Kite Ranch

Rock River , Wyoming | Albany County | 30726 Acres

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Located east of Rock River, Wyoming, the Kite Ranch offers 30,726 acres with water resources that play a pivotal role in ensuring a seamless grazing season. With over six miles of the Laramie River, 705 acres of territorial water rights, sub-irrigated meadows, and access to the shoreline of two substantial reservoirs, the ranch enjoys ample water reserves. Moreover, the implementation of solar wells, pipelines, and strategically placed ponds further fortifies the ranch’s water infrastructure. Improvements include a main residence, repurposed as a seasonal cow camp that serves as a testament to the ranch’s enduring legacy. Prospective owners will discover that ranching continues to thrive amidst the expansive landscapes of the Laramie Plains.

With over six miles of the Laramie River, 705 acres of territorial water rights, sub-irrigated meadows, and access to the shoreline of two substantial reservoirs, the Kite Ranch enjoys ample water reserves.
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The Kite Ranch is a large grazing operation running May 15th through November 1st with tremendous live water coming from the approximately six miles of the Laramie River and two large reservoirs, Wheatland Reservoir No. 2 and No. 3.  The historic Kite brand, a one-iron cattle brand, will transfer with the sale of these 8,561± deeded acres in Albany County, Wyoming.

The Kite Ranch is located 22 miles east of the small ranching community of Rock River, Wyoming. To the east lies Wheatland, Wyoming (55 miles) and Cheyenne, Wyoming (113 miles) and to the south is Laramie, Wyoming (61 miles). The area’s largest livestock market is east at Torrington, Wyoming (114 miles).

The Kite Ranch consists of:
8,561± deeded acres
3,738± State of Wyoming lease acres
4,571± BLM lease acres
(approximately 13,856± private lease acres inside the ranch boundary)
Total of 30,726± total acres.

The ranch is a High Plains, summer grass ranch which yields good weight gains on yearling cattle. The property lies in a contiguous block of land and is fenced into eight pastures with three, four and five-strand barbed wire on steel and wood posts. The common grasses on the Laramie Plains include gramma grass, fox-tail barley, Black root, artic rush, seaside arrowgrass, common spike rush, creeping meadow foxtail, spreading bent, western wheatgrass, common Timothy, American wild mink and Nebraska sedge grasses. The grasses offer a rich vegetative diversity and are a productive blend of high protein forage for cattle and wildlife. The landscape is high mountain plains, meadows, and riparian zones along the Laramie River and two reservoirs. This ranch has an abundance of live water resulting in low-overhead costs. The Laramie River runs from the south to the north through the property for approximately six miles. Wheatland Reservoir No. 3 is situated in the center of the ranch and Wheatland Reservoir No. 2 serves as the eastern border of the ranch. The elevation varies between 6,800 and 7,100 feet above sea level and is subject to a climate described as continental.

The Kite Ranch is conservatively owner-rated for 2,500± yearlings for up to five months of summer grazing. With the use of the lands owned by others, but fenced into the ranch, and with the productive grasses receding water level on Reservoir No 3 in some years, carrying capacity could be up to 3,000± yearlings. In 2020, 2,222 yearlings and 350 pairs were summered on the Kite Ranch. In 2021, 1,850  yearlings and 350 pairs. The grazing was reduced for 2022 and 2023 resulting in good grass management. Wild licorice and thistle were sprayed in 2023. The higher elevation of the ranch provides good winter moisture which brings on strong grasses yielding good weight gains on cattle.

Water resources are a strong consideration for any western ranch and the Kite has both natural and developed water resources that allow for appropriate utilization of the feed resources.

The ranch has live water with the Laramie River running from the south to the north through the property for 6± miles on deeded ground. An 1882 territorial water right from the Laramie River provides flood irrigation for 705 acres of native hay meadows. This is the 12th right on the river and is superior to the Wheatland Irrigation District’s rights. WID owns, stores, and uses the water from the Laramie River for irrigating lands east of the ranch. Wheatland Reservoir No. 3 provides 13± miles of shoreline in the center of the ranch. Wheatland Reservoir No. 2 serves as the east boundary for the ranch. There are seven solar wells with tire tanks, ponds and a pipeline which supplies water from the main house well to the horse pasture.

There is both a State of Wyoming and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lease associated with the Kite Ranch which, upon approval of the agencies, will transfer to the Buyer.

The State of Wyoming leases consist of 3,738+/-and are allotted 815 AUMs. The leases are renewable every ten years with an annual payment due each year. The 2024 cost is $4,506.95. For more information, contact the Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments at (307) 777-7333.

The BLM leases consist of 4,571+/-acres and are allotted 1,280 AUMs. The leases are renewable every ten years with an annual payment due each year. The 2024 cost is $5,705. For more information, contact the Rawlins BLM office at (307) 328-4210.

Note: Some of the State and BLM acres are situated among lands owned by others but are currently fenced into the Kite Ranch which has exclusive grazing rights according to the covenants.

The seller will reserve 50% of minerals owned, if any.

The Kite’s building improvements provide both historical and functional structures for use by the ranch hands and owners.

The Headquarters include a rock home dating to 1895. The main level features a kitchen, dining room, bathroom, and mudroom. The kitchen includes a double oven, 6-burner range, dishwasher, and refrigerator. The rooms on the main floor are very large with 10’-high ceilings. The walls and ceiling are lathed and plastered. The floors are tongue and groove pine strips. A wooden staircase leads upstairs where there are seven bedrooms and a full bathroom. Heat is provided by a wood stove and a new furnace in the basement.

The cattle handling facilities are in good working condition. The pipe and steel corrals and sorting alleys can handle a large number of cattle. There are steel wind breaks, a cattle scale, and a semi load-out. The covered processing area includes a hydraulic squeeze chute.

While not the primary focus of the Kite Ranch management, antelope, deer, coyotes, sage grouse and waterfowl abound on the ranch. There is a unique opportunity for the next owner to imprint the resource with a solid game management plan. Wheatland Reservoir No. 2 and Wheatland No. 3 provide excellent opportunities for trophy walleye and both rainbow and brown trout. The Laramie River is also an excellent fishery.

The ranch is in antelope Areas 38 and 42, both well-known Laramie Plains units, which produce trophy antelope. For mule deer, Area 64 is a general over-the-counter license for residents and for non-residents, it has been a 100% draw in previous years. With the two reservoirs and the Laramie River, early season waterfowl hunting on the ranch is excellent. A landowner may qualify for landowners’ licenses for the species mentioned.

Other outdoor recreation opportunities are available nearby including excellent waterfowl hunting and fishing. The ranch is located within an hour and a half of several excellent reservoirs including Glendo Reservoir, Grayrocks Reservoir and Wheatland No. 1 Reservoir, all of which have excellent fishing opportunities.

John McGill was an immigrant from Scotland and married Hellen Owen in 1875 in Laramie, Wyoming. Both McGills worked for an employer at Tie Siding until 1876. John McGill walked for over a day from Tie Siding to the future home of the Kite Ranch after hearing about a good location to homestead. The site was alongside the Laramie River and the access to water was important for a successful ranch. He named the homestead the Kite Ranch after the kite-shaped brand he bought in May 1878. The brand is imprinted on a concrete slab at the backdoor of the current ranch home. In 1879-1880, McGill began the expensive building of fences, new barns, sheds, and a blacksmith shop, in addition to the magnificent stone home. The stones were hauled 7-8 miles with four-horse teams and wagons. The stonework throughout the house is expertly done. John’s son, Tom, supervised the building and insisted that the house remain square.

TAXES: 2023 taxes are $9,532