that it’s been in operation for more than a century.
For a little background, The o6 brand was actually acquired around 1837 by a landowner and scout for Sam Houston, while the battle of San Jacinto raged. The man’s name was David L. Kokernot. His name may sound familiar to the Lone Star State because he was pivotal in bringing the first Texas Navy into being.
Not only did he serve his country, but he also worked hard building a mercantile business and a vast ranch at the same time. It was his boys, Lee and John, who followed in Dad’s footsteps and began purchasing land as far back as 1883.
The names of the Kokernot clan continue throughout history, with some very well- and often-told stories regarding the determined landowners. It was Herbert Lee Kokernot who led a herd of cattle, horses and cowboys off the train at Murphyville long ago. Here, the cattle would graze in the large Alpine Valley. Moving to Lubbock before selling his holdings and returning home to the Davis Mountains, Herbert once again purchased land that would truly become famous.
This was when the Kokernot o6 Ranch came into being in 1912. This particular locale has grown over the years, spreading out across counties including, Brewster and Pecos. Their Hereford cattle was always top-notch, and made Herbert one of the most successful ranchers around.
His resume, so to speak, is long and varied – with each and every item in his lifetime based on his love of ranching. Herbert Sr. can claim many things, including the presidency of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association; the Texas Livestock Marketing Association – and even has a slew of financial successes when it comes to being the Founder of the First National Bank of Alpine.
Like father like son… Herbert Jr. had two passions – ranching and baseball. He loved baseball so much that he actually started a team in 1946 (Alpine Cowboys), which was a semi-pro team that earned their way to the national finals nine times. It’s no surprise that both father and son were inducted into the Texas Heritage Hall of Honor in 1996, for their contributions to the ranching heritage of Texas.
Chris Lacy, Herbert Kokernot, Jr.’s grandson, has assumed the mantle of running the o6 Ranch, and yet again, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Being on almost every livestock board you can imagine, it is Lacy who continues to work diligently to constantly improve the o6 Ranch and quality of beef that the brand produces.
Although modern technology does come into play, the o6 also maintains ‘old school’ ways when running and operating their ranch. Cowboys and a remuda of 100+ horses used for roundups twice a year head into the mountainous terrain and do not reappear for 3-4 weeks until the work is complete. This harkens back to a time when ranching was the toughest job in the world; but a job that people loved to do.
This is the seventh generation making sure that the o6 brand stays alive, well and successful. And when names are bandied about as being the ‘best of the best’ when it comes to cow-calf operations – the o6 Ranch and their amazing DNA line have built one heck of an outstanding reputation.
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