Monday, July 11, 2011

Classic Texas traditions stand test of time at Bowen Ranch

Even as his open range shrinks, Jimmy Bowen - El Paso's most recognizable working cowboy - still believes there is a place for cowboys in this city. As the owner of Bowen Ranch, an 88,000-acre stretch of land in Northeast El Paso spanning three counties and two states, he knows the city is quickly approaching his property. He understands the inevitable, as new developments are already popping up next door to his ranch, and the city is trying to develop an industrial park within a half-mile of his Edge of Texas restaurant. "The city is going to grow and the ranch is going to decrease," Bowen said. "And that's OK." The ranch was once more than 150,000 acres, nearly half of it leased from the Public Service Board. It used to cross over the Franklin Mountains into the West Side of town. Today, Bowen Ranch is down to 88,000 acres. Bowen isn't worried though because the 78-year-old proprietor believes there will always be a place for the ways of the Old West. The Bowen family made a name for itself in 1863, when it brought the first heard of Herefords to the United States from Great Britain The Animal Channel is currently working on a show about it, and the movie "The Rare Breed," staring James Stewart, was based off the relocation of the cattle. The Bowen family moved to the El Paso area 70 years ago, when Jimmy Bowen was only 7. The ranch is located on the Old Salt Trail, which was used to transport livestock through the Franklin Mountains to the Salt Flats near Carlsbad, N.M., using the Anthony Gap. "Think there is a lot of history here and we are glad to be a part of it," Bowen said. As time went on, he kept adding on to his land. "I just bought small portions and built it from there," Bowen said...more

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