The Boot - Issue 2

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2021 | ISSUE 2

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The Finest Private Club Community in Texas

©2021 – Boot Ranch Holdings, LLC - All rights reserved. Property prices and availability are subject to change. Oral representations cannot be relied upon as correctly stating representations of the Developer. Obtain the Property Report required by Federal law and read it before signing anything. Not intended as an offer of or solicitation to buy real estate where prior qualification is required. The graphic materials and statements contained in this advertisement are proposed only, and the Developer reserves the right to modify, revise or withdraw any or all of same in its sole discretion and without prior notice. All improvements, designs and construction are subject to first obtaining the appropriate federal, state and local permits and approvals for same.

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Boot Ranch is a place where incredible legacy homes harmonize with the breathtaking beauty of the Texas Hill Country. A rare place where being close to nature brings you even closer together.

Family traditions are forged over time and place and there is no place we would rather spend time than at Boot Ranch. – Gwen Hanna, Member • (830) 997-6200 Homesites from the $400,000s Cabins and Homes from $1.5 to over $6 million

Call to plan your private tour Property purchase includes a multi-generational club membership.

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I N T E R I O R S 512.298.2588

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9 A PIONEER HOME REBORN Metzger House becomes a community gathering place






A Cajun classic with a Mexican twist


17 BOOT RANCH OLD FASHIONED Keep it simple, sipper

A PERFECT 10 How one of the most beautiful holes in Texas came to be



21 HOME ON THE RANGE Longhorns serve as the Boot Ranch welcoming committee

How a Hill Country peach stand became a global company

39 ICONS ON WHEELS Three Boot Ranch collectors show off their auto treasures

47 CLEARED FOR LANDING A beloved Boot Ranch home provides a runway for family

55 THE ART OF BOOT RANCH A glimpse of the prominent artwork on display at the Clubhouse Village

58 THE BIG EASEL Robert Pummill captures the Hill Country essence on canvas


62 A CONVERSATION WITH EMIL HALE Meet the general manager of Boot Ranch ISSUE 2

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The pond by Fischer & Wieser’s Das Peach Haus.

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elcome to the second issue of The Boot. The magazine was originally conceived as a way to give our select audience a taste of life at Boot Ranch and in the Hill Country. The first issue, published last summer, was a trial balloon. Would readers like it? They did—so much so, in fact, that many requested additional copies to share with their friends. Their enthusiastic response persuaded us to serve up more stories and photographs of Boot Ranch and the Hill Country. Here’s something else we learned over the past year: In troubled times, people seek sanctuaries, places where they and their families can feel more secure. At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, we expected sales of homes and homesites at Boot Ranch to decline. Who could think about buying real estate when their health and financial future appeared to be in jeopardy? But just the opposite happened. Sales accelerated to a record pace. At Boot Ranch, our newest members have found a welcoming haven where they can enjoy the best of life’s many pleasures with plenty of elbow room. In this second issue of The Boot, we offer a sampling of those pleasures. If you have an eye for art, you’ll enjoy seeing some of the works in the extensive Boot Ranch art collection and meeting Robert Pummill, the renowned Western and landscape painter whose photo graces our cover. For your taste buds, we serve up the story of a Fredericksburg peach stand that blossomed into a global specialty foods company. If you like cars (it’s almost un-American not to), you’ll be captivated by the rare autos in the collections of three Boot Ranch members. And for linksters and those who enjoy scenic views, we show and tell the history of the Boot Ranch golf hole that perennially ranks among the most beautiful in Texas. It almost didn’t get built. All that and more awaits you in this issue of The Boot. So go ahead and turn the page.


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Emil Hale General Manager Jack Kendall Chairman, Advisory Board of Governors Mark Enderle Terra Verde Group Dan Green Wheelock Street Capital Barbara Koenig Publisher John Koenig Editor For more information, contact

From the Publishers of



Erin Kubatzky

All photography by Marshall Tidrick unless credited otherwise.


Chantel Stull




Aaron Chamberlain ACCOUNT DIRECTOR

Marianne Dougherty James Frank Anne McCready Heinen John Koenig Roger Munford Hannah Phillips

Elda Arellano


Robert Pummill in his Kerrville Studio. Photo by Marshall Tidrick. Copyright© 2021 Texas Monthly LLC. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA. 6


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(830) 337-8931 • Fredericksburg, Texas •



Each one-of-a-kind home starts with the owner’s vision. A talented architect gives it form. And an experienced builder makes it tangible through the hands of skilled tradesmen and flawless attention to every detail. If you have a vision for your next Hill Country home, let’s talk soon.

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At one time a pioneer home, the Metzger House has been fully restored to become the Boot Ranch Metzger Market.



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A Pioneer Home Reborn

Boot Ranch residents love this historic home turned gathering place, but what makes the new market special comes down to every shingle and stone.


he developers of Boot Ranch faced a dilemma. Near the 9th hole on the golf course, and visible from the hilltop clubhouse, stood an old two-story house and small barn that had been uninhabited for decades. The stone-walled buildings were in danger of collapsing. Should the developers tear them down or shore them up? Bulldozing would have been the cheapest option by far. But these were not just any old structures. They were important reminders of Fredericksburg history. Built in the 1850s, they had first been occupied by some of the area’s early German settlers: Peter and Anna Metzger and their nine children. A tragic event was associated with them. While walking home from town on the snowy evening of February 8, 1865, two of the Metzger daughters were attacked by Native Americans. Eighteen-year-old Emma was killed. Fourteen-year-old Anna was captured and taken to a Native American camp in present-day Oklahoma. After escaping to a nearby trading post, she was brought back home in November. Given their history, tearing the buildings down

would have been a near-sacrilegious act. The developers decided to not only save the buildings, but to make them a community centerpiece. The old Metzger family home has become the Metzger Market, with a coffee bar, food mart, and gift shop. The barn has become a mail center that Boot Ranch residents visit nearly every day. Renovating and repurposing the buildings was not easy. Charged with the task were architect Don B. McDonald and builder Gabe Wilson of Centurion Homes. In the course of their work, they developed a greater appreciation for the design and craftsmanship evident in these early German-Hill Country homesteads—what might be labeled Fredericksburg vernacular architecture. “Most people like these old houses in the area without knowing why,” says McDonald. “On one level, it’s the materials they used, but it’s also the millwork and proportion of doors and windows.” He notes the way those early settlers oriented their homes to deal with the hot climate. “They turned their back on the sun in the west, with their front facing southeast to capture breezes in the open windows while keeping out the cold north wind,” he says. Today, market visitors can still enjoy these breezes on the reconstructed front porch, where McDonald intentionally left the wood unfinished in an effort to interpret, rather than directly reproduce,

the house as it had been. Sipping wine or coffee in a rocking chair while the setting sun casts a violet crown on the nearby hills, one can imagine Peter Metzger surveying the same view after a long day of farm work. McDonald spaced the six porch columns to correspond with the home’s carefully considered proportions. He preserved the size, scale, and location of the original doors and windows. His goal was to match the existing structure, reusing the locally harvested stone and wood where possible, and replicating when it was not. Wilson recalls the delicate process of preserving as much as possible during the initial disassembly work. “Because of the age of the building, we had to be sensitive to peeling back layers of an onion . . . inspecting each layer to make sure we were going down the right path,” he says. “The German construction overall shows that they didn’t cut corners. With lesser materials or shortcuts in the design, the building would not have lasted as long as it did.” The only original materials that had to be replaced were roof timbers, floor trusses, and some corroded mortar. Wilson and McDonald point to the market’s interior staircase as one of the best examples of German craftsmanship. Using a mortise and tenon joint technique, the original builders secured


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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Reconstructed front porch at the Metzger Market, the mortise and tenon joint technique on the staircase, the view from the storage area at the top of the staircase.



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the staircase boards together like bones into sockets, without using nails. Wilson worked to preserve the staircase’s integrity while ensuring it would remain safe for daily access to the storage area on the second floor. He replaced a few treads with an oak hardwood, matching them with the same patina but otherwise left the structure untouched. When repurposing the buildings required new materials, the duo strove to find materials conducive with those of the original structures. For example, Wilson used fieldstone native to the area to match the old barn’s weathered stone when he converted it to the mail center. All of that hard work has not gone unappreciated by Boot Ranch members and employees. One long-time employee, Larry Meier, has family members who recall shearing sheep in the old barn that now houses the mail center. And it has served to preserve the memory of how difficult and dangerous life was for Fredericksburg’s original settlers. Recently, a Texas Historical Commission marker was erected beside the market. The plaque recounts what happened to the Metzger girls on that fateful day in February 1865. Anna and Emma will not be forgotten. The Metzger homestead shortly before renovation began in 2019.



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InSight Gallery represents a select group of the finest painters and sculptors living and working today in landscape, still life, figurative, impressionistic, sporting, wildlife, and Western art. 214 W. Main St  Fredericksburg, TX  830.997.9920 




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Plated Boot Ranch Blackened Redfish; Chef Casey dices shallots, adds the redfish fillets to the skillet, and tops with olive oil.



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Boot Ranch Blackened Redfish

INGREDIENTS (SERVES 4) 4 fresh Texas redfish fillets (6 oz. each) Blackening seasoning (Paul Prudhomme or your favorite) 8 heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved 4 ears fire-roasted corn 2 shallots, diced ¾ cup diced andouille sausage 4 handfuls fresh spinach 1 Tbsp chopped garlic 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme 2 Tbsp olive oil 1 Tbsp grapeseed or vegetable oil 1 stick butter Coarse kosher salt Cracked pepper Pico de Gallo: 8 Roma tomatoes, diced ½ red onion, diced ½ jalapeño pepper, diced 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro 1 tsp sugar 1 tsp kosher salt Juice of 2 limes

Remember that old cowboy song, “Don’t Fence Me In”? That’s the attitude Boot Ranch executive chef Casey McQueen brings to cooking. He doesn’t like to get fenced in by any one cuisine. His blackened redfish is a case in point. Yes, it’s a Cajun classic. But McQueen gives it a Mexican twist by topping it with pico de gallo. The result is one of the most popular dishes on the Boot Ranch menu. Here’s how you can make it at home.

1. Add the Roma tomatoes, diced onion, and jalapeño to a small mixing bowl. Introduce the lime juice, salt, sugar, and cilantro. Mix thoroughly and set aside. 2. Using a medium-sized pan, sauté diced andouille in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until sausage begins to color. Add shallots and garlic. Stir for 2 minutes. Add fresh corn, halved cherry tomatoes, and fresh thyme to pan. When the tomatoes begin to blister, add spinach and a pat of butter. Fold ingredients together and season to taste. 3. Meanwhile, lightly salt the redfish fillets and liberally apply blackening seasoning. In a heavy skillet over medium high heat, bring remaining olive oil and grapeseed or vegetable oil to a light smoke and introduce the fillets. Cook for 2 minutes. Add a pat of butter, flip fish, and cook another 2 minutes. 4. Spoon andouille sauté evenly onto four plates. Top each with blackened fillet and finish with your fresh pico de gallo.

Casey McQueen Executive Chef, Boot Ranch


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Bartender Morgan McBee prepares a simply perfect cocktail.



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Boot Ranch Old Fashioned

2 oz. Milam & Greene Triple Cask Bourbon ¼–½ oz. simple syrup (depending on sweetness preference) 2–3 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters

Boot Ranch mixologist Ben Frazier’s personal preference is simple, straightforward cocktails, unencumbered by a barrage of flavors. You can’t get much simpler than his Old Fashioned. It has just three ingredients: bourbon, bitters, and simple syrup, which is nothing more than granulated sugar dissolved in an equal measure of heated water, then cooled. For the bourbon, Ben chose Milam & Greene, which is produced by a Blanco distillery led by two women, founder Marsha Milam and CEO Heather Greene. It’s not as overbearing as some other bourbons and doesn’t burn the tongue as much, he says. He uses Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters because he likes its hint of cinnamon. At Boot Ranch, the cocktail is served over a large, crystal-clear ice cube emblazoned with the club’s boot logo. You may have to settle for an ordinary, cloudy, and unadorned cube if you make the drink at home. But don’t worry; Ben says it will taste almost as good.

1. Pour the ingredients into an empty shaker. Fill with ice and stir with a bar spoon 10 to 15 times. 2. Strain and pour over a large ice cube in a lowball glass. Garnish with an orange peel. Lemon zest the outside of the glass rim. Enjoy.

Ben Frazier Mixologist, Boot Ranch


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317 GRACE LN, AUSTIN, TX 78746

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La Taurus, aka “George”



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Home on the Range

The Boot Ranch welcoming committee has an impressive Texas pedigree, but they may not be what you’re expecting.


s cattle go, Texas longhorns rank pretty near the useless end of the spectrum. Other breeds are far better beef producers. And while their cows’ milk is said to be sweet, longhorns are ignored by the dairy industry. Imagine trying to maneuver those horns into a milking stall. About all longhorns are good for these days is looking at. But oh, how we Texans adore them. We can’t pass longhorns by without pausing to gaze upon them, which is why Boot Ranch has kept a few around ever since the private club community opened in 2005. Three now occupy a field by the entrance to Boot Ranch. One, a 2000-pound steer, arrived a half dozen years ago, brought by members Roger and Rene Cameron when they put their ranch up for sale and moved to the community. They wanted him to live out his days in luxury. “Mine was the winning bid at a hospital gala,” Roger says in explaining how they came to own the steer. They named him La Taurus, but most people at Boot Ranch call him George. The steer was joined by a heifer named Tascosa in 2017, purchased by Boot Ranch after another longhorn on

the property died of old age. Tascosa was pregnant when she arrived and, in 2018, she delivered a female calf that the community named Pilón. The name Tascosa might be familiar to some Texans as a former county seat in the 1880s. Home to outlaws like Billy the Kid and lawmen like Pat Garrett and Bat Masterson, Tascosa became known as the “cowboy capital of the Panhandle” and was the site of one of the bloodiest shootouts in the Old West. Longhorns are just as much a part of Texas history as cowboys and gunslingers, which may be another reason why we cherish them. Brought to the New World by Christopher Columbus and Spanish colonists in 1493, they were moved north from Mexico two centuries later and roamed wild for another two centuries. With their characteristic horns that extend up to seven feet (useful for defending against predators), Texas longhorns are the result of cross-breeding between Mexican cattle ( from the borderland between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande) and cattle from East Texas, which was then part of Mexico. Once prized as livestock that could survive on poor vegetation, the rangy longhorns fell out of favor when ranchers became more interested in breeds that could be fattened up and marketed for beef. The cattle might have become extinct if not for the U.S. Forest Service, which in 1927 took a small herd to breed on the Wichita Mountains

Wildlife Refuge in Lawton, Oklahoma. When the University of Texas (UT) adopted a longhorn steer as its mascot in 1916, the breed’s place in Texas history was assured. Athletes at UT had already been calling themselves Longhorns, so it made sense to have a mascot. Stephen Pinckney, class of 1911, raised funds to purchase a maverick steer that was introduced to cheering fans during halftime at the Texas vs. A&M football game. The steer reportedly charged the camera after posing for an official portrait. Ben Dyer, editor of the alumni magazine, named him Bevo for reasons that are unclear, though there has been some speculation that the name was a play on the word “beeve” (plural for beef, as well as slang for a cow or steer that would end up as food on somebody’s table). Since then there have been dozens of Bevos. He even has his own fan club. “The longhorn is a tough breed like a lot of us Texans,” says Deven Baughn, director of agronomy at Boot Ranch. “People are finding new ways to show them off. Everyone wants to have a Longhorn. You’re seeing them on hobby farms or in parades in small towns all across Texas.” But there’s only one place where the longhorns named Tascosa, Pilón, and La Taurus are waiting to greet you, and that’s at the entrance of Boot Ranch. — MARIANNE DOUGHERTY


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Explore our photo gallery of completed homes at

WE’VE BUILT THE TEAM TO BUILD YOUR HOME Mabery Contracting has grown to a 20+ person company so that we retain total control over the scheduling, price and quality of your new Boot Ranch home. Founder Matthew Mabery is the point man for every client. Mabery employees perform the framing and finish carpentry to ensure the home’s strength and beauty. And, our CoConstruct technology tool brings our team together with the architect, interior designer, sub-contractors, suppliers and owner so that you are informed and engaged from the eager beginning to delighted end. Even if you’re building your Hill Country home from afar.

BECOME OUR NEXT VALUED CLIENT. If you want to work with the team that has 37 Boot Ranch homes to its credit, including the 2017 Texas Monthly Show Home, call Matthew Mabery at (830) 990-0501 today.


The 10th hole at Boot Ranch.

Photo by Brian Walters



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How one of “the most beautiful holes in Texas” came to be.


here was water. He couldn’t see it—the cedars were too thick—but he knew it was there because he could hear it flowing. And the farther they walked, the louder it got. It had been about twenty minutes since they’d jumped the fence. It was impossible to walk a straight line through the tangle of trees, but he was determined to find the source of the sound. They’d entered a deep ravine and found a creek with a little cascade, but that wasn’t it. “I hear real water,” he said. They pushed on. And there it was. A waterfall, 25 feet tall, splashing into a pond. A stunning sight, it stopped them in their tracks. Hal Sutton wanted that land. He knew it would be perfect for a golf hole.


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The 10th hole from behind the tee box.

rudimentary layout, getting a feel for how it would play, while also noting trees and other features they wanted to keep. On April 12, 2004, Sutton and Lipe were walking the staked course with two engineers and Sutton’s friend and agent, Gilbert Little. Each remembers that day a little differently, but the important facts align: Everybody was happy until they reached the 9th hole. “I’ll never forget the day,” says Little. “Hal loved every hole but the 9th. It played back to the clubhouse through an open pasture. There was no character to it.” “I didn’t like how 9 came up to the clubhouse,” says Sutton. “It was wide open, flat, no trees. It didn’t fit the other eight holes. I thought, ‘there has to be another way to do this.’ ” As they were eating sandwiches, Sutton looked east, toward a fence that marked the end of the property he’d already acquired for the development. Lipe: “Hal said, ‘Do you think we could get a couple of holes over there?’” Sutton: “I looked across the fence and said, ‘We don’t own that land, but nothing says that we can’t.’” Little: “After lunch, we hopped the fence and Lipe and Hal created that hole (#10) right there on the topo map.” The land on the other side of the fence was split between two owners. Before the end of the month, Boot Ranch LLC purchased some 107 acres from one owner; by early July,

Photos by Brian Walters

Nearly twenty years later, the hole that now occupies that spot—number 10 at Boot Ranch—is no less stunning. But a lot had to happen following that day in April 2004 for Sutton to create not only the most memorable hole on the course, but the one the Dallas Morning News ranks among “the most beautiful 18 in Texas.” Along with the titles he accumulated in more than thirty years as an amateur and professional golfer—Collegiate All American, PGA Champion, Player of the Year, Ryder Cup player and captain—Sutton amassed knowledge that served him well as a future course designer and real estate developer. “One of my closest friends, Jackie Burke, told me a long time ago that while you’re playing the tour and out on the road all the time, you need to pay attention to what everybody else has done. See why things have succeeded and failed, make a mental note of that. Someday you’ll be able to use that to your benefit somewhere.” Sutton put those years of education to good use at Boot Ranch. Having played countless golf courses, he understood how important location was to their success. So when presented with the opportunity to build his own, he thought like a golfer instead of a developer and picked the land for the golf course first. He also picked Jim Lipe to help with the design. For nearly three decades, Lipe has been a senior design associate and consultant to Jack Nicklaus, working on courses around the world. He’d helped Sutton a few years earlier on a renovation project in Shreveport, Louisiana, which is both Hal’s birthplace and Lipe’s adopted hometown. Among Lipe’s tasks at Boot Ranch was the course routing—deciding where the holes would go and their general shape and length. He would draw routings and show them to Sutton, who would ask questions, make changes, and offer suggestions. According to Lipe, they went through many initial routings, including one with 36 holes. When they finally had a routing they both liked, the centerline of each hole was staked and 20- to 30-foot-wide clearings cut. These would allow the designers to walk the


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The landing area at hole 10 for more cautious hitters.


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ABOVE AND RIGHT: Gilbert Little’s snapshots from the day Hal Sutton found the waterfall. BELOW: The waterfall as it appears to golfers today.



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another 21 acres was secured from the other. Known as the Palo Alto Valley, it included the headwaters of Palo Alto Creek, which converged at the 25-foot waterfall. Even before buying the additional acreage, Sutton had a good idea how he would use it. “I knew it was going to be 10,” says Sutton. “I knew where 11 tee was going to be and where we had to get 9 in there, too. It was almost like it was in there the whole time.” “When we first looked at the property across the water, we knew it would make an incredible green site [ for 10],” recalls Little, “which then opened up 11 to be an incredible par five. And they drew a new number 9 right there in the field.”

“I knew it was going to be 10,” says Sutton. “I knew where 11 tee was going to be and where we had to get 9 in there, too. It was almost like it was in there the whole time.”

Top photos courtesty of Gilbert Little. Bottom photo by Brian Walters.

Anyone who has played the 10th hole remembers it. A short par four, the water and a ravine split it down the middle. Most of the fairway is on the left; the green is to the right of the pond and nearly abutting the falls. Just as memorable as number 10’s design are the options the golfer has for playing it. Sutton and Lipe wanted to tempt big hitters to challenge the water, daring them to try driving the green from about 350 yards away. To entice them even more, a large area of tightly mown turf fronts the putting surface; wider and easier to find than the green, landing there still demands control of distance and direction off the tee, followed by considerable short-game prowess to get up and down for birdie. And golfers who play it safe—keeping their tee shot on the left fairway—still face a challenge on the short approach. “My whole goal at Boot Ranch is to show that distance is not necessarily what makes

golf hard,” explains Sutton. “There are some very difficult wedge shots out there, and 10 is one of them, from a downhill lie to a green facing you over a deep ravine, with a lot of slope and not very deep front to back. You have to be very precise on the wedge. It doesn’t have to be a long hole to cause you to be concerned.” As Little noted, buying the land for number 10 created a domino effect, providing an ideal spot for the 11th tee and a new location for a newly designed 9th hole. (The old 9th was retained, giving golfers who only want to play nine holes a route back up the hill to the clubhouse; after the drought of 2011, what the club calls 9A was converted from a parfour to a par-three.) Those parts of the new addition that didn’t go to the course became the club’s one-acre putting green, a multisport field, and a number of homesites. In 2017, when Sutton renovated the course, “some of the most drastic changes” were made to 10. He enlarged access to the green by removing a few trees and some bunkering, and added a forward tee, at less than 300 yards, to seduce more golfers into trying to hit it across the water. “Those changes make it fun,” says Little. “I’ll go up to the front tee box and play ‘Tin Cup.’ It’s a lot of fun when you get one onto the landing area and watch it work its way onto the green.” Speaking of golf movies, number 10 had a featured role in the 2011 film Seven Days in Utopia. It stood in for the 18th hole of Utopia Golf Course, where Robert Duvall went to bury the bad thoughts that had haunted his life. “It’s one of the greatest scenes in that movie,” comments Sutton. “It has great meaning whether you’re a golfer or not. When I read the book, I said ‘Yes, we have to film that movie here.’” So the starring role went to a hole that wasn’t even in the original plans. It exists today because Hal Sutton wasn’t satisfied. “Hal never settled for anything mediocre,” says Little, who worked with him for 15 years. “No matter what we did, he always stressed one thing: If you reach for excellence, success will follow.”


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ABOVE: Case Fischer and Mark Wieser in front of their old delivery truck.



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How a Hill Country peach stand became a global company.


preading happiness as smoothly as jam on toast, Fischer & Wieser is a company that embodies all the warmth and authenticity of its Hill Country home base—thanks to the partnership of founder and chairman Mark Wieser and CEO and president Case Fischer. From its simple beginnings as a peach stand, Fischer & Wieser has blossomed into a ninetyemployee, specialty foods company whose products are sold nationwide and around the world. The foundation of their success has been Wieser and Fischer’s bond and business connection that began when they met as teacher and student more than four decades ago. A history teacher and tennis coach at Fredericksburg High School, Wieser often hired students for seasonal work at the family orchard. Fischer was a freshman when the two met, and his first job was thrashing berries off agarita bushes for jelly. He soon got the idea to join his teacher in business.


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“When Case became a [high school] senior, he came into my office and said, ‘You know, I think we could do something with these jams and jellies,’” Mark says. “I said, ‘Okay, you’re going to go to college first. We’ll talk in four years.’ But he was home every summer, and a lot of weekends, and we became very close. I really enjoyed working with him. I thought, ‘Wow, if he really wants to do this, I’m all for it.’ And so, sure enough, we formed a partnership.” Setting his professional course early seemed natural to Fischer. “I’m kind of an entrepreneur at heart,” he recalls. “And you’d see people coming back year after year to buy cases of peach preserves to take back to Dallas or Houston. They were happy when they came, and they left with a smile on their faces. And what drives Fischer & Wieser is bringing people happiness through our culinary products.” Mark adds, “For a young man to have that [business] interest that early was remarkable.”

FIRST FRUIT When Wieser insisted Fischer go to college, he was passing on the wisdom of his father, J. B. Wieser. J. B. required that Mark graduate college before taking over the family orchard. He died in 1960 when Mark was a sophomore at Texas A&M, but Mark earned

Fischer & Wieser Old Fashioned Peach Preserves.

Case Fischer making apple butter.

a history degree while taking plenty of horticulture classes as well. A lawyer born in Germany, J. B. was a community leader who first contemplated fruit trees for the Hill Country after cotton took a nosedive following the first world war. He bought 60 acres just outside of Fredericksburg in 1928 and planted 600 peach trees. Over the decades, J.B. and the family tended the orchard and sold peaches and jams to passersby, while he continued his law practice. “When I was hitting junior high (in the 1950s), I got up in the mornings, put on a long sleeve shirt, and followed my mother walking into the orchard, wading through all the stickers and the needle grass and fighting to grab peaches,” Wieser says. “We’d haul them back up to the house and by suppertime, we’d have all the peaches sold.”

JAM SESSION In the mid 1950s, Wieser painted and hung a sign by the farm’s entrance. “I built a Tahiti-type hut out front and discovered that the peaches sold even faster,” he says. “I’d make $85 and give all the money to my mother. Making $85 back in the fifties was like $850 now, so I said, ‘I want to do this for a living.’” In 1967, he bought an old wooden building in Fredericksburg for $150. “My mother said, ‘You just threw away $150,’” Mark recalls with a laugh. But the simple building, relocated and rehabbed, opened as Das Peach Haus in



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TOP: Das Peach Haus where Fischer & Wieser still sell products to customers. BOTTOM: Old Fischer & Wieser sign found in the tool shed near the peach grove.


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TOP: Mark Wieser's mother Estella in front of Das Peach Haus decades ago. BOTTOM: Mark Wieser in front of the same building today.



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1969 on the orchard acreage, and marked the beginning of a new era. The rough-hewn structure today houses the company’s store as well as its cooking school. The surrounding grounds invite visitors with a shady deck, picnic tables, vintage farm equipment, and rustic buildings. A charming pond is ringed with tall pine trees and lots of Adirondack chairs against a backdrop of 2,000 baby and mature peach trees. “It was always my goal to create a really special market,” Mark says. “I didn’t know what it was going to look like, but I knew it had to be different.” Fischer graduated from Texas A&M in 1987 while the company expanded in new directions, opening a showroom at the Dallas World Trade Center’s Gourmet Food Market and participating in the Taste of Texas program. “Instead of marketing cattle, [Agriculture Secretary Jim Hightower] focused on small businesses,” Wieser says. “That was the beginning of the gourmet industry opening up in Texas.” The program led to their Jalapeno Pepper Jelly being featured at a Paris food show. “People were saying, ‘What do you do with this? Are you crazy?’” Fischer says. Fischer and Wieser’s natural business synergy fueled the company’s growth. “Mark and I have always enjoyed working with each other,” Fischer says. “He’s like a second father to me. What I don’t have, he has, and what he doesn’t have, I have. We’ve really had the ideal partnership and were able to make this a success in a way that wouldn’t have been possible as a sole proprietorship.” Into the early 1990s, Fischer & Wieser made products during the week, and on weekends they sold directly to customers at festivals and shows across the country, from New York to San Francisco. Wieser would head in one direction and Fischer and his wife, Deanna, in another, with the underlying goal of establishing relationships with local shops. “The mom and pop shops were the ones who carried gourmet products,” Wieser explains. “Grocery stores wouldn’t look at them.”

GETTING SAUCY Fischer & Wieser’s growth was steady until a gigantic injection of Smoked Raspberry

Chipotle Sauce propelled them into the specialty food stratosphere. It began in the mid-1990s, when the Fischer & Wieser team decided to create a bottled sauce from a recipe beloved by customers. “The 1015 Onion Glaze was almost the same thing [as our 1015 Onion Jelly], but in a sauce bottle, so it was obvious that it wasn’t a jam,” Fischer says. “We had recipes for using it on pork tenderloin and ham, focused on protein. But we were like, ‘Gosh, we can’t have just one sauce.’” As part of its two-dozen strong assortment at the time, Fischer & Wieser offered a raspberry jam made from Pacific Northwest raspberries. “Not everything grows well in Texas,” Wieser says. “We took the view that we’d go to where a particular fruit grows best and have it shipped to us in Texas.” Meanwhile, people really liked the flavors like jalapeno jelly that hit both sweet and savory notes. “Instead of buying one jar, they’d buy two or three,” Fischer says. Fischer began experimenting, adding vinegar and poblano or serrano peppers to raspberries. He’d send iterations to foodie friends from the Dallas Market Center for feedback. “I was on my fourth or fifth try, when [restaurateur] Rusty Fenton said, ‘What about trying a chipotle pepper?’ I go, ‘What’s a chipotle pepper?’ Remember, this is 1995.” Fischer found a New Mexico supplier. “The


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Fischer & Wieser Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce, winner of the 1997 Fancy Food Show.


chipotle has that smoky flavor that the other peppers just don’t have. I sent my recipe to my friends and they all were like, ‘This is amazing.’” One of them, Scott Silverman of Rice Epicurean Markets in Houston, left a voicemail. Fischer recalls, “He said, ‘I want fifteen cases of this roasted raspberry chipotle sauce you sent me.’ “I called him back and said, ‘Scott, I don’t even have a label yet.’ “‘Well, I want my order as soon as possible.’ “‘Scott, you’ve never ordered fifteen cases of anything from us at one time.’ “‘Oh, I didn’t say fifteen,’” Scott replied. “‘I said fifty.’” Fischer adds, “That was the beginning.” The sauce won the Outstanding New Bestseller Award at the 1997 Fancy Food Show, the first of eleven Specialty Food Association SOFI awards that Fischer & Wieser has won. “It was our new bestseller and still is,” Fischer says, with restaurants ordering it by the gallons, Costco selling it in big bottles, and customers buying it by the case. “It flipped things around to where people started calling us rather than us calling them.” Meanwhile, grocery stores began carrying gourmet foods. Fischer & Wieser pivoted and created products for small retailers so the company could serve both markets without big stores undercutting the little guys. “We’ve been able to keep both of those worlds alive,” Fischer says. The company also expanded manufacturing, hired a food scientist to help develop new products, and delved into private label and contract product development and production, where it works closely with a partner company to develop a culinary item that the other company wants to offer under its own label. In 2001, Fischer & Wieser acquired the Austin-based brand Mom’s Pasta Sauce. It has since made another couple of acquisitions.

Today, private label sales account for thirty percent of revenues. Another thirty percent comes from sales to grocers, specialty stores, and club retailers, with the remainder divided evenly between sales to restaurants and directly to consumers, either online or at the Fredericksburg stores under the company’s own brands: Fischer & Wieser, Mom’s, Dr. Foo’s Kitchen, Four Star Provisions, and Stick & Tine.

A PEACHY FUTURE More changes are in the works. It will soon open Dietz Distillery at the company’s orchard headquarters to produce and sell peach schnapps and brandy. “Out on the property here, we grow the peaches, and you can visit our original store,” Fischer says. “We’ve always wanted people to be able to see our manufacturing, too. Eventually we’ll have a facility out here where people can tour and see the product being made right here on the farm, under one roof.” Manufacturing currently happens in Fredericksburg at facilities that aren’t conducive for tours. The duo frequently receives inquiries from other companies interested in acquiring Fischer & Wieser, but they plan to keep the firm in the family and Fredericksburg. “We’re looking to grow this as a legacy brand, so that our kids can keep it going,” Fischer says. “I can see retirement if we weren’t having fun,” he adds. “But we still get up every day excited about coming to work.”


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2/5/21 12:47 PM

LEFT TO RIGHT: Bill Gilliland, Bob Hefner, and Gary Ford with their iconic cars.



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ICONS ON WHEELS The routes these four-wheeled trophies took to arrive at Boot Ranch.


ost cars on the road today will have a lifespan of fifteen to twenty years. After that, the cost of keeping them running will likely exceed the value anyone places on them. Cars built decades ago had even shorter lives, their parts wearing out far quicker. Has anyone seen a Ford Pinto or Chevy Vega on the road lately? But then there are the forever cars, automobiles so revered for their beauty, performance, and place in history that they almost never end up in a scrapyard. They are icons on wheels, symbols of the best in automotive design and engineering. Three Boot Ranch members—Gary Ford, Bill Gilliland, and Bob Hefner—are collectors of such vehicles. In the pages ahead, we learn about some of the treasures in their garages.


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FORD V FORD Gary Ford started off collecting vintage British cars. His first was a 1959 MGA bought in Oklahoma City in the mid-1980s. Later, he added an MGB roadster and coupe to his collection. He not only liked the appearance of the British sports cars of the ’50s and ’60s, he also enjoyed working on them. “In the winter, some people would go skiing,” he says. “I’d drive to Michigan to attend a twoweek program put on by a British mechanic.” But then a decade ago, he fell in love with a far different kind of car. At the time, he and his wife Susan were living in Indonesia, where he worked as an oil company executive. In his idle hours, he’d surf the internet searching for rare autos that he might like to buy. “He was looking at car porn,” Susan says, laughing. His wish list included an exotic British sports car, an Ariel Atom. He found one for sale on the website of an automobile dealer in Arkansas. But after looking at it online, Gary’s attention was drawn away by another of the dealer’s cars: a 2006 Ford GT—a street-legal descendant of the GT40 that the auto company developed in the mid-1960s to compete in the 24-hour race at Le Mans, the car later showcased in the movie Ford v Ferrari. “I thought, ‘Holy cow, look at that,’” he recalls. Even its orange and light blue paint scheme resembled that of the GT40s that won Le Mans in ’68 and ’69. “It’s an iconic car,” says Gary, who’s unrelated to the Ford Motor Company family. “The ’06 is traditional, the body style everyone

Rear vents on the Ford GT.


The 2006 Ford GT is a descendant of the GT40 of the mid-1960s.

thinks of when they think of a GT40 and the Le Mans racing heritage Ford developed in the ’60s.” He was so smitten that he bought the car long distance, without first seeing it in person. That encounter wouldn’t happen until months later, when he returned to the States for a brief visit. His first time behind the wheel, he took the car out onto a rain-slickened race track, with a professional driver in the passenger seat to coach him. The powerful, lightning-fast car scared him at first. But he loved driving it nonetheless. Now retired and living at Boot Ranch, Gary maintains a workshop in Fredericksburg, where he keeps and works on the cars in his collection. Those include his first MGA; a 2013 Caterham 7, a lightweight and quick British two-seater previously owned by Simon Cowell of American Idol and America’s Got Talent fame; and a 2012 Porsche Cayman R that Gary bought primarily to hone his driving skills. His latest addition is a 2019 Ford GT, whose styling and engineering are more space-age than that of the 2006 GT. Ford returned to Le Mans in 2016 and won its class with the redesigned car. The 2006 model remains his favorite, though. He and Susan drive it often to gatherings of Ford GT owners at race tracks around the country. “It was my first supercar. It’s become part of the family,” Gary says. He might eventually sell the other cars in his collection. But not the GTs. Those will go to the Fords’ two sons, he says. “I have two heritage cars that I can pass on to them.”


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The orange and light blue paint scheme resembles that of the GT40s that won LeMans in ’68 and ’69.


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TOP: Bill Gilliland in his 1930 Dual-Cowl Packard Phaeton. BOTTOM: The steering wheel (without power steering) of the Packard Phaeton.



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The engine of the 1930 Dual-Cowl Packard Phaeton.

THE ROMANCE OF THE ROAD Bill Gilliland bought his first vintage car half a century ago. It was a black 1936 Ford sedan. “Gosh, I never should have sold it,” he says. But he’s also bought and sold about 50 other rare cars since then. Among them: a ’32 Chevy roadster, a ’41 Cadillac limousine, an early ‘50s Hudson Hornet, and a ’62 Lincoln convertible. Bill knows a lot about buying and selling cars, which was both his hobby and his business. Starting with a Chevrolet dealership in Amarillo, he went on to form a company that acquired a dozen more car dealerships there and in Denver, Las Vegas, and Oklahoma City. His dealership group was the first to go public, selling stock on the New York Stock Exchange. He later sold it to another publicly owned company, the one that became AutoNation. Now retired and in his early 80s, Bill is down to just two vintage cars in the garage of his Boot Ranch home. One is a 1952 MG TD he bought in 1970. His wife, Sandra, immediately laid claim to the sporty red two-seater, ferrying their children around Amarillo in it. The other is a butter-colored luxury model he pursued for decades before finally finding exactly what he wanted three years ago in Portland, Oregon: a 1930 Dual-Cowl Packard Phaeton. A long four-door, with a collapsible canvas top, its rear passenger compartment is separated from the driver’s compartment

by a bulkhead with its own folding windscreen. Picture golden-era Hollywood starlets like Greta Garbo arriving at movie premieres in such an automobile. Bill knows the car’s entire life story, that the original owners were a family in Boston who kept it for 25 years before selling it to a Chevrolet dealer in Portland. The dealer had three friends drive it cross-country to him. “The old car ran just fine,” Bill says. When Bill began looking for a Packard Phaeton, he was interested only in a 1930 model. Why that year? “Because it was the depths of the Great Depression,” he explains. “All the other manufacturers had pulled back, except for the Packard brothers. They kept making the luxury car and they went right on making it through the Depression. It probably wasn’t the smartest business decision. It was more of a romantic decision.” The romance of the decision is what made Bill first fall in love with the vehicle. He adores the car he bought all the more because it’s not in perfect condition. “I don’t like museum pieces,” he says. “This car, it doesn’t have any dents, but it’s got a few scuff marks on it. And that’s what I like, because I drive it.” Warm sunny evenings often find Bill motoring around Boot Ranch’s hilly, 4.25-milelong loop road with the top down, Sandra at his side, and friends, kids, grandkids, or great-grandkids in the back— all with broad smiles on their faces. Those drives make it clear why the Packard Phaeton continues to be Gilliland’s favorite among all of the rare cars he’s ever owned. The Packard Phaeton Flying Goddess of Speed hood ornament.


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MOTOR HEAD At Bob Hefner’s Boot Ranch home are two garages. One is for the cars Bob and his wife, Laura, drive every day. The second houses his vintage vehicles. Parked in the latter at present are a 1932 Ford hot rod, a ’54 MG Midget roadster, a ’58 Jaguar XK150 coupe, and a ’66 Austin Healey 3000 roadster. The garage also holds tools and equipment, such as lifts, that Bob uses to work on the cars. And work on them he does. “I’ve been a motor guy all my life,” he says, starting with the go-kart he drove and tinkered with as a boy growing up in Dallas in the 1950s. “I love to turn wrenches on cars and just play with the motors.” That was a pleasure he had to forgo for many years, constrained by the demands of raising a family and running a business investing in and developing real estate. But then, about five years ago he began carving out more time for leisure pursuits and bought the first car for his collection, the MG Midget. “That car is a joy to own,” he says. “It’s 100 percent restored.” Well almost. “It does need a little bit of mechanical work at the moment,” he confesses with a laugh. But the mechanic in him finds joy in that, too. Next came the Jaguar and Austin Healey, bought on the same day from a St. Louis dealer selling a California car buff ’s collection. Both have red leather interiors, a feature he finds particularly attractive. At first, Bob kept the cars in a warehouse in Fredericksburg. But wanting to have them closer, he added the second garage to his home. Ford won LeMans but so did Jaguar, as evidenced by the dates on the trunk emblem.


The beautiful curved lines of the 1958 Jaguar XK150 coupe are what originally attracted Bob Hefner.

For a time, Bob also owned a 1948 Chevrolet pickup truck. But he sold it recently and plans to put the Ford hot rod on the market, too. He wants to focus on British sports cars from now on. “Growing up when I did in the ‘50s and ‘60s, these were rare cars—the Jags, the Healeys, and the MGs,” he says. “When you saw one, that was really unique and it got your attention. In that era, the British were the only ones making true sports cars. We just didn’t have any U.S. sports cars other than the Corvette and the Thunderbird, and they aren’t of the same quality or interest level.” If he could keep only one of his vintage cars, which would it be? “I’d keep the Jag,” Bob answers. “I enjoy driving the Healey more than the Jag, just because the top’s down most of the time. But the Jaguar is an absolutely stunning piece of art. What makes it so beautiful is the lines of the car.” Bob has no intention, though, of limiting himself to just one car. “My next car—the one I’m making room for—is the roadster version of the Jag. I look forward to having that opportunity at some point. It’s hard to find the right one, but we’ll get there.” In the meantime, he’s also looking for an MGA, another automobile he admires for its beauty and graceful lines. That and for the fact that it’s a car for which replacement parts are relatively easy to find. After all, Bob doesn’t want to just drive and look at his vintage cars, he wants to turn a wrench on them, too.


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TOP: Bob Hefner in front of his 1958 Jaguar XK150 coupe. BOTTOM: Bob has a penchant for red leather interiors. ISSUE 2

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Don and Cathy Carruth at their new Boot Ranch home.



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After years of flying high, Don and Cathy Carruth are now happily grounded in their Boot Ranch bluff-top home.


hen Don and Cathy Carruth decided to build a home at Boot Ranch, they had specific goals in mind: to leave behind the days of two domiciles—a homestead in Midland, and a second home in Fredericksburg— and in the process, create a refuge for themselves that would be a welcoming home-away-fromhome for their four daughters and their families. On each point, the Carruths have succeeded. “Every morning we pinch ourselves,” Cathy says, basking in the gratitude and enjoyment she and Don experience in the home that they moved into in December 2019.

Top & bottom photos by Andrea Calo ISSUE 2

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The gorgeous, four-bedroom, 5,300square-foot home, built from cream and gray Sisterdale limestone and perfectly positioned on a Boot Ranch bluff overlooking the golf course, was designed by architect Chad Faucheux of Design Visions, with interior design and decor guided by Donna Figg Design. The Hill Country-style structure is elegant and sophisticated, but comfortably so; it’s intimate yet roomy, without feeling grandiose just for the sake of size, allowing overnight visitors to stay under the same roof as their hosts. The interior design direction balances time-aged materials and modern comforts, says interior designer Donna Figg. “Each space unfolds with unique elements and serves as a base camp for their many adventures.” “We also focused on making things as ergonomic as possible,” adds Paige Jones, senior interior designer. “For example, in their closet, storage is maximized, but they’re not having to get a ladder out every time they want to put something in high storage,” pointing out that the motorized upper racks are lowered with the touch of a button for easy reach. “We tailored the home to suit their needs, so that it’s designed for them aesthetically and functionally.” From their Midland home base, Don grew his parents’ oil field sales and service business into a 400-employee firm that was sold to Schlumberger in 2014.


“Don is really wise about these things and we had a good team that worked for us,” Cathy says. “For someone who came from a very humble background—Don’s family never took vacations because they couldn’t afford to—it’s cool to see how someone succeeds. Don gives credit to God for that. We know where our blessings are from.” Married for 51 years, the Carruths often take to the skies, with Navy veteran Don in the pilot’s seat of several airplanes that they’ve owned over the years since earning his pilot license at 22. (A son-in-law is following in Don’s footsteps by recently earning his license.) Don piloted small planes for work, as well as family trips that found the Carruths using their Piper Cherokee Six like a family station wagon, loading the kids and luggage for vacations. “We’ve traveled extensively all over the United States, the Caribbean, Central America, and Costa Rica,” Don says. “A plane gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of getting there.” Don’s love of flying served as the impetus for the couple to join six other planes on a 2018 around-the-world, 24-destination trip with Don piloting their single-engine turboprop. The trip took 70 days, after Don convinced Cathy to go. “I was thinking it would be too long to be away from home,” Cathy says. “But it was the most incredible trip of our lives.”


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Photo by Andrea Calo

THIS PAGE: The master porch features an outdoor shower, hot tub, and gorgeous Hill Country views. OPPOSITE: A bronze statue, The Young Aviator, by Dennis Smith, purchased at Mountain Trails Fine Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


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THIS PAGE: Each guest bedroom in the Carruth’s home has an attached bath and patio for private space. The barrel-vaulted ceiling in the master bath was an idea from their previous home in Fredericksburg. OPPOSITE: The collection of model replicas of planes the couple has owned.



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Left hand photos by Andrea Calo

Two of the Carruths’ daughters (and six grandchildren) live in the Hill Country. Another lives in Midland, while one lives in Pennsylvania. “Eventually we’re hoping our whole family will live closer to us,” Cathy says. Cathy and Don’s house wish list included a one-story layout, a low-maintenance yard, and having all four bedrooms in the house. “Around the holidays, when the kids are all here, we play games and we’re doing things together,” Cathy says. “If you have a lot of different little buildings, teenagers tend to go off and get on their electronics, and you don’t really connect.” Every guest bedroom has its own style, and each has an attached bath and outdoor patio for private space. “We purposefully don’t have televisions in the bedrooms,” Cathy says. “We don’t want people going away from each other to watch TV.” Instead, the extended family gravitates to the media room. Its tiered flooring holds ten smart, comfy recliners that face a big screen for movies, TV, gaming, or the internet. Shelves in the back of the room sport a popcorn machine, a beverage fridge, and family photos and memorabilia, while cozy throws and pillows are at the ready. “The grandchildren love the media room,” Don says. Cathy’s love of natural forms and organic shapes is reflected throughout the home in pieces that derive their beauty from trees, plants, and stone.

Agate-topped accent tables create this aesthetic next to the fireplace sitting area in the master bedroom. It continues in the powder room’s live-edge wood vanity top with a flawless mitered edge that makes the utilitarian surface look like a furniture piece. The great room graces the theme with a soaring chisel-edged limestone fireplace as well as centerpiece wood coffee tables embellished with a reclaimed tree root overlay. The great room’s tall ceiling holds another outstanding feature: reclaimed wooden beams from an 1800s Oregon barn. The beams establish a visual foundation that is echoed in other rooms, as well as in the great room’s lintels and mantle, which are created from the same barnwood. A close look reveals the ax marks that show the antique wood was hand-hewn. Flanking the fireplace is shelving that holds books, photos, and the collection of model replicas of every airplane the couple has owned. Wide-width, wirebrushed European white oak hardwood serves as the flooring that also extends into the hallways and other rooms of the house. Seating provides defined areas in the open living room, dining room, kitchen, and breakfast nook layout. To be sure the couple found all the furniture comfortable, Figg and Jones brought them to Dallas showrooms to sit on selected couches, chairs and other pieces under consideration for the home.


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And while most furnishings in the home are new, the Carruths and their designers smoothly incorporated select, beloved pieces as well. The antique pedal sewing machine and cabinet that Cathy learned to sew on serves as the bedside table in a guest room. In the sunlit breakfast nook, a beautiful antique French sideboard looks right at home with a new dining set. “The old and the new, married,” Cathy says. The breakfast nook’s ceiling is reclaimed wood, while a soft rug links the space with the colors in the great room. Drapes are edged with hide, bringing in a natural-form accent and organic element. In the kitchen, a custom, showstopper vent hood boasts a hammered-finish copper patina. While it has the aura of an antique element, the vent hood’s recent creation means it’s fully functional. The kitchen’s compact layout is anchored by a leathered black granite island. China is displayed in lighted cabinets, while cookbooks are held on the island’s side shelves. A very large pantry area is tucked away behind a sliding door set in an arched opening. Hallways continue the warm, integral plaster walls from the great room and serve as galleries for art and for canvas prints of Cathy’s travel photographs. Attention to detail extends to the master bath. A barrel-vaulted ceiling in the couple’s previous Fredericksburg


house was a favorite feature of Cathy’s, so one was incorporated into the bath to arch over the seagrass limestone flooring that is dotted with fossils. A makeup chair with a touch of voluptuous fur on the back sits at Cathy’s vanity, set at a perfect height for her, while Don’s shaving mirror is set at the perfect height for him at a separate counter. The natural pebble stone shower floor flows outside to the outdoor shower, adjacent to the hot tub. Delectable details are everywhere in the home, without being heavy-handed, including penny gap wall treatments, wallpaper with sophisticated designs, and honed-stone finishes that convey a more relaxed feel than polished stone. The office is a perfect example of the old and new coming together for the Carruths, with a swirl-design chandelier featuring a pewter metal finish and ombre drapery set against a traditional desk, built-ins, and a reclaimed-wood vaulted ceiling. While the office serves both Don and Cathy, it’s recently been home to Cathy’s sewing projects, such as face masks in seasonal fabrics for the family. And while many people were grounded in 2020, the Carruths feel like their Boot Ranch home has given them wings. “Especially with the pandemic, I told Don it doesn’t feel bad to be stuck at home,” Cathy says. “This house lets us feel like we’re always on vacation.”


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The reclaimed wood ceiling and drapes edged with hide bring an organic element to the breakfast nook. OPPOSITE: The hammered-finish copper patina in the kitchen adds an antique feel to the modern kitchen.

THIS PAGE: Photos by Andrea Calo


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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Robert Pummill’s Hill Country Sunset hangs in the Ladies Locker Room. An Old Dog and a New Trick by Clifton Texas sculptor Bruce Greene. Painting by Fredericksburg artist John Austin Hanna hangs in the Men's Locker Room.



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First impressions of the Clubhouse Village at Boot Ranch are the overwhelming attention to detail, the tasteful and stylish choices made for the decor, and the prominent display of artwork throughout.


t was Professional Golf Association Tour star Hal Sutton who originally envisioned the Boot Ranch community with its 7,155yard signature golf course. Sutton was playing a round with fellow PGA golfing legend Jack “Jackie” Burke Jr., when Burke commented, “God sure used a lot of paint brushes when he painted this landscape.”


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Perhaps inspired by those words, Sutton decided to create an art collection at Boot Ranch, one that reflects the heritage and beauty of the Hill Country, while also celebrating the many artists who call Texas home. Today, part of Sutton’s initial collection, as well as additional curated works, hang throughout the elegant Boot Ranch Clubhouse. Boot Ranch supports a cadre of Texas artists, including Mary Ross Buchholz, John Cook, Mary Forshagen, Brian Grimm, John Austin Hanna, James Robinson, Gladys Roldan-de-Moras, and Sonya Terpening. Artists from other states include Rett Ashby from Utah, as well as Becky Joy, Tom Dorr, and a growing collection of paintings of Pueblo pots by Charles Sabatino, all from Arizona. “We are very proud of the main piece of art in the Clubhouse bar,” says Emil Hale, General Manager of Boot Ranch and a member of the Professional Golfers Association (PGA). “World-renowned golf artist Graeme Baxter was here in the fall of 2019, and he painted our ninth hole. His work is displayed at golf courses all over the world, including St. Andrews, Augusta, and Pebble Beach. Our members love it.” The art collection at Boot Ranch now includes more than fifty paintings and five sculptures. “We’re proud of all the art we have here at the Clubhouse Village,” affirms Hale, “and we’re growing the collection every year. Our residents love to be surrounded with such fine pieces.” One artist represented by three paintings on display at Boot Ranch is Robert Pummill and, on the following pages, we invite you to get to know the distinguished Hill Country painter in the first of several upcoming artist profiles in this magazine. We look forward to sharing the stories of their inspirations and processes—making the Boot Ranch art collection all the more vivid for all of us.



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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Charcoal and graphite longhorn drawing by Mary Ross Buchholz, Hole 10 painting by John Austin Hanna, cowboy painting by Arizona artist Tom Dorr in the Clubhouse dining room


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THE BIG EASEL After building a nationwide reputation as one of America’s greatest Western artists, Robert Pummill is being recognized as the premier landscape artist capturing the magnificent beauty of the Texas Hill Country.

T H E LO N G R O A D F R O M O H I O TO T E X A S Robert Pummill is one of the artists whose work adorns the Boot Ranch clubhouse walls and who frequently paints the landscapes around him. Pummill lives and works in Kerrville, located 25 miles southwest of the city of Fredericksburg, and has been inspired by the Texas Hill Country throughout his career. “Shirley and I lived up by Dallas, and we’d looked all over Texas,” recalls Pummill, referring to his wife of 61 years. “I knew L.D. ‘Brink’ Brinkman—a successful businessman, cattle breeder, and art collector—and he said, ‘You need to go down to Kerrville.’ We did—bought a house there that same day. People here are special. The longer you live in Texas, the more it grows on you.” Pummill’s journey began in a small farming community in Ohio. “I learned to drive in a Model A. I walked behind mules as they plowed the fields. When I started painting Western heritage pieces, I knew the people I was painting—they were my people, the farmers I grew up with,” says Pummill. Back in 1946, when Pummill was just eleven years old, he convinced his parents to enroll him in the Art Instruction School, a correspondence course. “Most people remember that as the Draw Me! 58

mail-order course. They teach you the basics of illustration, all done by mail,” he recalls. Tuition was about $300 at the time. “My parents went through some hardships to let me do that.” After high school, Pummill spent nine years in the U.S. Air Force, including a two-year stint at Great Falls, Montana, where he was influenced by the same sweeping vistas that had inspired the great Western artist Charles Russell, a contemporary of Frederic Remington. Once he left the services, Pummill and his young wife lived in Mississippi, Florida, and California, eventually moving to Dallas, where he took a position as a contract illustrator for Vought Electronics. “I would do all those line drawings, breaking down the different areas of an aircraft, exploded views of the wiring for maintenance,” he notes. “But while I was doing that, I was also selling art at the Texas Art Gallery—the well-respected gallery run by Bill Burford in Dallas—and putting on a one-man show every year.” Eventually, his weekend painting turned lucrative. “I told my boss in 1976, ‘If this year is as good as last year, I’m going to leave,’” laughs Pummill. “On January 1st, I said, ‘See you!’ and I became a full-time professional artist.” Pummill always worked at something to make a living with his artwork. “At one point, I took an evening job at a sign shop for $2 an hour, painting names on the managers’ office doors in gold leaf at the local bank,” he recalls. “I also used to update the big maps at six amusement parks every year. Meanwhile, while I had originally focused on portraits, landscapes, and seascapes, I had started doing Western paintings in 1970, and that became my passion.”


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Robert Pummill with a recently completed painting.



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THIS PAGE: Pummill demonstrating how he steadies his hand while painting large pieces. Pummill’s sketches.



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G O W E S T E R N , YO U N G M A N Pummill’s work focused on the Old West, the pioneers and wagon trains, the fur traders and trappers, and the Native Americans who lived on the plains. In 1984, Pummill was inducted into the Cowboy Artists of America, and in 1995, he won a major award for one of his watercolors. “My forte was cattle drives, stagecoaches—that period of time in America’s history between 1840 and 1900,” Pummill explains. “There aren’t many of us left now. Most of the new Western artists paint contemporary subjects, and they’ll use a photo for inspiration. I came from the old illustrator group: I studied portraiture on the way up so if I need a figure, I just draw that figure. I know how people sit on horses, how their body attitude tells you what they’re thinking, what they’re doing. I just draw it. “It’s important to relate to the viewer,” adds Pummill. “Jim Reynolds, a well-known Western painter and good friend of mine, said, ‘You’ve got to make your painting beautiful.’ Now that’s generic, but I want people to stand in front of my paintings and get a good feeling. It shouldn’t be so hard-edged that people can’t relate to it. You’re telling a story.” Although recognized as one of the premier Western artists in the United States, Pummill had produced many stunning landscapes along the way and, about twelve years ago, he decided this would be a new direction for his work. “I enjoy landscapes. But I looked around and people weren’t painting them the way I would,” he says. “Doesn’t mean that my way is any better, but I thought they needed more atmosphere.” People often classify Pummill as an impressionist. “That’s true for the way I use light,” he says. “But I’d classify myself as an impressionist representationalist. In particular, what I try to do with the landscapes is concentrate as much on the atmosphere as I do on the subject.” Pummill estimates he has painted more than two thousand pieces in his lifetime, and currently produces around twenty new artworks each year. “I still paint most every day,” Pummill says. “I’m trying to capture the essence of the Texas Hill Country. None of these paintings are of real places, but I sometimes have people tell me, ‘That’s my ranch,’ and that just means I’ve accomplished what I’m trying to do—that they believe the story I’m telling them in my painting.”


Pummill estimates he has painted over two thousand works in his lifetime.

Elizabeth Harris, co-owner of the InSight Gallery in Fredericksburg, has been a part of Pummill’s career for more than a decade. Hers is one of two galleries that represent Pummill’s works. Harris enjoys occasionally dropping by Pummill’s home studio to see what’s on the artist’s easel. “Bob’s been working on a painting based on the conflict that took place on the north wall of the Alamo. He researched the types of firearms, the uniforms, everything. I sometimes think he has as much fun doing the research and the prep work as working on the painting itself,” she says. “Bob is meticulous from concept through execution. He even stretches his own canvases.” Pummill acknowledged Harris’s assessment, saying, “I do sketches of each individual figure in the painting. Some are pretty rough, and sometimes I’ll sketch a figure three or four times until I get them how I want them. There are many figures in that painting, and they each have a story to tell.” With all his work, the artist leads the viewer through a painting and aims to make the trip enjoyable. “You’re the writer, you’re the director, and you have a storyboard that has a beginning, a middle, and an end,” Pummill explains. “Every time I finish a painting, I learn something about myself.” He adds, “It’s such a compliment when someone buys one of my paintings. I sold a painting last week before the paint was dry. That’s very humbling.” At 85 years old, Pummill is firing on all cylinders as he prepares for the next decade, declaring that he’s got a lot of paintings left to do. “People ask me what my favorite painting is and I always tell them the same thing—my next one,” he says. “And I mean that most sincerely.” ISSUE 2

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A Conversation with Emil Hale The Boot Ranch general manager leads a team dedicated to exceeding expectations

Boot Ranch founder Hal Sutton tapped Emil Hale to be head golf professional when the private club community opened in 2005. Promoted to general manager in 2018, Hale sat down recently with John Koenig, editor of The Boot, to talk about his role and vision for the club. Here are excerpts from their conversation.



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Q: What’s the most important part of your job? A: There are so many things that are important in

my role, but above all is enabling and motivating our 100-plus employees day in and day out to exceed expectations. I strive to instill in them what our vision is, what our goals are. I want them to believe in what we’re doing. At the end of the day, Boot Ranch is about the experience for members.

Q: Describe the experience you want

Boot Ranch members to have.

A: Our members have the means to live any-

where. Our mission, then, is to create the experiences that lead members and prospective members to want to live here, want their families to enjoy Boot Ranch, and to want to call Boot Ranch home. If a member calls Boot Ranch home and calls our team family, we’ve done our job.

Q: What qualities do you look for in job

candidates at Boot Ranch?

A: Obviously, we’re looking for great backgrounds

and great experiences and talented people. But more than anything we’re looking for individuals who have a server’s heart, people who genuinely care for others. If they don’t have that, that’s not teachable. That one trait comes from their parents and their core values. It’s fundamental to what we do, because we’re all here to serve one another— not just our members, but also our co-workers. So that’s priority one for me.

Q: How do you attract and retain such people? A: Attractive wages and benefits are part of our

offering. What I’m most proud of, though, is our culture. We have a fun work environment. We also love to develop our employees and help them grow professionally. They may start in one department and grow into bigger positions. We have many examples of that among the team.

Q: Fathers are important influences for nearly everyone. But yours seems to have been particularly so. Tell me about him. A: My father was a very kind man, a generous

man, a giving man. He was very accomplished in golf. He led the Hardin-Simmons University golf team to winning the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national championship in the 1950s and was the national med-

alist. He loved the game and wanted you to enjoy it as much as he did. I learned how to play and developed my love of golf through my dad. I just watched him give and teach—he loved to teach—and that’s really where the roots started for me in terms of golf. Q: What other experiences shaped you

as a leader?

A: I took a break from college and joined the Army.

I saw how connected soldiers are when they’re willing to lay down their lives for their fellow soldiers. The sacrifice that’s required to be in the military did a lot for me as a young man. I learned it wasn’t about me anymore, it was about “we.”

Q: Any parting thoughts? A: From a collective team standpoint, I feel that

we’re very fortunate to be where we are, especially given the year that we’ve just been through. Our members have always been tremendously supportive, but they’ve been especially so in this past year. We just feel very blessed that we’re here at Boot Ranch.


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As one of the most respected custom home builders in Fredericksburg, Ron Burns was invited more than 15 year ago to build the first homes in Boot Ranch. These impressive estates set the hallmark for exceptional quality that has inspired every aspect of the Boot Ranch experience ever since.

Today, Ron and his wife Sina work closely with just a few discerning clients each year, building homes and relationships that last a lifetime.

“Once we take you on, we take care of you forever.” - Ron and Sina Burns

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(318) 458-0431

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A Company With Roots Fifty years ago, our firm was founded by Gordon E. Sauer, a transactional attorney serving the Texas Hill Country for 51 years. The only thing deeper than our roots is our internal knowledge, expertise and success in closing complex transactions. Our 21 members are dedicated and committed to delivering a Customer First experience in every transaction. Fredericksburg H Junction H Rocksprings H (830) 997-4315 H