Tony Bruguiere
Ft. Collins, Colo.

Back to: Home
July 11, 2011
Follow Home

Bob Norris of Colorado's T-Cross Ranch is no ordinary cowboy

All over the state of Colorado, on ranches large and small, it is branding season. And that is certainly true on one of the largest and most well known ranches in Colorado, the T-Cross Ranch. To be more correct, that should be 'Ranches,' as Bob Norris and his son Steve have numerous properties in the Colorado Springs area and near Limon. Bob Norris came to Colorado Springs over 50 years ago, started buying ranch land, and has the oldest registered brand in Colorado. Currently, the T-Cross ranches are a little over 120,000 acres, and the largest land owner in El Paso County.

Progress has begun to run into some of the T-Cross ranch properties in the Falcon and Fountain areas. Bob Paulsen, the manager of Norris Cattle Company spoke about it, "We live up on the Front Range and we are just one row east of town, basically. Urban sprawl is coming our way. You talk to people in this day and age, and as close as we live to the Front Range and in town and they go 'You do what for a living?'"

Norris traded some of his El Paso County property for two ranches totaling 36,000 acres near Limon and right now he looks pretty smart because that land has water and southern Colorado is badly in need of rain. The drought situation is currently so bad that Norris Cattle Company will be 'summering' some of their cattle on the Limon ranches. "When I started putting together my land around Colorado Springs 50 years ago, I figured that growth was coming," Norris said. "I see growth headed in the direction of Limon. It is definitely a long-term-growth play. This land has water, and that is important."

One thing you can definitely say about Bob Norris, is that he is a real cowboy. And that fact was obvious to an advertising executive from Chicago that had leased part of the Norris ranch in the early 1960s as a location for a cigarette commercial. The ad man had brought a model to play a cowboy for the photo shoot, but quickly decided that he did not look like a real cowboy. Bob Norris not only looked the part but he was a cowboy. The ad man hired him on the spot and Bob Norris became the first Marlboro Man cowboy. Norris continued with Marlboro for 12 years. Eventually, as evidence grew that cigarettes caused cancer, his conscience would no longer allow him to be a part of it and he quit the company.

Bob Norris may be a real cowboy, but he is certainly not an ordinary one. He is the grand-nephew of John W. Gates, an entrepreneur and master salesman who managed to convince Texas ranchers that slender strands of twisted wire and its barbs could hold Texas Longhorns. In a later venture John Gates invested in a little oil venture in Texas that became known as "Spindletop." It was there that the largest 'gusher' the world has ever seen came in and started the Texas oil boom.

Bob Norris' great-uncle Gates formed a company which was later known as Texaco, and is why in the late 1980s we find rancher Bob Norris locking horns with corporate raider Carl Icahn in a complex and monumental struggle that would decide the future of Texaco. Norris headed the stockholders committee and played a key role in reaching a $3 billion settlement with Pennzoil.

The T-Cross brand is well known as producing some of the best working ranch horses in the country and has been nominated for the prestigious AQHA Best Remuda Award. Bob Norris has served on the board of directors of many of the most well known rodeo and equine organizations in the country. He has a charitable foundation and contributed generously to CSU in the form of a $500,000 donation to help build the Pickett arena.

In 2005 Bob Norris made a substantial donation to a group that purchased the old Penrose Equestrian Center from El Paso County in an effort to relieve the county of the cost of running the facility. The new Norris-Penrose Event Center has been upgraded to include a convention area and other improvements to make it a multi-use event complex. It now hosts the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo and contributes to a number of military charities.

Bob Norris continues to be involved in the operation of the T-Cross and Norris Cattle Company. "I still get stomped on, and knocked down and run over, so I guess I am," said Norris, I sold my commercial herd to my son, Steve, and I work with the registered cattle - Herefords and Salers."

Norris has made a small concession to the fact that he is now in his 80s in the fact that he winters in the warmer climate of Arizona. As his son Steve Norris tells it, "He told me about 10 years ago, that he didn't care if he never 'laid another track in the snow.' It starts clouding up at home and he starts packing up to head South."

Which brings us back around to a pasture about 20-miles due east of Fountain, Colo., where rancher Bob Norris, his family, and friends, have gathered to brand 120 or so calves - just as working cowboys have done for the past 100 years.

All over the state of Colorado, on ranches large and small, it is branding season. And that is certainly true on one of the largest and most well known ranches in Colorado, the T-Cross Ranch. To be more correct, that should be 'Ranches,' as Bob Norris and his son Steve have numerous properties in the Colorado Springs area and near Limon. Bob Norris came to Colorado Springs over 50 years ago, started buying ranch land, and has the oldest registered brand in Colorado. Currently, the T-Cross ranches are a little over 120,000 acres, and the largest land owner in El Paso County.

Progress has begun to run into some of the T-Cross ranch properties in the Falcon and Fountain areas. Bob Paulsen, the manager of Norris Cattle Company spoke about it, "We live up on the Front Range and we are just one row east of town, basically. Urban sprawl is coming our way. You talk to people in this day and age, and as close as we live to the Front Range and in town and they go 'You do what for a living?'"

Norris traded some of his El Paso County property for two ranches totaling 36,000 acres near Limon and right now he looks pretty smart because that land has water and southern Colorado is badly in need of rain. The drought situation is currently so bad that Norris Cattle Company will be 'summering' some of their cattle on the Limon ranches. "When I started putting together my land around Colorado Springs 50 years ago, I figured that growth was coming," Norris said. "I see growth headed in the direction of Limon. It is definitely a long-term-growth play. This land has water, and that is important."

One thing you can definitely say about Bob Norris, is that he is a real cowboy. And that fact was obvious to an advertising executive from Chicago that had leased part of the Norris ranch in the early 1960s as a location for a cigarette commercial. The ad man had brought a model to play a cowboy for the photo shoot, but quickly decided that he did not look like a real cowboy. Bob Norris not only looked the part but he was a cowboy. The ad man hired him on the spot and Bob Norris became the first Marlboro Man cowboy. Norris continued with Marlboro for 12 years. Eventually, as evidence grew that cigarettes caused cancer, his conscience would no longer allow him to be a part of it and he quit the company.

Bob Norris may be a real cowboy, but he is certainly not an ordinary one. He is the grand-nephew of John W. Gates, an entrepreneur and master salesman who managed to convince Texas ranchers that slender strands of twisted wire and its barbs could hold Texas Longhorns. In a later venture John Gates invested in a little oil venture in Texas that became known as "Spindletop." It was there that the largest 'gusher' the world has ever seen came in and started the Texas oil boom.

Bob Norris' great-uncle Gates formed a company which was later known as Texaco, and is why in the late 1980s we find rancher Bob Norris locking horns with corporate raider Carl Icahn in a complex and monumental struggle that would decide the future of Texaco. Norris headed the stockholders committee and played a key role in reaching a $3 billion settlement with Pennzoil.

The T-Cross brand is well known as producing some of the best working ranch horses in the country and has been nominated for the prestigious AQHA Best Remuda Award. Bob Norris has served on the board of directors of many of the most well known rodeo and equine organizations in the country. He has a charitable foundation and contributed generously to CSU in the form of a $500,000 donation to help build the Pickett arena.

In 2005 Bob Norris made a substantial donation to a group that purchased the old Penrose Equestrian Center from El Paso County in an effort to relieve the county of the cost of running the facility. The new Norris-Penrose Event Center has been upgraded to include a convention area and other improvements to make it a multi-use event complex. It now hosts the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo and contributes to a number of military charities.

Bob Norris continues to be involved in the operation of the T-Cross and Norris Cattle Company. "I still get stomped on, and knocked down and run over, so I guess I am," said Norris, I sold my commercial herd to my son, Steve, and I work with the registered cattle - Herefords and Salers."

Norris has made a small concession to the fact that he is now in his 80s in the fact that he winters in the warmer climate of Arizona. As his son Steve Norris tells it, "He told me about 10 years ago, that he didn't care if he never 'laid another track in the snow.' It starts clouding up at home and he starts packing up to head South."

Which brings us back around to a pasture about 20-miles due east of Fountain, Colo., where rancher Bob Norris, his family, and friends, have gathered to brand 120 or so calves - just as working cowboys have done for the past 100 years.

All over the state of Colorado, on ranches large and small, it is branding season. And that is certainly true on one of the largest and most well known ranches in Colorado, the T-Cross Ranch. To be more correct, that should be 'Ranches,' as Bob Norris and his son Steve have numerous properties in the Colorado Springs area and near Limon. Bob Norris came to Colorado Springs over 50 years ago, started buying ranch land, and has the oldest registered brand in Colorado. Currently, the T-Cross ranches are a little over 120,000 acres, and the largest land owner in El Paso County.

Progress has begun to run into some of the T-Cross ranch properties in the Falcon and Fountain areas. Bob Paulsen, the manager of Norris Cattle Company spoke about it, "We live up on the Front Range and we are just one row east of town, basically. Urban sprawl is coming our way. You talk to people in this day and age, and as close as we live to the Front Range and in town and they go 'You do what for a living?'"

Norris traded some of his El Paso County property for two ranches totaling 36,000 acres near Limon and right now he looks pretty smart because that land has water and southern Colorado is badly in need of rain. The drought situation is currently so bad that Norris Cattle Company will be 'summering' some of their cattle on the Limon ranches. "When I started putting together my land around Colorado Springs 50 years ago, I figured that growth was coming," Norris said. "I see growth headed in the direction of Limon. It is definitely a long-term-growth play. This land has water, and that is important."

One thing you can definitely say about Bob Norris, is that he is a real cowboy. And that fact was obvious to an advertising executive from Chicago that had leased part of the Norris ranch in the early 1960s as a location for a cigarette commercial. The ad man had brought a model to play a cowboy for the photo shoot, but quickly decided that he did not look like a real cowboy. Bob Norris not only looked the part but he was a cowboy. The ad man hired him on the spot and Bob Norris became the first Marlboro Man cowboy. Norris continued with Marlboro for 12 years. Eventually, as evidence grew that cigarettes caused cancer, his conscience would no longer allow him to be a part of it and he quit the company.

Bob Norris may be a real cowboy, but he is certainly not an ordinary one. He is the grand-nephew of John W. Gates, an entrepreneur and master salesman who managed to convince Texas ranchers that slender strands of twisted wire and its barbs could hold Texas Longhorns. In a later venture John Gates invested in a little oil venture in Texas that became known as "Spindletop." It was there that the largest 'gusher' the world has ever seen came in and started the Texas oil boom.

Bob Norris' great-uncle Gates formed a company which was later known as Texaco, and is why in the late 1980s we find rancher Bob Norris locking horns with corporate raider Carl Icahn in a complex and monumental struggle that would decide the future of Texaco. Norris headed the stockholders committee and played a key role in reaching a $3 billion settlement with Pennzoil.

The T-Cross brand is well known as producing some of the best working ranch horses in the country and has been nominated for the prestigious AQHA Best Remuda Award. Bob Norris has served on the board of directors of many of the most well known rodeo and equine organizations in the country. He has a charitable foundation and contributed generously to CSU in the form of a $500,000 donation to help build the Pickett arena.

In 2005 Bob Norris made a substantial donation to a group that purchased the old Penrose Equestrian Center from El Paso County in an effort to relieve the county of the cost of running the facility. The new Norris-Penrose Event Center has been upgraded to include a convention area and other improvements to make it a multi-use event complex. It now hosts the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo and contributes to a number of military charities.

Bob Norris continues to be involved in the operation of the T-Cross and Norris Cattle Company. "I still get stomped on, and knocked down and run over, so I guess I am," said Norris, I sold my commercial herd to my son, Steve, and I work with the registered cattle - Herefords and Salers."

Norris has made a small concession to the fact that he is now in his 80s in the fact that he winters in the warmer climate of Arizona. As his son Steve Norris tells it, "He told me about 10 years ago, that he didn't care if he never 'laid another track in the snow.' It starts clouding up at home and he starts packing up to head South."

Which brings us back around to a pasture about 20-miles due east of Fountain, Colo., where rancher Bob Norris, his family, and friends, have gathered to brand 120 or so calves - just as working cowboys have done for the past 100 years.

All over the state of Colorado, on ranches large and small, it is branding season. And that is certainly true on one of the largest and most well known ranches in Colorado, the T-Cross Ranch. To be more correct, that should be 'Ranches,' as Bob Norris and his son Steve have numerous properties in the Colorado Springs area and near Limon. Bob Norris came to Colorado Springs over 50 years ago, started buying ranch land, and has the oldest registered brand in Colorado. Currently, the T-Cross ranches are a little over 120,000 acres, and the largest land owner in El Paso County.

Progress has begun to run into some of the T-Cross ranch properties in the Falcon and Fountain areas. Bob Paulsen, the manager of Norris Cattle Company spoke about it, "We live up on the Front Range and we are just one row east of town, basically. Urban sprawl is coming our way. You talk to people in this day and age, and as close as we live to the Front Range and in town and they go 'You do what for a living?'"

Norris traded some of his El Paso County property for two ranches totaling 36,000 acres near Limon and right now he looks pretty smart because that land has water and southern Colorado is badly in need of rain. The drought situation is currently so bad that Norris Cattle Company will be 'summering' some of their cattle on the Limon ranches. "When I started putting together my land around Colorado Springs 50 years ago, I figured that growth was coming," Norris said. "I see growth headed in the direction of Limon. It is definitely a long-term-growth play. This land has water, and that is important."

One thing you can definitely say about Bob Norris, is that he is a real cowboy. And that fact was obvious to an advertising executive from Chicago that had leased part of the Norris ranch in the early 1960s as a location for a cigarette commercial. The ad man had brought a model to play a cowboy for the photo shoot, but quickly decided that he did not look like a real cowboy. Bob Norris not only looked the part but he was a cowboy. The ad man hired him on the spot and Bob Norris became the first Marlboro Man cowboy. Norris continued with Marlboro for 12 years. Eventually, as evidence grew that cigarettes caused cancer, his conscience would no longer allow him to be a part of it and he quit the company.

Bob Norris may be a real cowboy, but he is certainly not an ordinary one. He is the grand-nephew of John W. Gates, an entrepreneur and master salesman who managed to convince Texas ranchers that slender strands of twisted wire and its barbs could hold Texas Longhorns. In a later venture John Gates invested in a little oil venture in Texas that became known as "Spindletop." It was there that the largest 'gusher' the world has ever seen came in and started the Texas oil boom.

Bob Norris' great-uncle Gates formed a company which was later known as Texaco, and is why in the late 1980s we find rancher Bob Norris locking horns with corporate raider Carl Icahn in a complex and monumental struggle that would decide the future of Texaco. Norris headed the stockholders committee and played a key role in reaching a $3 billion settlement with Pennzoil.

The T-Cross brand is well known as producing some of the best working ranch horses in the country and has been nominated for the prestigious AQHA Best Remuda Award. Bob Norris has served on the board of directors of many of the most well known rodeo and equine organizations in the country. He has a charitable foundation and contributed generously to CSU in the form of a $500,000 donation to help build the Pickett arena.

In 2005 Bob Norris made a substantial donation to a group that purchased the old Penrose Equestrian Center from El Paso County in an effort to relieve the county of the cost of running the facility. The new Norris-Penrose Event Center has been upgraded to include a convention area and other improvements to make it a multi-use event complex. It now hosts the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo and contributes to a number of military charities.

Bob Norris continues to be involved in the operation of the T-Cross and Norris Cattle Company. "I still get stomped on, and knocked down and run over, so I guess I am," said Norris, I sold my commercial herd to my son, Steve, and I work with the registered cattle - Herefords and Salers."

Norris has made a small concession to the fact that he is now in his 80s in the fact that he winters in the warmer climate of Arizona. As his son Steve Norris tells it, "He told me about 10 years ago, that he didn't care if he never 'laid another track in the snow.' It starts clouding up at home and he starts packing up to head South."

Which brings us back around to a pasture about 20-miles due east of Fountain, Colo., where rancher Bob Norris, his family, and friends, have gathered to brand 120 or so calves - just as working cowboys have done for the past 100 years.

All over the state of Colorado, on ranches large and small, it is branding season. And that is certainly true on one of the largest and most well known ranches in Colorado, the T-Cross Ranch. To be more correct, that should be 'Ranches,' as Bob Norris and his son Steve have numerous properties in the Colorado Springs area and near Limon. Bob Norris came to Colorado Springs over 50 years ago, started buying ranch land, and has the oldest registered brand in Colorado. Currently, the T-Cross ranches are a little over 120,000 acres, and the largest land owner in El Paso County.

Progress has begun to run into some of the T-Cross ranch properties in the Falcon and Fountain areas. Bob Paulsen, the manager of Norris Cattle Company spoke about it, "We live up on the Front Range and we are just one row east of town, basically. Urban sprawl is coming our way. You talk to people in this day and age, and as close as we live to the Front Range and in town and they go 'You do what for a living?'"

Norris traded some of his El Paso County property for two ranches totaling 36,000 acres near Limon and right now he looks pretty smart because that land has water and southern Colorado is badly in need of rain. The drought situation is currently so bad that Norris Cattle Company will be 'summering' some of their cattle on the Limon ranches. "When I started putting together my land around Colorado Springs 50 years ago, I figured that growth was coming," Norris said. "I see growth headed in the direction of Limon. It is definitely a long-term-growth play. This land has water, and that is important."

One thing you can definitely say about Bob Norris, is that he is a real cowboy. And that fact was obvious to an advertising executive from Chicago that had leased part of the Norris ranch in the early 1960s as a location for a cigarette commercial. The ad man had brought a model to play a cowboy for the photo shoot, but quickly decided that he did not look like a real cowboy. Bob Norris not only looked the part but he was a cowboy. The ad man hired him on the spot and Bob Norris became the first Marlboro Man cowboy. Norris continued with Marlboro for 12 years. Eventually, as evidence grew that cigarettes caused cancer, his conscience would no longer allow him to be a part of it and he quit the company.

Bob Norris may be a real cowboy, but he is certainly not an ordinary one. He is the grand-nephew of John W. Gates, an entrepreneur and master salesman who managed to convince Texas ranchers that slender strands of twisted wire and its barbs could hold Texas Longhorns. In a later venture John Gates invested in a little oil venture in Texas that became known as "Spindletop." It was there that the largest 'gusher' the world has ever seen came in and started the Texas oil boom.

Bob Norris' great-uncle Gates formed a company which was later known as Texaco, and is why in the late 1980s we find rancher Bob Norris locking horns with corporate raider Carl Icahn in a complex and monumental struggle that would decide the future of Texaco. Norris headed the stockholders committee and played a key role in reaching a $3 billion settlement with Pennzoil.

The T-Cross brand is well known as producing some of the best working ranch horses in the country and has been nominated for the prestigious AQHA Best Remuda Award. Bob Norris has served on the board of directors of many of the most well known rodeo and equine organizations in the country. He has a charitable foundation and contributed generously to CSU in the form of a $500,000 donation to help build the Pickett arena.

In 2005 Bob Norris made a substantial donation to a group that purchased the old Penrose Equestrian Center from El Paso County in an effort to relieve the county of the cost of running the facility. The new Norris-Penrose Event Center has been upgraded to include a convention area and other improvements to make it a multi-use event complex. It now hosts the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo and contributes to a number of military charities.

Bob Norris continues to be involved in the operation of the T-Cross and Norris Cattle Company. "I still get stomped on, and knocked down and run over, so I guess I am," said Norris, I sold my commercial herd to my son, Steve, and I work with the registered cattle - Herefords and Salers."

Norris has made a small concession to the fact that he is now in his 80s in the fact that he winters in the warmer climate of Arizona. As his son Steve Norris tells it, "He told me about 10 years ago, that he didn't care if he never 'laid another track in the snow.' It starts clouding up at home and he starts packing up to head South."

Which brings us back around to a pasture about 20-miles due east of Fountain, Colo., where rancher Bob Norris, his family, and friends, have gathered to brand 120 or so calves - just as working cowboys have done for the past 100 years.


Explore Related Articles

The Fence Post Updated Aug 14, 2012 05:00PM Published Jul 11, 2011 01:57PM Copyright 2011 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.