Cow­boy Artists of Amer­ica Trail Ride

Davis, TX

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS -

There are some things that never change on the Kok­er­not O6 Ranch, where more than 400,000 acres tra­verse and weave through jagged precipices, deep canyons and lush na­tive grasses across Jeff Davis, Pe­cos and Brew­ster coun­ties in West Texas, and one of those is the sound of the re­muda gal­lop­ing straight up a nar­row path en route to the early spring gather fol­lowed by a set of cow­boys, ages rang­ing from 11 to 50. It’s mu­sic to the ears of Chris Lacy, who owns the ranch along with his three sis­ters, just as it was mu­sic to the ears of his great-great-grand­fa­ther David L. Kok­er­not, who ac­quired the O6 brand in 1837 af­ter serv­ing as a scout for Sam Hous­ton dur­ing the Bat­tle of San Jac­into.

This year, Lacy and the ranch cow­boys were joined by the Cow­boy Artists of Amer­ica as part of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s an­nual trail ride. It’s also a tra­di­tion. Some­thing the group has done since its ear­li­est days when Char­lie Dye, Joe Beeler By Joshua Rose and John Hamp­ton rode and roped on Ge­orge Dou­glas’ ranch near Mag­dalena, Mex­ico, in the north­ern state of Sonora in the fall of 1964. How­ever, do not get fooled by the term trail ride. A trail ride brings to mind im­ages of peo­ple on horse­back leisurely saun­ter­ing across wide open spa­ces tak­ing in the scenery and stop­ping for lunch by a pleas­ant rush­ing creek. For the Cow­boy Artists when it comes to this year on the O6 Ranch, a trail ride means wak­ing up at 5 a.m. and then gal­lop­ing at in­cred­i­bly fast paces across brush and rock and dirt, round­ing up (i.e., find­ing and chas­ing) lost calves and cat­tle, nar­rowly dodg­ing horns and bring­ing in in­sur­gents who have been hid­ing in the vast spa­ces of this enor­mous ranch some­times as long as four years and don’t re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate have a rope thrown at them let alone be­ing cap­tured.

The trail ride was or­ga­nized by some­what newly minted mem­ber Teal Blake who has worked on the O6 ranch as a cow­boy on past round ups and is equal part artist and cow­boy just as the name sug­gests and just as the holy trin­ity of Dye, Beeler and Hamp­ton had in mind just over 50 years ago. And, for the first time in the his­tory of the group, Blake has also or­ga­nized a sale of plein air work that was started and some­times fin­ished on this year’s ride.

For the sale, each artist—painters and sculp­tors—who went on this year’s trail ride will submit up to two small works and those works will be avail­able on July 11, 2018, at 11 a.m. via the CA web­site, www.cow­bo­yartist­so­famer­ It will be a fixed sale and work will sell first come, first served. Art will be avail­able by Martin Grelle, Bruce Greene, Grant Red­den, Ja­son Rich, Loren Entz, Phil Epp, Mikel Don­ahue, Tyler Crow, Wayne Baize, Clark Kel­ley Price, Ore­land Joe, Paul Moore, Ja­son Scull and Dustin Payne.

Artist groups are some­thing of a rar­ity these

days. They typ­i­cally ea­gerly get started, have a cou­ple of strong years and then grad­u­ally dis­solve. Even the famed Taos So­ci­ety of Artists lasted only a decade. So it is no small feat that the CA has en­dured 53 solid years and is still go­ing strong. Much of this has to do with the friend­ships and fa­mil­ial bonds that ex­ists within the group. Friend­ships that grow strong from events like the trail ride, where the artists work to­gether, cow­boy to­gether, paint to­gether, eat to­gether and then, most im­por­tantly, talk to­gether. And by talk­ing I mean re­ally talk­ing—sit­ting in a cir­cle ex­chang­ing sto­ries with one an­other for hours each day. It’s these bonds which have held the group to­gether for all these years and will con­tinue to do so far off into the fu­ture.

Look for an ex­tended ar­ti­cle on this year’s trail ride in the Oc­to­ber 2018 is­sue of the mag­a­zine.

Painter Teal Blake, right, with sev­eral other rid­ers, young and old.

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