The Pitchfork Land and Cattle Company was incorporated with 52,500 acres of land in central West Texas and a foundation herd of 9,750 cattle in December of 1883. Today, the home ranch covers 165,000 acres in Dickens and King counties near the town of Guthrie, Texas, with a satellite operation in Oklahoma. The Pitchfork Ranch is larger today than at any time in its history.
For nearly 100 years the Pitchfork’s profits and losses were affected only by the weather and the price of cattle. The Pitchfork Ranch is now a diversified modern agricultural business. Other areas of the ranch’s operation include oil exploration, with significant finds in the Tannehill sands area. The Pitchfork has established hunting on the ranch, with guided hunts for deer, game birds, boar, and other game. Farming has also been expanded in recent years to increase winter grazing and grain production.
The Pitchfork has changed with the times, as change was necessary. However, it has never forgotten its past, never forgotten the traditions and ethic that allowed it to survive when many others failed. Helicopters and computers are now as common as ropes and saddles at the Pitchfork. But the ranch’s cowboys eat at the same table as the ranch’s cowboys did nearly a century before. Some things never change and never should.
The Pitchfork cattle herd is primarily Black and Black Baldie cows. Pitchfork calves are all Source and Age verified, and all are USDA process verified as NHTC (non-hormonally treated) and All Natural. With around 4,500 mother cows grazing the home ranch, the cowboys have ample opportunity to work the range in a manner very similar to the cowboys who first rode for the brand.
Pitchfork cowboys have always ridden good horses. The signature “Pitchfork Gray” – a gray horse with a black mane and tail – has now become as synonymous with the ranch as the brand itself. The Pitchfork’s horses have become widely known because of the success they have had in multiple areas.
The ranch’s remuda consists of approximately 50 brood mares, 125 saddle horses and four stallions. They raise horses primarily for their own use on the ranch but do make horses available to the public through a variety of special events including the Return to the Remuda Sale.
The Pitchfork ranch horse has a reputation that sells itself. The remuda has come a long way from the small native ponies first used on the ranch. The first improvement in the horse herd came from a thoroughbred U.S. Military remount stallion named Trimmer. This gave the cowboys horses with increased size and stamina. Seal Brown was the first quarter horse stallion purchased by Pitchfork manager, Rudolph Swenson in 1941. The stallion produced an outstanding herd of broodmares. Upon Seal Brown’s death in 1946, the ranch acquired Joe Bailey’s King, who soon became legendary. To add to the legacy were Otoe, Savanah Jr., Gray Badger, Gray Dee Bar and Dash For Cash. The modern bloodlines of Highbrow Cat, Playgun and Grays Starlight have been added in recent years. Pitchfork horses are very versatile and have been tried and proven in the pasture, rodeo arena, polo fields and performance arenas all over the world.