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Spanish Ranch

Elko County

In the 1840's five Basque brothers named Altube left Spain for Argentina. Pedro and Bernardo eventually went to California where they prospered. In 1871, they headed for more open country. They drove 3,000 head of Mexican cattle to Nevada and established the Spanish Ranch north of Tuscarora. The Altubes sold the ranch right after the turn of the 20th century. The Ellison Ranching Company was established in 1910. E.P Ellison eventually purchased the Spanish in 1925. By 1969, the Ellison Ranching Co. would grow into the largest ranching empire in Nevada. The Spanish is located in the Independence Valley north of Tuscarora. The Spanish has had articles written about it by prominent magazines like Western Horseman and American Cowboy. It also received a lengthy write-up from Cowboy Showcase. Legendary western singer Ian Tyson, who has written many songs about Nevada's ranch country, wrote a song about the Spanish. Tyson's song focused on the long-time and well-respected Cow Boss (Buckaroo Boss) Bill Kane. We've seen Tyson sing this song live at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko. Kane has since retired. A man named Ira Wines, who comes from a long-time Elko County ranch family, eventually took over the job. Several articles speak about the fact that there are very few ranches left in the entire west, that are still big enough to send the wagons out in the old tradition. The Spanish is one of those ranches. Buckaroos still go out for up to six weeks during Spring branding. They sleep in teepees and eat from the chuck wagon. The Spanish is truly one of the last of the massive and traditional buckaroo outfits. The Spanish is still owned by the Ellison Ranching Company. In 2020, the Ellison Ranching Company was considered the seventh biggest cow/calf operation in the entire United States. As of today, they are still running cattle on several ranches across 2,000,000 acres of Nevada. These ranches include the Spanish, PX Ranch, 71 Ranch and Fish Creek Ranch. In 2021, Ira Wines was named President of the Ellison Ranching Company. The Spanish lives on! (Bill Kane from Ian Tyson)

Sources: American Cowboy Magazine- "Great Ranches of the Great Basin" July 12, 2022; Western Horseman Magazine- "Old Spanish Ways" May 31, 2009: Nevada State Historical Mark #106 "Elko"; Cowboy Showcase (Website); Ellison Ranching Company (Website).

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