Many times, in marketing ranch properties the terms "Historic Ranch", "Legendary Property", "Famous Ranch", or "Rare Offering" are over used to hype a ranch being offered for sale. Such terms should only rightly be used to describe precious few ranches. Without question, these terms truly fit the legendary 6666’s Ranch. Few, if any ranches in the United States can match the history, grandeur, and prestige of the 6666’s Ranch, which was founded in 1870.
Legend has it that the history of the ranch began with a poker game and a winning hand of four sixes. In true Texas fashion, this does make a great story, but the real history of the 6666’s Ranch began with Samuel Burk Burnett, who became one of the most influential and prosperous cattlemen in the history of Texas.
Samuel Burk Burnett was born in Bates County, Missouri in 1849. At the age of 19, Burk purchased 100 head of cattle which had been branded with the 6666’s brand. Soon thereafter, he started leasing and ultimately purchasing ranches and expanding his ranching operation. Around 1900, he purchased the 8 Ranch near Guthrie, Texas in King County. He soon purchased the Dixon Creek Ranch in the Texas Panhandle and also began to expand the 8 Ranch into what now is known as the 6666’s Ranch. In 1917 he decided to build “The finest ranch house in West Texas” at Guthrie. This stately home still stands as the main house at the 6666’s Ranch. It is told that the house cost $100,000, which was considered to be an enormous amount of money at that time. The house was constructed of stone quarried rock and other materials which were hauled by wagon to Guthrie. Early day visitors to the home included President Roosevelt, Will Rogers and the Indian Chief Quanah Parker. In 1921, oil was discovered on the Dixon Creek Ranch and in 1969, a major oil field was discovered on the 6666’s Ranch.
Samuel Burk Burnett passed away in 1922. Prior to his death, he willed the bulk of his estate to his daughter, Anne Valliant Burnett in a Trusteeship for her yet unborn grandchild, Anne Burnett Marion. In 1980, when Anne Valliant Burnett Tandy passed away, the majority of her estate went to her daughter, Anne Burnett Marion, through this Trusteeship. Mrs. Marion assumed management of the 6666’s Ranch in 1980 and took a very hands-on interest in the management of the property and all of the 6666’s holdings.
Sadly, Anne Marion passed away on February 11, 2020, and terms of her will dictated all of her ranching operations would be sold.
Anne Burnett Marion “Little Anne” grew up spending her summers on the 6666’s Ranch. She was focused and dedicated to this ranching empire and was very active in the management of these ranches. She was highly respected by her peers.
Mrs. Marion was a director emeritus at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and was inducted into its Hall of Great Westerners in 2009. Her great-grandfather, Samuel Burk Burnett; her grandfather, Tom Burnett; and her mother, Anne Burnett Tandy; are also Hall of Fame inductees there. Individual honors include the Golden Deed Honoree as selected by the Fort Worth Exchange Club, 1993; The Charles Goodnight Award, 1993; induction into the Texas Business Hall of Fame, 1996; The Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts award, 1996; the American Quarter Horse Association Merle Wood Humanitarian Award, 1999; the National Golden Spur Award, 2001; the Boss of the Plains Award from the National Ranching Heritage Center, 2003; induction into the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame, 2007; and induction into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, 2014.
During her years overseeing the management of the 6666’s Ranches, Mrs. Marion felt a strong responsibility towards the improvement of the land and water resources. She had a love for the land and ranching was in her blood. During her tenure, the 6666’s Ranches attained a national reputation for fine quarter horses and quality cattle. Away from the ranch, she was known as an astute businesswoman, a philanthropist and was highly regarded as an arts patron.
Now, due to the passing of Anne Burnett Marion, for the first time ever, the historic 6666’s Ranch at Guthrie, Texas is offered for sale.
Location of the 6666’s Ranch
The 6666’s Ranch contains 142,372 acres, more or less, and is located in King County, Texas, which is in the Rolling Plains Region of the state. The small community of Guthrie, which is the county seat, has a population of approximately 350 people. Guthrie is located near the center of the property, and the 6666’s Ranch basically surrounds the community.
Average temperatures in the county range from a minimum of 27 degrees in January to a maximum average of 99 degrees in July. The growing season averages 219 days and average precipitation is approximately 22 inches.
Lubbock, Texas is 95 miles to the west, Wichita Falls is 115 miles to the east, and Fort Worth is 200 miles to the southeast.
Description of the 6666’s Ranch
Being one of the largest ranches in Texas, the 6666’s Ranch comprises 142,372 acres, more or less. To put this massive ranch in perspective, the ranch encompasses almost 225 square miles of land. The ranch generally measures approximately 20 miles long from north to south and around 12 miles wide from east to west.
Approximately 1,000 acres of the ranch are in cultivation and farmed on a dryland basis. This land is typically farmed in wheat for seasonal grazing. Approximately 700 acres have been reseeded to improved bluestem pasture. The remainder of the ranch, being over 140,000 acres, remains in native pasture.
The topography of the 6666’s Ranch varies from fairly level and gently rolling to rough, broken and eroded country draining to creek bottoms. Elevations on the ranch range from approximately 2,000 feet on the north and northwest sides of the property to around 1,600 feet in the creek bottoms in the southeast corner of the ranch. Five major creek bottom drainages run through the ranch, all draining in an easterly to sometimes southeasterly direction. Beginning at the far north end of the ranch, Farrer Creek runs through the northeast corner of the property for approximately one mile. Approximately five miles to the south, the Middle Fork of the Wichita River runs through the ranch for a distance of approximately eight miles. Then, approximately five miles further to the south, Willow Creek runs through the entirety of the ranch for approximately ten miles. As previously discussed, the community of Guthrie and the 6666’s Headquarters are located near the center of the ranch. The South Wichita River enters the property on the west side and meanders through the entire central portion of the ranch, through Guthrie, then further east, exiting the ranch on the far east boundary. Then, towards the far south side of the ranch North Croton Creek enters the property near the southwest corner and winds through the entire southern portion of the ranch, exiting the property at the southeast corner.
In addition to these five major drainages, there are numerous tributary drainages, side creeks, draws and ravines. Seasonal holes, along with year-round live water are found in these various creeks. During the hot summer months, water in these creeks becomes salty and is typically not suitable for livestock consumption, unless the water is freshened by rain runoff. During the cooler seasons, the water becomes more potable.
Some areas of the ranch have sandy or sandy loam soils, with other areas transitioning to red clay and less productive, scaldy more marginal soils. Mesquite is common in the more productive portions of the ranch with cedar being the predominate invader in the more rocky, broken soils. Lower valley areas have soapberry, willows and hackberry trees in the creek bottom areas. The ranch has an ongoing brush control program in place, generally spending approximately $100,000 per year on mesquite spraying, plus the use of front-end loaders to grub and stack cedar. This program has been very successful and the ranch has been recognized for the brush control conservation work done on the property.
The native turf is in overall good condition and the ranch has been well managed over the years.
The 6666’s Ranch is fenced and cross fenced into many pastures, traps and fields. The 6666’s Headquarters, which are located at and around Guthrie have considerable pipe fencing around barns, outbuildings, etc. Immediately south and west of the Headquarter improvements is the 6666’s Horse Division. There are multiple barns, stalls and related improvements located at the Horse Division. Much of the fencing at this division is also of pipe construction. The remainder of the ranch has 5 and 6 wire barbed wire fencing with steel T posts and cedar stave fencing. Typically, the ranch pasture fencing has pipe corners, pipe stretch posts and pipe gate posts construction. Overall, all fencing on the 6666’s Ranch has been well maintained and is considered to be of superior quality to the typical ranch property in this area.
As previously discussed, there are multiple lots, pen areas, and traps around the Headquarters and the Horse Division. Most of the cultivated land and the improved bluestem pasture is located in and around the Horse Division. Away from this area of the ranch, 5 and 6 wire barbed wire fencing is typical. This area of the ranch comprises approximately 140,000 acres. This includes approximately 30 pastures and 20–25 traps. The pastures typically range from approximately 900 acres to almost 10,000 acres each and the traps typically range from just less than 100 acres to just less than 1,000 acres.
Historically, developed water has been a limiting factor on the 6666’s Ranch, King County and this general area of the Texas Rolling Plains. Well water is sometimes difficult to locate and it is possible that a well driller will drill a dry hole. When well water is located it is typically of poor quality and of limited quantity. A typical windmill, domestic well or livestock well will be of several gallons per minute capacity and have high mineral deposits. Natives in the area refer to the high mineral content as “gypy water”. This means the high mineral content of the water can make the water unsuitable for human consumption and also means the mineral content causes mineral deposits to form on waterlines, water hydrants, water troughs, etc. This also means that a water heater or dishwasher will have mineral deposits form, causing the heater/dishwasher to only last for a short period of time before it needs to be replaced.
This poor-quality water was a way of life for area residents for many years. In the 1970’s, the Federal Government initiated Federal funds for community rural water systems. In this area of Texas, the King/Cottle Rural Water System was formed. Federal funding was approved to purchase water rights near the King/Cottle County line. There is an area of fairly large quantity irrigation water between Guthrie and Paducah. Water rights were purchased in this area and landowners throughout Cottle and King Counties agreed to purchase water meters, whereby water could be piped to their property and the landowner would pay for the use of this metered water. The King/Cottle Rural Waterline was considered to be a major enhancement for rural landowners in this area of Texas. Also, during this time frame a similar water system, known as the Red River Rural Water System was formed, and a portion of the ranch accessed this water system. Hundreds of miles of waterlines were installed and ultimately paid for by water meter usage from these area landowners. The 6666’s Ranch was a major purchaser of these water meters. This water was piped to the 6666’s Camps, Headquarters and to many multiple livestock drinking troughs throughout the ranch. This water system was and has been a tremendous enhancement to the 6666’s Ranch and to area farms and ranches. Because of the substantial demand for water, this system has been operating at maximum capacity for many years, and now, the 100’s of miles of waterlines are experiencing leaks and capacity issues, causing constant maintenance to this water system. It should also be mentioned that while this water source is of fairly strong capacity, the quality of the water is marginal. In recent years, as RO Water Systems have become available, many landowners have installed RO Systems.
Approximately 15 years ago, Anne Marion made the decision to install a large, state-of-the-art water filtration plant at the ranch. As a source for this water system, two water wells were leased north of the 6666’s Ranch. It is reported that one of the wells produces approximately 300 gallons per minute, and the other well, which is generally used as a backup, produces approximately 130 gallons per minute. This water system is located near the north end of the ranch and comprises an elaborate filtration system, water storage reservoirs, pumps, the housing around the system, and miles of private waterline used to transport this water to major portions of the ranch. In some areas, this water actually gravity flows, while in other areas it is forced by pumping stations. It is reported that this water system cleanses the raw well water to a point where it is considered to be bottled drinking water quality. This has been a major enhancement for the ranch.
In addition to the above, other water sources include untreated water wells, which are suitable for livestock, dirt tanks, some of which are seasonal and others are generally considered to be a year-round water source, along with live creek water in places. Again, the above described water system and associated waterlines are considered to be the major source of water on the ranch. Now, with the addition of this extensive water system, the 6666’s Ranch is considered to be very well watered when compared to the typical ranch in this area.
The 6666’s Ranch has substantial structural improvements, much more than any other ranch in this area of Texas; however, these structural improvements are spread over 142,000 acres of land and are fitting for a ranch of this history and magnitude. The structural improvements are primarily located in four areas. These include the North Camp, which is near the north boundary of the ranch; the South Camp, near the south boundary of the ranch; the main Headquarters in an around Guthrie, Texas, near the center of the ranch; and the Horse Division improvements, located just south and west of the main Headquarters.
The North Camp and the South Camp Improvements both include a camp manager’s home, a bunkhouse and a metal barn. These improvements are very functional.
Substantial structural improvements are located at the headquarters. Probably the most famous and most prominent structural improvement is the “Big House”. This beautiful three-story rock home dominates the Headquarters Compound, and the landscaped grounds surrounding the home compliment the setting. Totally, the home contains approximately 13,280 square feet of living area. Historically, the current ranch manager and his family live in one portion of the home and Mrs. Marion and her family/guests utilized a separate area of the home. The home contains 13 bedrooms, 13 baths, 3 powder rooms, 2 kitchens, dining room and 3 fireplaces. Over the years, a number of the nation’s most successful business people and politicians, including Presidents of the United States have stayed in this historic home.
Additional improvements at the main Headquarters include the pilot’s quarters, 2 bunk houses, the famous 6666’s loft barn, several horse sheds, shop building, equipment storage, feed building, round pen, dog kennel, two laborer houses, approximately 20 employee houses, the 6666’s Supply House, a 3,600 square foot enclosed airplane hangar and a 65 foot x 6,000 foot asphalt lighted private landing strip.
The impressive Horse Division improvements are located immediately across the highway to the south. These improvements include the nearly 17,000 square foot main office building, Doc’s home, the cook house, employee house, 2 bunk houses, 3 stud barns, 3 separate stables, the race barn, the mare motel, 2 horse barns, the alfalfa barn, round pen, horse walkers, and the nearly new 48,750 square foot covered arena.
In addition to these major structural improvements there are 28 sets of pipe construction working and/or shipping pens located over the ranch. There are 2 sets of scales.
Most all structural improvements are extremely well maintained.
The 6666’s Ranch has historically been operated as a cow/calf cattle ranch, and in more recent years, a separate horse division has been established and is now a major component of the overall ranching operation.
The cattle division of the 6666’s Ranch is overseen and managed by Joe Leathers, General Ranch Manager. Joe and his family live in a portion of the main home. Joe also oversees the management of the 6666’s Dixon Creek Ranch and Frisco Creek Ranch.
The cattle division of the 6666’s Ranch typically consists of 4,000–4,300 cows, several hundred replacement heifers, around 200 bulls and all needed ranch horses for operation of the cattle division. Under the typical cattle operation, bulls are turned out with the cow herd on about April 1st for a 60-day period. The calves are weaned in October. The steer calves typically weigh 650–700 pounds, with the heifers weighing around 60 pounds less. The calves are shipped to the 6666 Frisco Creek Ranch where they are run for another 45 days or so. At this ranch, the cattle are placed on a combination of native pasture, irrigated pasture and a supplemental all-natural feed program (backgrounding) where the cattle are grown to a weight of approximately 800 pounds. The cattle are then shipped to Mc6 Feeders, north of Hereford, Texas where they are placed on an all-natural finished feed ration. The 6666’s partners with 44 Farms and Walmart under a program called Prime Pursuits. Cattle in this program are all natural and marketed through Walmart. This program markets cattle at a 10-12 per pound premium over the typical cash market.
Also, as part of the ranching operation, the cattle ranching division of the 6666’s Ranch typically operates around 133,000–135,000 acres of the ranch and the horse division typically operates around 8,000–10,000 acres of the property.
The Horse Division is managed and overseen by Glenn Blodgett, DVM. This is a large horse operation, with a ranch horse division and a racing horse division. This operation includes stallions and mares owned by the 6666’s Ranch, including recipient mares, which are used as a surrogate, to take the fertilized egg from prize winning/expensive mares/stallions. Some of the stallions are owned solely by the ranch, while some are in partnership and some are owned by other parties. Likewise, the ranch also boards mares owned by other parties, kept at the ranch for breeding purposes, or kept year-round at the ranch.
As previously discussed, the Horse Division typically operates 8,000–10,000 acres of the total ranch, principally being that area of the ranch in close proximity to the Horse Division improvements. This includes the 700 acres+/- of bluestem pasture and the 1,000 acres+/- typically planted in wheat.
Each Fall the 6666’s Ranch hosts the Return to the Remuda Sale. This sale features horses from the 6666’s Ranch and some of Texas’ most historic ranches, including Beggs Cattle Company, Pitchfork Land and Cattle, Waggoner Ranch, Tongue River Ranch and guest consigners, such as the King Ranch, Wagonhound Land & Livestock, and Circle Bar Ranch. Thousands of people attend this annual sale and millions of dollars are paid for these outstanding horses.
In addition to the cattle and horse operation, the 6666’s Ranch is located in an area offering outstanding whitetail deer hunting, quail, dove, feral hogs and predators, such as coyotes and an occasional mountain lion. No commercial hunting has ever been allowed on the property. Mrs. Marion enjoyed hunting and used the property as a place to personally hunt and invite family members and friends to the property for hunting. It is rare to find a property of this magnitude where commercial hunting has never been allowed.
There is scattered oil production found on portions of the property. Much of the ranch has no production and where production is located, the well sites and roads have been well maintained and the production is not unsightly. All minerals are owned and one-quarter of the minerals are offered with the sale of the ranch. Royalty income has averaged approximately $400,000 - $500,000 per year for the past three years, and one-quarter (1/4) of this amount will convey. Currently, very little oil production is located on the 6666’s Ranch. In 2018, Burnett Oil Company leased the mineral rights under approximately 140,000 acres of the existing 6666’s Ranch (a copy of this mineral lease is available). Several producing wells have been drilled and this lease appears to be promising for additional development. As these minerals are developed, additional royalty income will be generated. There is no solar development or wind farm development on the ranch and 100% of the solar rights and wind generation royalty rights will convey with the sale. Property taxes are approximately $157,000 per year.
It goes without saying that we are extremely honored to represent the 6666’s Ranch in the sale of this truly historic ranch property. This outstanding offering is realistically priced at $1,350 per acre, which includes one-quarter of the minerals along with all solar and wind generation rights. We have a detailed inventory of cattle, horses, rolling stock, equipment and other personal items, all of which are available to be purchased separately.
The 6666’s Ranch is now available for the first time ever. This historic property was established 150 years ago and only about once in a lifetime does a ranch of this scale and significance come on the market. This is a rare opportunity to own a great piece of Texas history.