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VIP package includes, 2 VIP tickets to XIT Rodeo and Reunion, 2 Bolo Ties from JB & The Moonshine Band, 2 XIT Rodeo and Reunion T-shirts, 2 JB & The Moonshine Band T-shirts, 2 JB and The Moonshine Band CDs.



There was nothing in the history of the West quite like the XIT Ranch. In the 1880s, it was the largest ranch in the world under fence, and it sprawled across the Texas Panhandle up from the old Yellow House headquarters near what is now Lubbock, northward to the Oklahoma Panhandle in a crazy strip that was roughly thirty miles wide. At one time, the ranch ran over 150,000 cattle.

The ranch was so large it covered portions of ten counties: Dallam, Hartley, Oldham, Deaf Smith, Parmer, Castro, Bailey, Lamb, Cochran and Hockley. As a result, some believed that the brand XIT stood for “Ten in Texas.” However, the brand was designed to thward rustlers by Ab Blocker, a South Texas trail driver, and B.H. (Barbecue) Campbell, first general manager of the ranch, who apparently once ordered a carload of brown cigarette papers. In any event, at the No. 1 division Buffalo Springs headquarters (32 miles north of Dalhart), the two men, according to the story, squatted on their boot heels and in the corral dust figured out a brand that could be run with a straight iron and that rustlers could not succesfully burn over. Cattle rustlers never were able to outsmart Blocker and Campbell, but they did learn to make XIT into a Star Cross if the T was crossed crooked.

It was a ranch that had a history of superlatives. Besides being the largest ranch in the world under fence, Texas then the biggest state used it to pay for its red granite Capitol which is still the largest state Capitol on the North American continent today. Actually, the Texas Capitol at Austin is even bigger that the U.S. Capitol building. Its dome stands seven feet higher.

In 1875, the Lone Star government was getting cramped in its old Capitol and the Texas Consitutional Convention set aside three million Panhandle acres with which to get a new Capitol. Action was slow until finally a fire in 1881 destroyed the old building which forced Gov. Oran M. Roberts to call a special legislative session. At that point, a bargain was struck with two brothers, Charles B. and John V. Farwell, of Chicago. They agreed to build a $3,000,000 Capitol and accept the three million Panhandle acres in payment.

The Farwells operated one of the largest wholesale dry goods firms in Chicago and operated the XIT Ranch in strict accordance with the business methods of the period. The XIT Ranch became one of the first ranches to adopt scientific practices and raised various agricultural crops annually in addition to raising cattle.

During the 1920s, the XIT Ranch was broken up, sold and thus was divided into smaller ranches. Now only a few of the original buildings exist.

Since 1936, cowboys and their families who worked on the XIT Ranch have been gathering at annual reunions to reminisce about life on the ranch. Since 1937, these reunions have been held in Dalhart where the addition of a rodeo and a free barbeque have been opened to the public. Today, the event, which triples the size of the town, is one of the most exciting western celebrations in the world.

From “Accent West” August 1997 issues – written by Liz Cantrell and used by permission of Don Cantrell



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