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Texas: stay on Wildcatter ranch for cowboy time!

Fancy donning your cowboy boots, go horse riding and eating steak? Then you should stay a night or two at Wildcatter Ranch in Texas!

Just 90 minutes out of Fort Worth (and another 30 minutes from Dallas) is Wildcatter Ranch: 1500 acres of rolling pasture set in the nook of the winding Brazos River.

It’s a tourist ranch with cowboy Nick in charge of outdoorsy activities like clay bird shooting (aka skeet shooting. Who knew? I thought a skeet was a little furry critter!), archery, jeep tours around the ponderosa, feeding the long horn cattle each morning and taking us on horseback riding tours for a couple of hours every day.

Cowboy Nick who shows you round Wildcatter Ranch

The working ranches around here run to about 650,000 acres. This is a playground for up close and personal ranch life without having to visit a zoo – or even the famous Stockyards.

Nick is slow with a howdy. In fact I didn’t hear one, but fortunately he does chew tobacco. And spit. Goes through a tin a day, he confessed, when I asked to see it – and smell it. It bloody stinks! I cannot believe anyone would put that damp sawdust into their mouth!! He uses the smokeless type and goes through a can a day – at $7 a pop. Ex-military, he says this is his dream job combining all his hobbies – and getting paid for it.

Things to know before you go:

Firstly the name: a wildcatter is a person who sinks oil wells or a person who engages in risky business prospects. Explore the ranch and you’ll see the oil wells quietly working away, but I can’t speak for the risky business!

Secondly, long horn cattle are really kept as pets these days. You don’t need to worry when you feed them (see my pics below) that one will end up on your plate that evening!

Hubby and I spent one night out here where night time critters could include coyotes and mountain lions and daytime could see snakes (sadly I didn’t see anything) but with all these activities (paid separately) I think staying two nights would be ideal.

There are two types of accommodation: in cabins with rocking chairs out the front reclining into the view, your own gas fire in a stone fire place and in the hotel in the main building where your main reason for being here is to undertake those activities and swim in their lovely stone-set pool (which can warm to bath water temps in summer).

If you arrive, like we did, around lunch time, you’ll need to travel another six miles into the tiny town of Graham to get food as the main restaurant and bar isn’t open until 5pm. It has a great reputation for steak – especially the monstrous Fred Flintstone bone-in rib eyes. My husband got the last one before they sold out for the night.

Wildcatter Ranch is a highlight on a visit to Dallas or Fort Worth as it’s just so different from the lives most of us live.

We met six Kiwis from the ‘Naki who decided to detour out for a couple of nights before heading on from Texas to Las Vegas then a cruise in Hawaii.

Here’s some pics of our 24 hours at Wildcatter Ranch in case you want to add a stopover on your next visit to Texas:

Welcome to Wildcatter ranch!

long feeding at wildcatter ranch

Or you can put their feed nugget in your mouth and kiss to him. Would you?

Wildcatter Ranch branding iron as a logo to the stables

4 people can do the jeep tour each day around Wildcatter

An oil derek at Wildcatter Ranch

What to bring to Wildcatter Ranch

•  Bring your trainers to wear horse riding, skeet shooting and archery. In fact you’ll want them for all the outdoor activities.

•  Bring your swim wear for that beautiful pool. It’s only three feet deep, but a great respite at the end of horsey kinda day!

•  Bring your sunhat and sunscreen as it can be blistering out here.

•  Bring something nice to wear for dinner. It’s not a posh restaurant and T-shirts and jeans are perfectly acceptable.

•  Bring your camera (I just used my iphone camera for this blog) because it’s photogenic everywhere you look.

I love how I’m opening my mouth to show him what to do with my feed nugget!

The kids got braver holding the feed long enough for the cattle to take it from their hands

Long horn feed at Wildcatter

We rode horses to the top of the ranch to see the views of the Brazos River

Skeet shooting

I got 3/10 with my 12-guage shot gun – and a bruise to prove it!

Prickly pear flower

Prickly pear. When the flower pod turns dark they are ready to eat

Or you could just sit by the infinity pool all day

Wildcatter cabins

Rockin on my porch

I love the bedroom lamps!

I loved this stop sign at the ranch!

The long, straight highway back to Fort Worth

My visit was assisted by the awesome teams at Visit Fort Worth and American Airlines.




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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!