You know what they say about Texas: They make really good queso. And Texas is also home to the biggest ranch in the US — over half a million acres. It's currently for sale, and for just $US725 million this Little Empire on the Prairie can be yours.
Bloomberg has the insane inside story of the Waggoner Ranch, the country's largest ranch by acreage that's contained by single fence, and the broker Bernard Uechtritz, who's trying to unload it:
Uechtritz (YOO-tridge) is one of two brokers entrusted with the singular task of selling the Waggoner ranch and everything attached to it, from the 29 tractors, to the cut-rock polo barn, to the emptied bottles of Old Taylor bourbon in an abandoned hunting lodge. At 510,527 acres (207,000 hectares), or 800 square miles (2,072 square kilometers), the Waggoner sprawls over six counties and is bigger than Los Angeles and New York City combined. At almost three-quarters of a billion dollars, the asking price is more than quadruple the biggest publicly known sum fetched by a U.S. ranch, $US175 million for a Colorado spread in 2007. The Waggoner is one of the 20 largest cattle ranches in the U.S. and is known worldwide for its quarter horses.
Only 280km from Dallas, the property is so large that there are entire properties WITHIN the property. There are also four lakes and an oil field.
Wait! An oil field! According to the Waggoner family legend, when the original ranchers attempted to dig wells in early 1900s to water their cattle, they kept striking oil, gosh darnit. The family members (who don't get along, hence the sale of the ranch) still get to keep 25 per cent of all future mineral rights, but here's the crazy part:
Only about a tenth of the ranch's total acreage has been explored for oil even as some 40 operators lease plots where they pump crude from more than 1,000 wells. "The ranch was run really conservatively," Uechtritz says. "The oil made everybody comfortable. There wasn't a drive to do anything more than what was necessary to live well."
So think of that $US725 million as just an initial investment.