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 Ranch 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.