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Welcome to Ranch & Rural Living


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Photo by Jacob Abels of Spicewood, Texas.

The Photo Contest Online Entry Feature has been fixed and updated!

Some folks were having trouble entering their photos online.  We have implemented a new online ordering system that should make those troubles disappear.  Thank you for taking the time to enter our photo contest.  Your photos and input make this magazine work.   

To enter one or more photos click here.

To read the contest rules click here.

To download and print an entry blank to mail in with your photo print click here.

This cute puppy photo was an entry in our 2012 contest. The photo was taken by Jacob Abels of Spicewood, Texas, and was an entry in our Youth category.  Any youth who has not yet reached the age of 18 at the time of the contest, may enter this category.  Both youths and adults may enter any other category.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 July 2017 14:36

Texas Playground

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Ox Ranch owns several breeding giraffes. Giraffes are not hunted. Photos by Gary Cutrer.

Visitors Can Drive a Tank, Hunt Exotic Game or Just
Enjoy the Outdoors at Ox Ranch in Southwest Texas

By Gary Cutrer
July 2016

Ox Ranch near Uvalde in southwest Texas is a playground, a place where both the staff and owner enjoy exotic animals, nature, history, hunting and water sports recreation, and they are enthusiastic about sharing their playground with visitors. Rock and roll star, hunter and gun rights spokesman Ted Nugent enjoys hunting there and celebrates his birthday on the ranch each year with a big party.

Hunters from all over the country and from Europe as well have made the trek to Ox Ranch to hunt exotic game and enjoy the comfortable accommodations, which include fully furnished luxury antique log cabins as well as an impressive hunting lodge.

Easy 8 Sherman Tank from World War II. Firepower Tours

The newest addition at Ox Ranch is a rather “explosive” one. A couple of years ago ranch owner Brent Oxley purchased with his stepfather, Todd DeGidio, a working World War II tank. DeGidio has a military background and was a Green Beret during the Reagan administration, thus his keen interest in all things military. One tank led to another and soon the ranch became known as the place to go to experience driving a tank.

With the construction of a “command center,” a tank barn to house the tanks, guns and other equipment they’ve acquired, DeGidio, Oxley and ranch manager/CEO Tony Harden have decided to offer the tank driving and firing experience to anyone willing to pay for it. A new website with details about the tank and weapon adventures offered by the ranch went live in late May. It is DriveTanks.com.

Last Updated on Monday, 11 July 2016 13:59

2015 Photo Contest Winners

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Animals & Nature

Published September & October 2015

Thank you to all who participated in this year’s Photo Contest. Look for winning photos from the Animals and Nature and Youth categories in the October 2015 magazine. Also, we will be using winning photos and non-winning photos alike throughout the coming year in the magazine and in our second publication, Meat Goat Monthly News. 

Many of the photos were excellent in both subject matter and composition and could have placed. It’s just that there were a limited number of winning slots.

Entries were judged on a weighted point system with points awarded by each of our judges independently. Points were tallied and winning entries were ranked by total points awarded.  Photos this year were judged by professional photographer Jim Bean of Jim Bean Professional Photography in San Angelo, and by four members of the magazine staff. Once again this year we included the opinion of Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association Executive Secretary Sandy Whittley. 

The photo used on the cover of the September 2015 Ranch & Rural Living magazine was First Place winner in the Rural Life and Landscape category. Congratulations to the winners and all participants in the annual Ranch & Rural Living Photo Contest. Presented here are the winning entries in the annual contest for 2015.


The Changing West Texas Culture

Herds of cattle ran free without fences in early West Texas days.  Care of livestock is different now, but it remains a part of our Texas Heritage.  Courtesy of West Texas Collection, Angelo State University.  Ragsdale was the photographer.

By Barbara Barton

Published February 2015

What is our West Texas culture, and is it changing?  According to Mirriam-Webster, “Culture includes the beliefs, social forms, and customs of a particular society, group or place.”  It can also be the characteristic features of everyday existence shared by a people.  I would like to discuss the traits we West Texans share.

In the 1800s when our area of the state began to be populated with ranchers, the men on horseback chasing the bawling cows only saw their neighbors at branding time.  Cattle drifted southwest during the wintertime, and cattle wearing every brand imaginable would show up along the Devil’s River or other common barriers.

The coffee pot and camp fire are a part of cattle round-ups even in present days. Location of this round-up was 50 miles north of Van Horn on the Six Bar Ranch.  Photo courtesy of Bob Hedrick, the man on the right. The need to help each other recover the lost cows and sort the livestock according to brand brought people together.  These ancestors of ours loved their chosen profession and cared about the people who shared their same occupation.  John Chisum who ranched in Brown and Coleman counties along with Jim Coffey and Richard Tankersley, met at the branding sites and discussed their families.   Chisum made many cattle drives toward Kansas to the railheads to sell his steers.  If ranch houses were close to the round-up, families met over meals and maybe some dancing took place to the sound of fiddle music.  John Chisum didn’t chat about a family much because he wasn’t married, but he let his fiddle do the talking.


The 'Wild' Life TV Program Features Bow Hunting Adventures

Mike and Heather Ray take viewers on bow hunting outings on various ranches in the Southwest.  Their TV show, “The ‘Wild’ Life” allows viewers to experience the new, the different, and the attainable for the average outdoors person. By Shelby DeLuna
Published January 2015

Hunting and fishing became a way of life for Mike Ray growing up. So, it is no surprise that the east Texas native would start a TV show that educates people on how to bow hunt and fish. The show is called “The ‘Wild’ Life” and is co-hosted by Mike’s wife, Heather.

Mike is a former camera man for long-time friend Ted Nugent’s hunting show called “Spirit of the Wild.” That’s how he learned what goes into producing a hunting show and decided to start his own.

“We are on our third year filming the show,” Mike said. “It is a 95-percent bow hunting show where we travel all over the country hunting whitetail, bears, and hogs. You name it and we hunt it.”

Heather grew up with hunters in the family but unlike her husband, had never hunted until she met Mike. “I think before I met Mike, I physically sat in a deer blind once and was bored out of my mind,” Heather said. After she met Mike, she quickly fell in love with the challenge of bow hunting. “With bow hunting you have to be so much closer to that animal that it intrigues me. That is what keeps me coming back for the challenge.”

The show features two kills on each episode which consists of Heather taking an animal and Mike killing one. They show proper techniques on how to hunt and feature different ranches that often invite them to hunt on their property.

If you are not used to bow hunting there is more to it than you may think. For starters, the Rays recommend that you get fitted for your bow before trying to go out and shoot one. They do not want one bad mishap to ruin the experience for you.

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July 2017

Ranch & Rural Living July 2017

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Finewool and Clippings

Sign in a Norwegian cocktail lounge: “Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.”