In 1907, at the young age of 19, D.M. Cogdell, Sr., bought what would become the first of a string of ranches purchased throughout the state of Texas. For the next 50 years D.M. Sr., expanded his ranching operation throughout West Texas.
In 1953, Texas was in the fifth year of a terrible drought. Watching his ranch near Snyder suffer, he kept remembering when, as a youth, he had ridden across the lush grasslands of the Texas Panhandle plains. As a result, D.M. Cogdell, Sr., bought the 27,000-acre Tule Ranch, as well as other Panhandle interests and moved his cattle there.
When D.M. Sr., passed away in 1964, his two sons, D.M. Jr., and Billy, took over the ranching operation in the Panhandle. In the mid-1970s, they dissolved their partnership; Billy and his wife Bette kept the original Tule Ranch. Billy continued to expand the Tule Ranch, which lies in the rugged Palo Duro and Tule Canyons, to encompass more than 160,000+ acres.
In the mid-1950s, at the age of 20, Billy contracted polio leaving him 98% paralyzed. However, this did not deter him from his passion of ranching and raising the best cattle and horses he could. As a result, the image of Billy that most people remember is either him in the cake wagon making sure things went smoothly, or in his wheelchair enjoying a cutting or ranch rodeo.
A best-loved hobby, one that has had a huge impact on the ranch’s breeding program, was found in the sport of cutting. Today the broodmare band reflects the Cogdell’s interest in the cutting arena, as well as in ranch horses, because to the Cogdell family they are one in the same. The primary goal of the Tule Ranch remuda program is to produce good quality, versatile ranch horses with the ability and breeding to also compete in the arena. This has cumulated in two NCHA Open Futurity wins (1978 & 1999) and being selected as an AQHA Best of The Remuda Award recipient (2006).
Billy passed away in 2003, but he left a legacy in both the ranching and cutting horse industries that continues in the lives of his four children, 11 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Most of the family members live and work on the ranch today. The third and fourth generations continue the heritage of raising high-quality cattle and horses while keeping family first on the Tule Ranch.