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Changing hands: Pickens, Walton divest large Texas ranches

🕐 4 min read

Billionaire Alice Walton, heir to the Wal-Mart fortune, has sold her sprawling Rocking W Ranch in Parker County where she bred and raised champion-line cutting horses for decades.

The ranch was bought for an undisclosed price by the Three Amigos Investment Group of the West Texas town of Kermit. The 1,460-acre ranch was originally listed for $19.75 million when it was put up for sale in 2015. The price was later reduced to $16.5 million last year.

A spokesman for the investment group said a non-disclosure agreement prevents the amount paid for the ranch to be revealed.

Three Amigos already owns several large ranches in Texas, including a game ranch in the Hill Country, and continues to seek ranch property as an investment, said Three Amigos spokesman Tony Underwood.

“This is an iconic ranch,” Underwood said of the Rocking W. The ranch also has three-quarters of a mile of Brazos River frontage so the group acquired water rights and 90 percent of the mineral rights, the spokesman said.

The ranch in Millsap, about 45 miles west of Fort Worth, also includes a 3,853-square-foot home overlooking the Brazos, a 30-stall horse barn, a covered arena and breaking pen.

The buyers will “keep livestock on it, some longhorns, and will use the quarter-horse facilities” although plans for the horse facilities are still to be determined. The buyers closed on the property in September, Underwood said.

Walton, 68, is the daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and his wife, Helen Walton. She has a net worth of $45.3 billion, according to the most current information from Forbes. She is the richest person in Texas.

Walton, who lives in Fort Worth, was a leading breeder and competitor in the cutting-horse circuit and developed her ranch into one of the largest breeding operations in the Fort Worth area, a hub for the sport.

When she put her ranch up for sale in 2015, she announced that she had planned to concentrate on other priorities, including the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art she founded in Bentonville, Arkansas, the headquarters of Wal-Mart, according to a statement from Williams Trew, the realty firm handling the sale of her ranch.

“I loved this business and this way of life,” Walton said a statement at the time. “But it is time for me to pull back and focus on other things that really matter to me.”

Shortly after putting the Rocking W up for sale, Walton sold off nearly 90 horses for about $3.2 million. Many of Walton’s top horses were purchased by Fort Worth’s Bobby Patton, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to Williams Trew broker associate Allen Crumley, who handled the sale of the Rocking W Ranch.

At the time, Patton had recently purchased the 343-acre Marvine Ranch in Aledo from TPG co-CEO Jon Winkelried, former co-president of Goldman Sachs, said Crumley, who also handled the sale of Marvine Ranch. The ranch has since been remained Rocking P Ranch.

“Bobby’s become very successful in the cutting horse business after buying some of her best cutting horses and hiring her former trainer, Jesse Lennox,” Crumley said.

Crumley is also marketing Walton’s larger ranch, Fortune Bend Ranch, near Possum Kingdom Lake in Palo Pinto County. The 4,416-acre spread includes 8.5 miles of Brazos River frontage in the scenic area south of the Possum Kingdom dam. Other features include a 4,346-square-foot lodge home and a small barn set against beautiful limestone hills with spectacular views, according to marketing information.

The original asking price of $28.7 million has been reduced to $22.1 million.

Selling high-acreage ranches can be a long, slow process, said Crumley and other real estate agents brokers.

“There’s a lot on the market but it is not moving as aggressively as we would like,” said Mac Coalson, a long-time real estate broker specializing in farm and ranch properties.

Uncertainty in the economy due to Congress’ failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, pass an infrastructure bill and tax reform measure have kept potential buyers at bay, Coalson said.

Famed oilfield wildcatter, financier and corporate raider T. Boone Pickens on Nov. 29 announced he’s offering to sell his prized Texas Panhandle ranch for $250 million.

Pickens tweeted “Big news today” in announcing his Mesa Vista Ranch, covering more than 100 square miles, was for sale. The spread is about 90 miles northeast of Amarillo.

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