The West Texas ranching landscape has been home to now seven generations of a family named Welch. Those generations of Welches have endured many hardships and heartaches and as well have enjoyed many triumphs and achievements.
Ken Welch was born the child of Virginia and Buster Welch in Midland, TX in 1949. He spent most of his early life on the 18 Ranch in Nolan and Fisher Counties. After graduating from Roscoe, Texas high school, Ken enrolled in Texas Tech. In 1970 Ken was name the Rookie of the Year for Saddle Bronc in the PRCA. In 1971, after he and his new bride Dixie Sharon Abell hit the rodeo circuit, he missed the NFR Finals by $125. He did make the NFR in 1972. In 1973, he was sitting fifth when he entered Cheyenne where he was thrown and broke his neck. After recovery, he determined his best future was back at the ranch in Texas.
So, he went back to Texas and enrolled at Tarleton in Stephenville. In 1974, Buster Welch got the call to move to King Ranch and Ken went to Merkel to run the Welch Mulberry Canyon Ranch. In 1977, he and Dixie leased a ranch at Bluffdale, south of Fort Worth.
When his young twin daughters needed to go to a school for the deaf, he and Dixie moved to Colorado Springs where Ken went to work as a cattle commodities trader until 1981 when Helen Kleberg Groves convinced him to move to her horse farm in Virginia. Ken said, “we did not need to buy Alaska when we already owned the Shenandoah Valley. It was the coldest place I ever tried to work.”
When Mrs. Groves decided to move her cutting operations back to Texas, they chose a ranch in Callahan County near Baird, Texas, so in 1990, back they came. The Ken Welch family has been at Baird for 24 years now where the family now ranches together.