Growing up in Holdenville, Oklahoma, I once walked five miles from town down to the Canadian River – and back – to earn a Boy Scout Merit Badge.
Today, some 80 years later, that very same Canadian River remains a prominent part of my life. It forms the northern boundary of my picturesque 65,000-acre Mesa Vista Ranch in the northeast corner of the Texas Panhandle. The ranch’s name commemorates the stunning mesa views to the north that mark the southern edge of the Great Plains.
Years ago, at a high school commencement speech for my grandson, I offered to trade the Mesa Vista (and my jet and my billion-dollar bank account) for their place as graduating seniors with a lifetime of dreams and accomplishments to come.
Today, however, trading my ranch is off the table. Selling it is not. I’m officially putting it on the market. Asking price: $250 million.
Perhaps you know of the ranch as it’s been profiled in Architectural Digest, The Land Report, and countless other publications and newspapers. It’s known for its tranquil rolling hills, wildlife habitat, quail hunting, and amazing architecture.
Selling the ranch is the prudent thing for an 89-year-old man to do. It’s time to get my life and my affairs in order. There are many reasons why the time is right to sell the ranch now, not the least of them ensuring that what I truly believe is one of the most magnificent properties in the world winds up with an individual or entity that shares my conservation ethic.
Reflecting back, one of my keys to success has been the ability to accept and embrace change. That has been especially true in the fourth quarter of my life. Several years ago, my longtime doctor said he had “good news and bad news” for me. “Shoot straight,” I told him. “Well, the good news is you will live to be 116. The bad news is you won’t be able to hear or see,” he said. “Hell, I’m already there,” I countered.
Slowly but inevitably, my fading vision and limited hearing have forced me to give up things I’ve loved and excelled at — golf and hunting, in particular. Although the beauty of Mesa Vista remains intact, the ranch roads I have driven thousands of times are now blurred. It’s time to embrace and accept that my life has changed.
My hopes for the Mesa Vista and my plans for its future remain as vivid as they were when I began assembling the ranch 46 years ago. I initiated a multi-decade program to help the land heal and, over time, invested millions on wildlife management, programs, and facilities to create what many believe is the best quail hunting in the world. We have minimal cattle grazing on the ranch, preferring instead to let the land revert to pristine prairie conditions, much as it has been in centuries past. A substantial portion of the ranch has not been grazed in more than 20 years.
And Mesa Vista is water rich, with miles of creeks and nearly 20 lakes of varying size that we constructed over the course of 20 miles.
We invested heavily in accommodations, too, with a spectacular Lake House (12,000 square feet of living space with 4,000 square feet of porches; The Lodge (33,000 square feet under roof); the Family House (6,000 square feet); The Gate House (1,700 square feet); The Pub (1,600 square feet); and The Kennel (12,000 square feet, with space for 50 dogs). On top of that, we built a 6,000-foot runway and hangar (25,000 square feet). Moreover, there’s a stunning chapel that has a glorious view of the mesas that has seen marriages and, sadly, funerals. There’s also housing for staff scattered across the ranch. Some of the numbers associated with the ranch are stunning. For example, semi-trailer trucks delivered nearly 16,500 loads of materials to help construct the buildings. And I’ve personally directed the placement – or replacement – of 20,000-plus trees.
Mesa Vista’s unique combination of a pristine prairie and world-class amenities have provided an unparalleled venue for some of the nation’s most influential political and business leaders to share their insights on matters critical to our times — national security, economic policy, political involvement, philanthropic investment, and energy issues.
The Mesa Vista has been a labor of love that has occupied the better part of my life. And I intend for a lot more good to come from the sale of the ranch. My charitable giving exceeds $1 billion, and much of the proceeds from the sale of the Mesa Vista will be directed to The T. Boone Pickens Foundation to fund a variety of philanthropic charitable commitments.
I see this sale as a new beginning – for the Mesa Vista’s new owners and for the recipients of my charitable giving.