It is not a common thing on the ranches of the West for a city kid to become a bona-fide cowman, but when the gods, and the clouds, align great things can happen. Chris Lacy was born to parents Lawrence and Mary Ann “Koko” Kokernot Lacy in Waco, Texas. The most probable scenario for a high school football standout and TCU athletic scholarship recipient would be to get a business degree, find a wife, settle down into a suburban lifestyle and make his way.
Not so for Chris Lacy, the son of a daughter of a ranching icon and a successful Waco, Texas banker. An unlikely infection occurred in his life at an early age. He became infected with the awesome beauty and simplicity of life on the fabled 06 ranch in Brewster and Jeff Davis Counties in far West Texas. When ultimately faced with making a career path choice, he rightly chose the Texas Christian University Ranch Management Program under the incomparable leadership of John Merrill. After completing the program in 1973, Chris answered the call of the mountains on the 06. Facing a crew of seasoned cowboys, he paid his dues with early-on mistakes, but soon earned the respect and admiration of the ranch employees. By taking on the humblest of jobs and chores and not asking them to do anything he wouldn’t or had not done, they soon gave him the honor of their good natured ribbing. He also had the benefit of the knowledge of previous ranch managers Ted Gray and Joel Nelson to call on when needed.
Over the last 40 years, he has become a fully accredited cowman and horseman in the vein of his grandfather, H. L. “Mr. Herbert” Kokernot, Jr. During Mr. Herbert’s 65 year tenure on the 06, the ranch saw much improvement from the foundations of a cow herd begun by his father H. L. Sr. and uncle, J. M. Kokernot who began grazing cattle in the Big Bend country in 1883.
Chris set out on a path of improvement, not making changes just to be flexing the muscles of a new manager on the place but making changes that were for the right reasons. He began improving the bloodlines of the horse herd that was vital to the success of working cattle on the rough country of the 06. The 1976 purchase of the Flight Oil and Three Doc Bar mares produced a Remuda that is known today for their soundness, intelligence, willingness, and confirmation. He set out on a path of improved breaking and training these horses by bringing in Ray Hunt and his philosophies inspired by Tom Dorrance. These ranch sponsored clinics and training sessions cut the medical and hospital bills significantly. When the 06 adopted these methods other ranches across the west took notice and began to look at them in a new light.
Originally a pure Hereford operation, Chris saw the need to improve the bottom line and began a crossbred Hereford-Angus commercial herd. These changes demonstrated his ability to adapt to the changing economic environment of the day.
Not only has Chris taken care of his family interests and employees, he has seen the benefit of taking care of his community. He is currently President of the Big Bend Regional Hospital Board. His service to the Trans-Pecos Heritage Association, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Texas Livestock Marketing Association, Highland Hereford Association, the Paisano Baptist Encampment, Bloys Camp Meeting, and numerous other organizations has set and example for his children and grandchildren to follow in being a good friend and neighbor.
His leadership has proven capable in an environment of periods of drought, low cattle prices, high taxes and increasing operating costs. The 06 has not had the benefit of any mineral income to sustain operations in periods of low profits so proper management has proved critical to keeping one of the last great large ranches in Texas solvent. With his sisters and mother committed to keeping the ranch intact, the family has set an outstanding example of stewardship.
Chris and his wife Dawn attend Big Bend Cowboy Church in Alpine and enjoy training and showing cutting horses. The Lacy children, Kristen and Lance, were raised horseback alongside their dad and have tight bonds to the 06. Lance and wife Brandee live in Boerne, Kristen and husband Buddy Cavness operate businesses in Marathon and Alpine.