Since its founding, The OW Ranch has achieved a level of significance that not only ensured its name among history but has influenced and inspired generations. Such is the power when land meets vision and vision becomes reality.
John Kendrick, manager of the Converse Cattle Company arrived in town on Sunday. He left the next day… to look over the Grinnell range on Hanging Woman Creek with a view of purchasing same and moving the Converse herd thereto… This is one of the best ranges in the whole country and we hope satisfactory arrangements will be made whereby the Converse Company will secure it. — Sheridan Enterprise, March 16, 1889
The story of The OW is over two centuries old, but a story that still ripples through Wyoming’s current, inspiring those to look to the richness of the earth and create something grand from her splendor.
Leadbetter Webster Land Company Inc. and Powers Land Brokerage, LLC have been selected as the brokerage team to co-list the OW Ranch. Their decades of experience with diverse Western properties, consistent sales success, and notable integrity to their clients have led the two firms to represent a new sale of The OW Ranch. We had the opportunity to interview Charlie Powers, Owner/Broker of Powers Land Brokerage and a member of the American Farm + Ranch network of Brokers/Agents.
So, what is so special about The OW Ranch? It has a respected reputation and an illustrious history, yet for those who call Sheridan, Wyoming, home, the ranch is more than just a high-profile neighbor.
As Powers describes, John Kendrick was a maverick entrepreneur. As an orphan in Texas, he did not come from much, so as a young man in 1879 he signed on with a cattle drive headed north, survived its dangers, and learned along the way. He naturally took to the cattle industry and as John made his way toward where the rivers ran north in south-central Montana, he found the land where livestock could thrive, and large cattle ranch could be built.
“While only graduating fifth grade, it’s told that John read a lot and did well at saving money. By 1889 he had became Superintendent of Converse Cattle Company and established the current location of the OW as its headquarters.” said Powers. “John Kendrick went on to assemble hundreds of thousands of acres of some of the most productive grass land in the area and eventually represented the people of Wyoming as their governor and three-time senator. Wyoming had given him a great life, so he returned the favor.”
In addition to his other talents, John Kendrick was a business builder and philanthropist. He constructed many buildings that still stand as part of the Sheridan skyline (marked at the top with a “K”) and donated land to create public parks, the notable Trails End Museum, and other community areas.
In the late 1980s the family eventually broke up the Kendrick Ranch and sold its grazing units to neighbors such as the Padlock; loyal ranch employees; and newcomers such as Pritchard Gordon. The Kendrick Family headquarters and 5,000 acres were acquired by Jim Guercio, a talented music producer and owner of the Caribou Ranch in Colorado. Over the last thirty years, Jim has worked passionately to restore the original OW buildings and re-assemble the massive ranch. Today, the OW holds 50,000± contiguous acres, but has lost none of the charm, romance or influence. How does one come to represent such an iconic property?
“It’s my experience,” remarked Powers. “Any Broker would be extremely pleased to represent such a well-known ranch and, in many ways, the city of Sheridan. I’ve had several buyers who are so inspired by the OW story, they’ve also expressed interest in picking up where Jim is leaving off and assembling an even larger ranch, and that opportunity is here. For example, we have a neighbor’s 17,500 acres also listed for sale that would bolt on nicely. You always hope to get a ranch like the OW, but now that it’s real for me, it’s such an honor. Jim Guercio has been a true steward of the land and it is rare to find a ranch in such good condition that has had smart investments made in improvements that benefit cattle.”
“At its core, the OW is a masterpiece of natural design. Timber, some merchantable, line the rimrock and rolling valleys adding to the abundant cover for livestock and wildlife. After being one of the top producers at the recent fall Superior calf sale, the OW is going into the 2018 winter with 1,250 head of bred cows plus replacement heifers and bulls. Several resident elk herds call the OW home. And these elk—we’re talking 400-inch record-sized bulls. When you add to that 200-inch class mule deer, black bear and antelope, this is also a hunter’s dream estate.”
And what puts such great gains on livestock and yields wildlife of such quality? Some of the best grass country in the West. The OW Ranch boasts quality soils, good precipitation and a variety of native warm- and cool-season grasses. This ensures abundant, high-protein forage year-round for wildlife and livestock alike.
“This is just a really cool place for a cow guy,” Charlie lets out a short laugh. “When you think of all the history, the romance and all the ways nature and man work in tandem here, it’s a really solid low overhead working ranch.”
Charlie goes on to explain how owner Jim Guercio invests annually in upgrades to water, fencing, and working improvements. In addition to miles of new fence and stock water pipeline extensions, windmills have been converted into solar wells. This kind of work takes both finances and fortitude, as well as an attitude that wants to see the ranch grow capacity. Supplementing numerous springs and seasonal streams, there are over 69 stock tank locations (19 solar wells and 10 electric wells) that provide water to approximately 40 cross fenced pastures. The grass has been well managed, and a cattle operator will appreciate the potential for increased stocking rates with continued water development.
But notwithstanding all its drawbacks, the cattle business is the most deeply satisfying in which men engage. No other business so fully occupies a strong man’s full powers of body and mind. Cattle ranching still possesses great allurements and some of its traditional romance. . . . Those who have grown up with the business can never escape the call of the range. — John B. Kendrick, 1924
The OW benefits from three separate and fully functional headquarters on the far west, middle and far east side of the ranch. In this way, the OW can house at least three families and spread the staff presence equally across the wide expanse of the ranch which is nearly 16 miles long and 12 miles tall. Well-connected county and ranch roads provide excellent access to all parts of the ranch. With 5 living quarters as well as shipping corrals, several barns, and two large equipment shops the OW Ranch is equipped to launch the new ownership forward.
At 3,600 to 4,300 feet in elevation, the vast foothills create broad grass-filled valleys and parklike meadows in the Juniper and Ponderosa ridges. Nestled in the incredible setting today, many of Kendrick’s original OW buildings are listed on the National Historic Registry thanks to Jim Guercio’s restoration of John Kendrick’s legacy buildings under the supervision of famed architect Johnathan Foote.
So, to whom does The OW Ranch call? A historian or a cattleman? Someone who desires seclusion or the spotlight? A ranch collector or one looking for “the one”? It sounds like a complicated question, but to Charlie, the answer comes easy.
Ideally, the new owner would have a passion for land, livestock and legacy. The OW is secluded on 50,000± acres less than an hour northeast of Sheridan in Big Horn County, Montana. It shares fence line with the Diamond Cross Ranch which has a history of ownership by one of the wealthiest families in the world. One could lie low and continue to develop this incredible grass and timber ranch in peace or step into the cultural fabric of the Sheridan community. Both Kendrick and Guercio believed in this area and it is now poised as an up-and-coming beacon of the West. A place where light manufacturing and business development, railroad and interstate highway, and abundant natural resources fuel the human spirit of pursuing the land’s bounty.
Come to Sheridan. Fall in love. And become part of the fabric at The OW Ranch.
The OW Ranch | Sheridan, Wyoming | $25,000,000 | 49,500± Total Acres
The OW Ranch is the original headquarters of the Kendrick Cattle Company and operates on nearly 50,000± contiguous acres, of which 32,428± is well blocked, deeded land. The owner has devoted 30 years re-assembling this premier property in southeast Montana and has invested significantly in cross fencing, stock water, working improvements and grass management. The OW is going into the 2018 winter season with 1,250 bred cows plus replacement heifers, bulls and horses. Carrying capacity has room to grow. Grazing units are comprised of foothills range with scattered timber complemented by protected meadows. World-class wildlife resources include deer, antelope, black bear, upland birds and elk in the 400-inch class. Three sets of headquarters buildings and well-connected roads provide sound presence throughout. Senator Kendrick’s buildings from the late 1800’s have been renovated to National Historic Registry standards. The OW is invaluable to the fabric of Sheridan, Wyoming, and represents an opportunity to own one of the West’s most famous and productive cattle ranches.
- Currently running 1,250 cow/calf pair plus replacement heifers with room to grow
- Extensive stock water, cross fencing and working improvements
- Resident mule deer, black bear, antelope and Montana’s largest bull elk
- Balanced grass ranch with protected hay meadows and timbered ridges
To discover more about the OW Ranch and to schedule your private tour, contact Charlie Powers at Powers Land Brokerage at 307.217.2777 or email@example.com. See more photos and details at PowersLandBrokerage.com.