Largest Ranch in U.S. Gets Sporty New Owner

The sale of the 535,000-acre ranch was the largest transaction in Sotheby's International Realty's history and was sold to a billionaire businessman and sports entrepreneur.
Waggoner Ranch, Vernon< Texas (Image Credit: Chris Collins)

W.T. Waggoner Ranch, Vernon, Texas (Image Credit: Chris Collins)

For the first time in 167 years the W.T. Waggoner Ranch in Texas—the largest ranch in the United States—will have a new owner who is not a family member. The ranch, which was listed at $725 million, was sold in a private transaction to Stan Kroenke, a billionaire businessman and sports entrepreneur, and will become part of Kroenke Ranches.

“This is an incredible opportunity and an even greater responsibility,” said Kroenke, who was already estimated to be the 9th largest land owner in America with more than 865,000 acres and a ranching operation that comprises more than 2 million acres in North America. “We are honored to assume ownership of the Waggoner—a true Texas and American landmark—and are deeply committed to continuing the proud legacy of W.T. Waggoner, his family and his descendants. Our gratitude to them and to the many parties involved in this process is immense. We will continue to preserve and protect this uniquely American treasure.”

The 535,000-acre ranch spans across six Texas counties located outside Wichita Falls near the Red River for almost 800 square miles. It is the largest ranch in the U.S. and includes two main compounds, a 65,000-square-foot ranch office headquarters, 20 cowboy camps, about 1,200 existing oil wells, thousands of cattle, hundreds of horses and 30,000 acres of farmland. The property also has approximately 454,000 acres of land remaining undeveloped for oil.

The heirs of W.T. Waggoner listed the sprawling property in August 2014 after years of legal wrangling about whether to sell it. The estate was marketed by Bernard ‘Bernie’ Uechtritz of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty in Dallas and Sam Middleton of Chas. S. Middleton and Son in Lubbock, Texas, and garnered worldwide interest from those wealthy enough to put down a $15 million refundable deposit.

“Our promise was to market the W.T. Waggoner Ranch to the four corners of the world—we did that,” Uechtritz said in a prepared statement. “The sale of the ranch was the result of a strategic and robust global marketing campaign, which I believe to be unprecedented.”