Gene Lyda

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Gene Lyda was raised in the San Antonio, Texas area and gained regional fame as a professional bull rider. Lyda now manages the Fort Stockton Division of La Escalera Ranch, one of the largest Black Angus cattle ranches in Texas.

Gene Lyda was born in the South Texas brush country in Nixon, Texas on June 20, 1947. Lyda competed in the bareback bronc riding, roping and bull riding as a youth. In 1966, he won the State High School Bull Riding Championship in Hallettsville, Texas, the 1966 National High School Bull Riding championship in Wetumka, Oklahoma and the Levi's Award - Reserve All Around Cowboy Championship.

He immediately joined the Rodeo Cowboys Association (now the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) and competed in the bull riding at intercollegiate rodeos while on a rodeo scholarship with Southwest Texas Junior College in Uvalde, Texas. In 1967, Lyda won the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Reserve Champion Bull Riding title.

Lyda competed professionally at National Western Stock Show Rodeo, Grand National Rodeo, Cheyenne Frontier Days, Pendleton Round-Up, American Royal Rodeo, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo and Calgary Stampede. In 1967, he qualified to compete at the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma as one of the Top 15 Bull Riders in the nation. At the Finals, Lyda rode 7 out of 8 bulls at the National Finals Rodeo.

When his father Gerald Lyda acquired ranch property in New Mexico, Lyda was chosen to manage the family cattle operations and eventually established a headquarters on the family-owned Ladder Ranch, near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico in Sierra County.

When media mogul Ted Turner and his then-wife Jane Fonda purchased Ladder Ranch, rather than re-branding the 5,000 family-owned cattle, Lyda registered the brand in Texas under the Spanish word for "ladder" and relocated the cattle to a new ranch, La Escalera Ranch, where Lyda and his family have lived since the early 1980s.

La Escalera Ranch now extends over portions of Pecos County, Brewster County, Baylor County and Archer County. The ranch is currently owned and operated by La Escalera Limited Partnership, a family entity controlled by Lyda siblings, Gene Lyda, Gerald D. Lyda and Eunita Jo Lyda.

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