The 5,000-Acre Centerville Ranch That Champion Window Built, Now for Sale and Ready for Its Next Film Shoot

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.

Photo: Icon Global

The Sequel

6 Comment

  • Gosh, I’d like to buy this with my imaginary millions of dollars, but it seems like a maintenance nightmare.

  • Technically, Champion Windows didn’t “buy” this, the hundreds of illegals he hired did. He dominated the Houston window business for decades. Only later did the industry learn he did it by using hundreds of illegals, paid them below market wages, and no benefits. He is a cheat and a crook.

  • A cheat and a crook for employing/training low-skilled immigrants who were probably thrilled to be working so they could feed their families and improve their lives. Lol. “You didn’t build that!”

  • The Chron article linked below this post says 5,000 acres. Are you guys missing a zero?

  • @Garden Villain We are, and we’ve just corrected it. Thank you!

  • @Formica, It sounds crooked to me! Innocents don’t get fined $2,000,000 by the U.S. government.