Texas Tech University

National Ranching Heritage Center to Host 54th Annual Ranch Day

Glenys Young

April 14, 2023

Ranch Day 2023

Visitors can enjoy horses, cowboys, ranch wildlife, a magic show and a chuck wagon.

Photo: The Texas Tech University Therapeutic Riding Center will offer horseback rides to children from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Photo by Adrian Hawkins)

Family members of all ages can enjoy a day at the ranch during the 54th Annual Ranch Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday (April 22) at the National Ranching Heritage Center (NRHC) on the Texas Tech University campus. 

Made possible by the Helen Jones Foundation Inc. and The CH Foundation, the annual event is a crowd-pleaser for both the young and young at heart as horses, cowboys, cattle, ranch wildlife, a magic show and a chuck wagon greet visitors. Admission is free with a suggested donation of $5 per family.

Steak Express, Chopped and Sliced food truck, tea from One Pour Pony, Kettle Korn, lemonade and water will be available to purchase by cash or card throughout the day.

“Hands-on activities and demonstrations will focus on ranch skills and the history and science of ranching,” said Julie Hodges, Helen DeVitt Jones Endowed Director of Education. “Children will have an opportunity to churn butter, participate in a stick-horse rodeo, see wildlife and ride a horse. They also can learn about beef science, entomology, anthropology, forensic science, ranch wildlife and much more.”

Visitors will have the opportunity to meet real cowboys and cowgirls from the Texas Tech Ranch Horse Team while they give horse-gentling demonstrations in the round pen throughout the day. Horse and cattle demonstrations with cowboys from the Four Sixes and Jones Ranch will happen at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in the grassy area behind the Matador Half-Dugout. Visitors can also see an old-time “Snake Oil” magic show by magician Barry Moffitt at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the 1909 Four Sixes Barn. 

Horseback rides will be provided by the Texas Tech Therapeutic Riding Center from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the Texas Tech Rodeo Team will provide a stick-horse rodeo for children while the Texas Farm Bureau will introduce children to tagging cattle. 

Cabela's Outpost will provide a safe shooting environment for children to shoot BB guns and practice archery at targets placed inside an inflatable range, and the Texas Master Naturalists will bring their native species mobile for visitors to interact and learn. The South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center will have live birds of prey for visitors to view while they learn about ranch wildlife from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Hodges said children can also become ranch hands and receive work cards to earn wages for a hard day's work. Ranch hands who complete six “work” activities can go to the 1880 Matador Office to collect their wages (reproduction of 1869 currency) and buy special items at the 1870s Waggoner Ranch Commissary.

More than 150 volunteers, Ranch Hosts, student organizations and ranch-related organizations come together every year to make Ranch Day happen.

About the NRHC

Supported by Texas Tech and the Ranching Heritage Association, the NRHC is a 27-acre museum and historical park that offers educational programs and exhibits about ranching history and contemporary ranching issues. The center is located at 3121 Fourth St. in Lubbock and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, and the historical park is wheelchair- and stroller accessible. For more information, visit ranchingheritage.org or call (806) 742-0498.