Here’s a little window into the history behind the now-for-sale Champion Ranch in Centerville, about 50 miles north of Huntsville: Richard Wallrath bought the property in the 1993 with money he’d earned from running Champion Window, the business he started in 1975. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo mega-donor sold the company to Atrium Windows in 2006 for $66 million. (Within 6 years, Atrium was out of the manufacturing business after it filed for bankruptcy, and the Department of Homeland Security fined it $2 million when it found that more than half of Champion’s 489 workers were undocumented.)
Included in the offering, according to the broker, Icon Global: “movie rights to Deep in the Heart” — starring Jon Gries (Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite) as Wallrath and Val Kilmer as “The Bearded Man,” Wallrath’s spiritual guide. Parts of the movie were filmed on the 5,000-plus-acre ranch itself. A sequel, says Icon, is now “in development.“
A cinematic view across this field shows some of the 1,010 purebred cattle that come with the purchase:
Possible grist for that sequel: the 2012 court battle that made this sale possible. During a bout of illness that landed him in the hospital, Wallrath purportedly signed over the ranch to a few of his family members including his children, grandson, and son-in-law. He later argued that the agreement was illegitimate, but the relatives fought until a settlement rendered Wallrath the ranch’s sole owner in 2015. He subsequently wrote the opposing parties out of his will.
Location scouting turns up the ranch’s 2,200-sq.-ft. saloon, which includes space for dining and dancing:
There’s also this frontier-themed office building:
As well as a covered arena. . .
And outdoor arena.
Here’s some room for the extras:
Windows from Wallrath’s former company front the lawn outside this building:
It’s one of 10 human living spaces on the property, including the 3-bed, 2-bath main house, 4,500-sq.-ft. second owner’s house, 2,698-sq.-ft. manager’s house, slightly smaller bunkhouse, cattle manager’s house, and 5 additional ranch houses.
Butt-jointed windows wall in this waterfront den:
A 3,400-tree peach orchard accompanied by a 6,250-sq.-ft. processing barn is one of a handful of work structures on the property including a tractor shop, smoke house, and livestock barn.
36 oil and gas wells also dot the property, all of which — as well as future mineral rights — are included in the sale offer. 14 working water wells are included, too. In terms of surface water, more than 20 lakes, rivers, and ponds extend across the land.
- Saloon, private lake, and a personal peach orchard all come with sprawling Texas ranch for sale [Houston Chronicle]
- Texas’ Legendary Champion Ranch Hits Global Market With Proceeds To Benefit Multiple Charities [Icon Global]
- Dick Wallrath Keeps His Ranch [Buffalo Express]
- Atrium fined $2 million for using illegal workers [Plastics News]
- Previously on Swamplot: Local Window Manufacturing Operation Goes Out the Window
Photo: Icon Global