Annual Fall Gathering
Fall Gathering and Foy Proctor Cowman’s Award of Honor Event
The Fall Gathering Ranch Storytelling and Foy Proctor Cowman’s Award of Honor is the Library’s “reunion of hats” that brings people that J. Frank Dobie wrote about in his “Cow People” to the Library each October from all directions to a day-long event that recognizes the lives of people that have exhibited remarkable ability and accomplishment at their lifetimes battling the forces of nature and man to support their families and their country’s need for protein. You will hear stories like no others in during the afternoon event that is held before the Proctor awards ceremony. Make your reservation NOW!
2015 Foy Proctor Memorial Cowman’s Award of Honor Recipients
Bob Kelton was born in 1948 to a fourth generation West Texan father Jim Tom Kelton and mother Doris Calley Kelton. Bob’s grandfather, Frank Kelton came to West Texas with his legendary Kelton brother cowman Buck, who managed the 5 Wells ranch in Andrews County for the Scharbauer Cattle Company before taking the reins of the McElroy Rancy in Crane County.
Frank raised his son Jim Tom who raised his son Bob on the 350 section L.W. Anderson Ranch in Loving, Winkler, and Ward and Reeves counties of West Texas. The noted “Mr. Frank” had worked on the old 1300 section pioneer “W” ranch. Bob never had a chance not to be a “cowman”. His mother Doris was raised on the Howard Collier Ranch south of Pecos where her father was the manager. Bob has lived on Anderson ranches all his life. The Anderson Ranch brands “E Down” and the Dixieland Ranch in Reeves County brands the “backward E”.
Bob went to school in and remained on the ranch he was raised on. He met Kathy and married her in 1975. They have two children, son Frank married to Amanda lives on the Anderson Ranch and daughter Suzanne Kelton of Weatherford. Frank manages the Anderson Ranch and Suzanne has an equine care business centered around the cutting horse business. Frank worked for the WT Waggoner Ranch for 2 years before training cutting horses for five years before returning to the Anderson Ranch as the fourth generation Kelton to live on and manage the Anderson Ranch.
Bob and Kathy are hopeful of grandchildren to come. When asked if his worst fear was drought, he said, “I have lived and ranched in drought the majority of my life. So I would say that drought is more a way-of-life, regrettably. A worst fear…well, that I have handed that over to the Lord, so it is no longer mine to consider.” He goes on to say, “Oilfield encroachment is a great concern. They say that drilling will continue in Reeves County until the water is gone. We all know that water is imperative to raising livestock.”
Bob Kelton says his greatest pleasure through all his years on the ranches is working cattle on horseback. They have always raised some of their own horses but have cut back the last few years. They used sons of Cutter Bill, Doc’s Lynx, Peppy San, and Doc O’Lena. Horses are a necessity on their operation as they continue the old ways, Bob says “we rope and drag the calves at branding, that’s what keeps the works fun.” His favorite horses have been Tuffy and Paint, both could do anything asked of them. Mike Harrison said that he thought they could even read the different brands.
Royce Fort is the son of the previously honored Foy Proctor Cowman Award of Honor recipient – Byron Fort, now deceased– who received the award in 2008. Royce is the fourth generation of his family to ranch in Lea County, New Mexico just a few miles inside the state line. Both sets of his grandparents homesteaded there in the 1880’s, with both his father and mother being born on those homesteads.
His mother and father met at Prairieview School, a country school northeast of Lovington. Royce was born in August of 1941. He grew up on the Dickinson Cattle Co. Ranch near Tatum, NM where his father was the foreman. His early school years were completed in Tatum, after graduation, he went off to college. Royce said that his fondest memories come from growing up around the Old Timers of the New Mexico ranges.
The rural settings of a small town school, and the family values that his two brothers, Curtis and Jerry and his sister Laquita were raised with have provided him with a foundation to raise his own family in the “right” way. He said “we were taught to work, take responsibility for our actions, and to entertain ourselves. We developed great imaginations, visited neighbors in a setting where people took care of each other and did not live behind locked gates and doors. It was just a great time to grow up in.” “I really have no bad memories of growing up. I had such a great childhood that I wasn’t prepared for the real world.
In 1960 he met Sally Jean Baxter in the summer whom he married in Tatum, New Mexico in the summer of 1961. They celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary this past August. They have three children. Mark and wife Tammy live in San Antonio. Leslie and husband Monte live in Lubbock. Jeannie and husband Jimmy are in the field as missionaries with Young Life in Costa Rica. Royce and Sally have 7 grandchildren ages 9-17.
In 1968 Royce was tagged by Midland oilman and rancher L.R. “Bobby” French as his “wagon boss”, office manager, ranch manager, and oil and gas accountant. While working for Mr. French, Royce was in charge of day to day operations of the numerous ranches under the French family brands. They are cow/calf operations with summer grazing of yearlings, wheat pasture cattle and fed cattle in commercial feedlots. Royce says that those operations afforded him many great experiences. He worked for Mr. French until his death in 2013 and continues to work for the family today and is planning on his retirement to his own ranch this year.
In the 1980’s Royce was able to personally acquire some lands that were his great grandfather’s homestead that was sold in the 1920’s. Royce has also been able over the years to acquire additional ranch lands in Lea County, NM that he operates as a cow/calf outfit. He brands a 4_T. Son Mark partners with Royce on some cattle. Royce and Sally have a home in Midland and in Lovington, where they spend as much time as they can. Royce and Sally, both dedicated Christians, have been tireless workers through the years in their Midland church, Bellview Baptist Church.
In reflecting on his ranch work, he remembers his favorite horse, Streak, and how when he got big enough to handle him that his dad would let him start riding him, he thought he had made the “big time”. Now days, especially when horseback by himself, he tends to choose his granddaughter’s horse. More bomb-proof. His greatest pleasures over the years have been watching his children grow up, memories of people he has been fortunate to associate with, and to see people who were willing to work hard, better themselves, and make a good life for their family. Looking back, Royce said “If you apply yourself, work hard, have patience, and maintain the Christian values we were taught, things will work out OK. Technology changes, right and wrong stays the same.” His hope for his grandchildren is that they can grow up, raise their families and pursue their dreams in a free country with the opportunities that he experienced.
S. A. Baxter is a sixth generation rancher born in 1931 on the family ranch in San Saba and Lampasas Counties, Texas. S. A. is the youngest of three children, his two sisters are deceased. His first cow trade was acquiring a milk pen heifer at the age of 4. Eighty years later his Baxter Ranch crew is still working cattle on horseback. Mr. Baxter attended John Tarleton Agricultural College in Stephenville, Texas and served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War from 1952 to 1954. Mr. Baxter married Kathy and together they have three sons, Randy and wife Donna, Stephen and wife Sally and Beau and wife Penny. All three sons have their own cattle and are working partners. Over the years he has expanded his ranching operations over several counties. The Baxter’s have six grandchildren.
Mr. Baxter started his quarter horse operation in 1958 with his first Quarter Horse purchase from a Pinehurst Stables sale. That animal, Paul Bee, began the Baxter line of Quarter Horses that would include in 1978 Tiempo Scooter, and later a King P-234 mare from the Hankins Bros., and now a Gay Bar King- bred stallion he bought as a weanling and raised on the ranch. Baxter Ranch horses were registered with the AQHA every year between 1960 and 2010. In 1960 Baxter was one of the founding directors of the Central Texas Cutting Horse Association. He served as President of the organization from its creation through 1972. He also served as President of the Alamo Quarter Horse Breeders Association for five years. Mr. Baxter says, “I have always liked horses and cattle, and I have never had a real paying job. I worked on some of the other ranches growing up, and to raise and have a better ranch horse is all I wanted.” “Quarter Horses have always been good to me,” he said. “The best experience is seeing my family riding the horses raised and started on the ranch and working cattle here on the ranch. There is no better feeling than to ride a good, young horse that you raised and started, on a good spring day.” My wish for my grand-children is that they should have a trouble free life. My worst fear is drought, and not being able to carry on my life’s work and becoming immobile.
Foy Proctor Memorial Cowman's Award of Honor Recipients
Frank Cowden, Jr.* - Midland, TX
Bill Craft - Clarendon, TX
Ted Gray* - Alpine, TX
James Kenney* - Carlsbad, NM
Tom Linebery* - Kermit, TX
Alf Means* - Valentine, TX
John Pearson* - Eunice, NM
Buster Welch - Rotan, TX
Billy Cogdell* - Tulia, TX
J. J. Gibson* - Paducah, TX
Jiggs Mann* - Clarendon, TX
John R. Scott* - Miles, TX
Jim White* - Marfa, TX
Courtney Cowden* - Midland, TX
Linda Mitchell Davis - Cimarron, NM
Jim Tom Kelton* - Pecos, TX
Giles Lee - Lovington, NM
Tom Moorhouse - Benjamin, TX
John R. “Rich” Anderson - Gail, TX
James Dyer - Fort Davis, TX
Bob Eidson* - Lovington, NM
Helen Kleberg Groves - Baird, TX
Edward Vincent* - Lefors, TX
Sam Britt - Grenville, NM
John D. Holleyman* - Corona, NM
Ralph Miller - Fluvanna, TX
Clayton Williams, Jr. - Midland, TX
Johnnie Burson* - Silverton, TX
J.P. Miller, Jr.* - Coleman, TX
Dogie Jones - Watrous, NM
Elliott “Chope” Phillips* - Amarillo, TX
Arlan Youngblood* - Lamesa, TX
Hence Barrow* - Odessa, TX
Bob Green* - Albany, TX
Bob Jones* - Dell City, TX
Buddy Major* - Las Lunas, NM
Dick Snyder* - Clayton, NM
Frank Beaver* - Snyder, TX
Edward “Smokey” Nunn* - Deming, NM
Gretchen Sammis* - Cimarron, NM
Melvin Cotten* - Andrews, TX
Doug Fernandes - Pecos, TX
Larry Fernandes - Kermit, TX
Byron Fort* - Tatum, NM
Kenny Smith* - Hobbs, NM
Ray Snead* - Dalhart, TX
Don Hofman - Tucumcari, NM
Carl Lane Johnson - Tatum, NM
Myrle Kelton - May, TX
Tee Knox - Tarzan, TX
Vernon Miller* - Big Spring, TX
Bob Byrd - Jayton, TX
Sunny Edwards* - Big Spring, TX
Ted Harper* - Marfa, TX
Jack Kirkpatrick - Post, TX
Bluford Thornton - Pyote, TX
Arthur Wight - Goldsmith, TX
Cole Armstrong* - Pecos, TX
H. G. Bedford* - Midland, TX
John Dublin, Jr. - San Angelo, TX
Bill L. Lee - Buckeye, NM
Jon Means - Van Horn, TX
Chris Scharbauer - Amarillo, TX
John Welch - Wolfforth, TX
James Donnell - Fowlerton, TX
Billy Green - Albany, TX
Chris Lacy - Ft. Davis, TX
Joe Bill Nunn - Deming, NM
Ken Welch - Baird, TX
S. A. Baxter - Bend, TX
Royce Fort - Midland, TX
Bob Kelton - Pecos, TX