Living in the big ranch country of the Texas plains region was a wonderful time for my brother and me during the 1950’s and into our early adulthood. Our dad, Pate Meinzer, was the foreman on a moderate sized ranch, 27,000 acres, along the Brazos river in Knox County so from early childhood and until I drove away to attend college at Texas Tech University life was an emersion of cowboying, hunting and being privy to working around some of the great cowboys that defined our region of Texas. Without doubt this rural upbringing played a huge roll in my own view of the land, the people as well as a decent work ethic in general.
Although I did not pursue the cowboy life as my livelihood, I never lost my love and appreciation for this genre of upbringing that set the stage for the life that I enjoy at the latter age of 61 years. I can never give enough credit to my parents and those old time Texans whose bent and bowed legs told a story of a lifetime in the saddle and on the big cattle ranges of our great state.
While studying Wildlife Management at Texas Tech, working as a professional predator hunter and finally becoming a photographer/author, I have never lost the appreciation for the smell of sweating horseflesh and the clatter of cattle hooves on the rough badlands that described so much of my home country along the Brazos and Wichita. Thus when I had the opportunity to document the workings on some of our historical ranches of these plains I felt excitement in knowing that I was finally heading back home for a revisit to a life and memories of long ago. With camera in hand and an understanding of what I really wanted to communicate through my photographic images, I embarked in this endeavor to communicate a realistic view of ranch life today and not some reenactment of ones imagination of what it should have been.
Take a moment to study these images and know that they are moments in a days work of men who represent a lifeway that is dying just a little with each passing year. It is the Big Ranch Experience of our Texas in real time!