The OW Ranch
The OW Ranch
The OW RANCH is the original Headquarters of the Kendrick Cattle Company, perhaps the most famous of the cattle empires created in the late 1800s in the Sheridan, Wyoming area. The OW operates on nearly 41,551 sprawling acres, of which 24,694 ± is well-blocked and deeded. Grazing units are comprised of foothills range with scattered timber complemented by protected meadows in the surrounding valleys. Significant wildlife resources include deer, elk, antelope, black bear and upland birds. Two sets of headquarters buildings and well- connected roads throughout provide sound presence on all parts of the ranch. The ranch stretches across the border of three Montana counties and is just a one-hour drive to the historic western town of Sheridan, Wyoming, providing commercial air service, fine dining, shopping, arts, and medical facilities. The OW represents the opportunity to own one of the West’s most historic and famous ranches.
Driving around the ranch, you will see that OW Ranch Management is in a state of continuous improvement, focusing on fence infrastructure, water resources, marketable livestock and healthy plant communities. The OW is true to its roots as a horseback operated cattle ranch. Cowboys meet each morning in the bunkhouse that was built in the late 1880’s for breakfast and line out the work for the day. Horses are saddled in the famous barn with massive cottonwood post and beams.
As you enter the legacy of generational ranch ownership that forged the West percolate in your soul. The corrals, calving barns, carriage house, and buildings are like stepping back in time as the owner and his ranch management care for all the original improvements that they look as good as they did in the late 1800’s. Many of the buildings including the Senators home were renovated to their historical splendor under the guidance of well-known Montana architect Jonathan Foote. Old west Stone Mason's built the spring house, meat locker, and other buildings in 1902 from local limestone.
In 2021, OW management conducted its first horse sale allowing the young cowboys to participate in proceeds of the auction as compensation for breaking horses during the summer as they moved cattle for hundreds of miles and in all kinds of conditions.
John Benjamin Kendrick came to Wyoming as a cowboy on a cattle drive from Texas in 1879. He was self-educated, having left school in the 5th grade. He was a voracious reader however and soon rose above the average cowboy to become the manager of the Converse Cattle Company in 1887. He moved the ranch operations to the present location of the OW Headquarters on Hanging Woman Creek in 1889 and was soon able to buy out the absentee owners to create what eventually became the Kendrick Cattle Company.
Kendrick’s legacy carried on as he was Wyoming’s Governor and a three time US Senator. His family donated much of the land that now makes up the open spaces in the town of Sheridan including Kendrick Park, Kendrick Golf Course, and the Trails End Museum. Kendrick’s business interests in Sheridan can also be observed along downtown Main Street by the many buildings that have the iconic “K” carved in stone up high.
The historic OW headquarters where John B. Kendrick lived and raised his children remains one of eastern Montana’s best open range cattle ranches. A large modern heated equipment shop is located near OW headquarters convenient to the nearby hay ground. The Conley Headquarters lies on the far east end of the ranch near Passaic Road 30 miles north of Clearmont. Shipping corrals and other improvements throughout the ranch provide good presence on all parts of the ranch. The infrastructure in place provides great recreational and agricultural opportunities to maintain a true living Montana ranch in cohesion with the natural environment.
The OW Ranch has a diverse mix of warm- and cool-season forage plant communities. Vast range ground covers the broad sloping valleys of Hanging Woman, PK, Trail, and Horse Creeks. Numerous coulees and ridges provide ideal cover and parklike meadows that support native and introduced grasses, including Blue Grama, June, Japanese Brome, Needle and Thread, Bottle Brush, Blue Bunch, Western and Crested wheat grasses. Profitable calf and stocker gains are supported by good moisture and soils that this region is well known for. Over 10 miles of meandering creek bottoms on East Trail and Hanging Woman hold productive stands of Brome, Wheat, Timothy, Alfalfa, and Rye mixed fields. There was a reason John Kendrick, one of Wyoming’s best-known cattleman, chose the OW, just an hour north east of Sheridan, Wyoming, to be the cornerstone of his empire.
The OW has world class hunting and recreation opportunities. Mule deer in the 190-200 inch class and elk in the 400-inch class are continuing their genetics in the resident herds. Of particular interest is the elk population that continues to grow both in numbers and reputation. The area is becoming well known as Montana’s premier destination among groups of hunters that are in the know. Pronghorn Antelope are prolific and share the open grass land with game birds such as dove and sharp tailed grouse.
The OW is situated along a ridge of foothills that stretch from the Big Horn Mountains to the west and the Black Hills to east. The continuous escarpment of timbered ridges and highly productive vegetation is as good for cattle as it is for wildlife. Surprising to anyone who visits the OW is the feeling that you are in the mountains, yet you are at an elevation and terrain that is tempered by the plains.