"We do not inherit the land from our ancestors
We borrow it from our children "
An old Indian proverb
Become One With The Land
How it all began
In 1999 members of the Bryant family purchased land in Coleman County near the town of Santa Anna. For the next 20 years work was done to improve the land and make a place the whole family could enjoy. In 2012 Rock and Sharon began running regular cattle and Beefalo. The plan was ultimately to raise grass fed and grass finished Beefalo and the Rockin' S Brand was born.
History has a way of repeating itself. The Rockin' S wasn't the first family brand to be in this area or have it's beef enjoyed by repeat customers. Rock's great uncle, Tom Flippen, was born and raised in Coleman County. Cattle with the family's Bar F Brand were registered here over a hundred years ago. When he moved to Oklahoma in 1950 he opened a steakhouse in Okmulgee. The beef served was raised just a few miles from here on family land and trucked to Oklahoma to finish on his land. The Southern Mansion Steakhouse was well known for it's fantastic steaks. He had purchased a house that had been built at the turn of the century by a wealthy Creek Indian, Katie Fixico. Part of an old door from the house hangs at the ranch. Hand painted on the panel is a portrait of an Indian Chief. If walls could talk what would they say. Stories from the days of the old steakhouse are still being shared across the dinner table.
There was a lot of work that had to be done before any livestock would graze this property. The land had been over grazed and neglected. Pastures needed to be grubbed to free them from overgrown mesquite trees, prickly pear cactus, and cedars, When allowed to spread unabated they absorb large amounts of the rainfall which they rob from the grasses and land. New fence was put up to separate sections that we would not hunt or graze to protect the ecosystem of those areas. For 10 years we were in a drought. It was not possible to grow grass, let alone raise cattle; and the tanks were drying up. In fact many ranchers sold off their herds because of the lack of water.
Then gratefully, we began to enjoy the rains that brought us out of the drought. Native grasses planted during the drought, as well as residual grasses began to green, and the tanks filled. It was almost two more years before we could add livestock. We planted a mixture of native grass seeds that would come back year after year. It took four years for the seeds to finally germinate. The native grasses are hardy and can survive the harsh west Texas conditions; and they are easier to maintain since they return on their own without costly planting every season. For hundreds of years the land, without man's intervention, provided the herds of American bison, deer, rabbits, quail, dove, wild turkey and other animals the ability to survive. We knew it was possible to leave areas of the property with cover for the wild life, and still raise cattle and eventually Beefalo. It would just take planning and patience. After introducing the livestock we saw first hand how the natural fertilization of the land, the working of the soil by their hoofs, and the nature of their grazing enhanced the way the grasses grew. Basically we had a living mower that kept the grasses at a level which allowed the rain and sunlight to keep the pastures thriving. Grass began to grow on the dams, and barren areas began to spout new life.
The NRCS (National Resource Conservation Service) walked the land with us and made suggestions that helped us use safe and effective practices to manage the property. It was important to us not to over stock the property. We focused on areas that needed special attention and planned future planting of legumes and clovers that would feed the soil and prevent erosion. In the fall of 2016 we processed our first beef. We were ready to move forward supplying families that want grass fed, grass finished beef and Beefalo.
All our cattle range free on the property and have an abundant supply of fresh water and native grasses. Our Beefalo are named and registered with the American Beefalo Association. We are not a large corporate-owned ranch. By Texas standards we are small. Our focus is quality not quantity; to raise healthy Beefalo that provide heart healthy red meat with quality fat, and less calories. The only red meat recognized by the American Heart Association and by Weight Watchers to count as 1 point along with cod and chicken. Take a look at Bikini below. Her hind quarter is larger than the American Bison and there is no hump. Beefalo have pores in their skin and dense hair which if found on the bison; making them more adaptable to changing climates. The Beefalo have the perfect combination of traits to be adaptable for the harsh west Texas summers and are hardy enough for the cold freezing temperatures of the northern plains. They usually calf unassisted and the birth weight of the calves are smaller, weighing in around 65 pounds.
In March of 2020 we made a big move. Since the late 70’s we had talked of building a log cabin. We found just the right property just a few miles away with even more grazing area and a hill top view of the Santa Anna mesas. It was a perfect spot for a log cabin. There are huge live oak trees with spectacular places to sit and enjoy the west Texas sunsets. The foundation is poured and we are waiting for the logs to be delivered.
Prickly Pear - makes great jelly and a simple syrup for tasty margaritas
Rock and his side kick checking out Bikini, one of our pregnant Beefalo,
due with a calf in the spring
The grand old tree makes the perfect shade from the hot Texas sun.
A feeder trail to the Great Western Cattle trail skirted the lands of the Comancheria as it past thru The Gap at Santa Anna. Arrowheads surface on the ground from time to time just to give the kids a history reminder that others have walked here before us.
If you are ever in Santa Anna stop in at the Visitor's Center for glance back in time when Comanche Chief Santanna ruled this land from the peaks of the Santa Anna mountain and the Indians communicated with smoke signals from peak to peak across the plains.
The meat we put on our table
is what we offer to those who desire the same
healthy, locally-raised grass fed Beefalo.