From Press

Texas State Photographer Helps Ford, King Ranch Celebrate Successful 15-Year Partnership

The introduction of the new Ford F-150, F-Series Super Duty and Expedition King Ranch® models celebrates an association with the iconic Texas ranch that spans 15 years. To mark the 15th anniversary of the relationship, a special photo shoot at the King Ranch was undertaken by Texas State Photographer Wyman Meinzer.

The trio of King Ranch vehicles, together for the first time, and Meinzer’s unique collection of photos are making their debut at a special exhibit during the 2014 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which runs from March 4-23.

“King Ranch is a legacy. It’s one of the best in Texas, if not America,” Meinzer said. “These Ford vehicles wear the King Ranch ‘Running W’ brand because they are proven to be legitimate and authentic, in the heritage of both Ford and the King Ranch.”

The three King Ranch edition vehicles, all 2015 models that go on sale later this year, are designed with unique interior and exterior trim, an enhanced level of standard equipment and special wheels, all to reflect the authentic character of the ranch and the premium quality of its products.

Meinzer, who was named State Photographer of Texas by George W. Bush in 1997, was raised as a cowboy on a ranch near Benjamin, Texas, and understands the life of ranching. This experience helped guide his Ford King Ranch photo shoot, making it as authentic as possible.

“King Ranch vehicles are made to kick butt, to get in the brush and dunes and mud holes,” Meinzer explained. “We tried to present them in the conditions you’d actually see on a ranch.”

More than 4,000 images were taken during the four-day shoot. Visitors to Ford.com will be able to view a gallery of these images that tie the story of the King Ranch to the F-150, F-Series Super Duty and Expedition that bear the ranch’s famed “Running W” brand. All three are new for model year 2015.

Aileen Barraza, Ford color and materials designer, has visited the King Ranch many times to get a true sense of what it expresses. “It’s a very majestic place that makes you feel at home no matter where you’re from,” Barraza said. “You can’t help but be comfortable right away with genuine luxury that is earned through hard work.”

Barraza translates that King Ranch feeling to the Ford vehicles she helps design. “The King Ranch models evoke luxury that is earned,” Barraza said. “It’s a reward for hard work, which is what has made the ranch so successful.”

The new King Ranch exterior colors for 2015 are Caribou, Bronze Fire, Guard and Ruby Red Metallic Clearcoat. Caribou will be offered as a monotone; the other colors will have Caribou as an accent color. All King Ranch vehicles now come as either a monotone or two-tone appearance, giving customers additional appearance flexibility. Premium Mesa Brown is the new interior leather, and only available on King Ranch editions.

Ford’s relationship with the King Ranch began in 1999, when Ford recognized the King Ranch represented the same philosophies it designs and engineers into its trucks: toughness, authenticity, integrity and quality.

Ford realized the best way to celebrate the partnership was to produce a King Ranch edition of the F-150, beginning with the 2001 model year. The success of that model launched the expansion of King Ranch editions to include Super Duty (model year 2003) and Expedition (model year 2005).

“King Ranch editions aren’t merely trim levels,” said Robert Underbrink, King Ranch chief executive officer. “They are representations of an authentic American story that parallels that of Ford Motor Company.”

The King Ranch was founded in 1853 by Richard King and is located in Kingsville, Texas, approximately 40 miles southwest of Corpus Christi. The ranch’s operations in Texas consist of four divisions that total 825,000 acres (1,289 square miles), making the ranch larger than the state of Rhode Island. King Ranch has additional locations in Florida, New Mexico and South Carolina and currently runs a fleet of more than 350 Ford vehicles.

The success of Ford’s association with the King Ranch is reflected in sales, especially in Texas. Forty percent of all F-Series Super Duty King Ranch editions are sold in Texas.

Photographer and Benjamin native is now a hero

Meinzer honored for pioneer spirit

A portrait of photographer Wyman Meinzer, as captured by Robb Kendrick.Benjamin native Wyman Meinzer is known as the “Official Photographer of The State Of Texas,” as decreed in 1997 by then-Gov. George W. Bush.

That’s quite a bulky title to carry around, but the 60-year-old laughs it off.

“I never set out to achieve anything that’s happened to me,” Meinzer said. “It’s always been a case of someone else recognizing the love I had for the art.”

At noon today, Meinzer will receive some further recognition. The Frontier Times Museum in Bandera is inducting Meinzer into its Texas Heroes Hall of Honor.

It’s a designation reserved for “remarkable individuals and wondrous characters who, through their leadership, creativity, example and hard work, keep the pioneer spirit alive and help keep Texas, Texan.”

That description isn’t selling this year’s class short. It includes the consistently outrageous fringe politician Kinky Friedman, Houston Livestock Show mastermind Louis Pearce, highly decorated Bandera cowboy Scooter Fries, and the late rodeo legend Toots Mansfield.

Meinzer says he’s still trying to digest the “tremendous honor.”

But his work speaks for itself: 20 photography books, 250 magazine cover credits and a whole cupboard’s worth of awards.

Not bad for a guy who started out studying wildlife biology at Texas Tech University.

Meinzer, who grew up in a ranching family, got his first real camera for a class assignment. He used a 35 mm shooter to collect data on wild species.

As soon as he had to hand it back to the professor, he went out and bought another one.

From there, it was a career of trial and error. But what kept Meinzer questing for just the right shot, with just the right light, was an abiding love for his home state.

“You can never see it all,” Meinzer said. “Even after 30 years, wherever I travel I see something new.”

But seeing something new is the name of the game. Meinzer claims that he’s “never left a footprint” on the trails at Big Bend National Park. Why go there to shoot, after all, when that landscape has been so well-documented?

The greater challenge, Meinzer says, lies in the unknown.

“I’d rather go out to places that are less-seen, if they’ve been seen at all,” Meinzer said.

This article was originally published here © 2011 Abilene Reporter-News.