The Land Report

2019 TX

The Magazine of the American Landowner is an essential guide for investors, landowners, and those interested in buying or selling land. The award-winning quarterly is known for its annual survey of America's largest landowners, The Land Report 100.

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In 1962, Duen Kelsey was help- ing a neighbor when an augur shorted and electrocuted him. He did not sur- vive. Shortly afterward, one of T.D.'s uncles called. He owned a crop-dusting business and asked the teenager if he "planned to be a fly boy" like his dad. "He found an old Piper J-5 in Soda Springs, Idaho, and I traded three rifles for it," T.D. recalls. "We went there, pumped up the tires, drained the oil out, warmed it up, and put it back in so we could get it started. He flew me around Soda Springs a few times, and we did three or four landings. en he said, 'You're good. I'll see you in Blackfoot.' I flew back following the high- way and was shaking the entire time. It In 1950, the Kelseys left Idaho for Montana. At first, they rented a place on the edge of Bozeman. Soon afterward, they moved 20 miles north to a small ranch next to a national forest. A 55-gal- lon drum fashioned into a wood stove heated the dirt-floored log cabin. e kids slept in one room; the parents in the other. Running water came from a creek, and when nature called, the outhouse was a short, often chilly walk. In an unpublished memoir, T.D.'s younger brother Mike described those early days: "[T.D.] was Dad's shadow. ey fished, hunted, and broke horses together. Terry rode saddle bronc in rodeos, wrestled, and loved to draw when he was young." It's a revealing anecdote, one that illustrates much about this fascinating character. No one ever taught T.D. how to sculpt. e plain-spoken cowboy just picked up some clay and started sculpt- ing. Piloting a plane? His professional career can be traced to a morning's lessons in a Piper J-5. (P.S. is lack of formal training did not prevent United Airlines from hiring him to fly DC-6s and 727s. More about this episode later.) In that rarest of genres – the self- made man – the diminutive cowboy stands head and shoulders above all comers. "I've never met anyone like him," says Herbert Allen of Allen & Company. "Everything T.D. touches he does at a world-class level. He's an accomplished artist, a self-taught pilot, and a world- class hunter." is self-reliance is on full display the morning e Land Report arrives at his West Texas ranch. A norther had pummeled the Rolling Plains, and power was out at the T Lazy S Ranch. For that matter, so was cell phone service. Not to worry. An oversized enamel coffee pot, the big blue kind found in most chuck wagons, sat burping in the fireplace. "I drink 10 or 12 cups a day," T.D. says. "We weren't about to do without coffee." Short, with a trim, athletic build perfect for the saddle or the cockpit of an old crop duster, he points to the mounted big game heads that cover the walls. "I've never been a trophy hunter. I shot most of these for camp meat," he says. His soft, quick speech isn't quite Texan. It comes across more like that of a Wyoming cowboy. I was close. Terry Duen Kelsey was born in 1946 in the town of Shelley in Southeastern Idaho. His father, Duen Kelsey, piloted a P-51 Mustang dur- ing World War II. After V-E Day, he continued to fly as a crop duster and established an airfield in Blackfoot, which became his base. T.D.'s mother, Jean, stayed home and raised him, his sister, Susan, and their three brothers. IN THE BUSH A four-day trip to Zimbabwe in 1985 has blossomed into a full-blown love affair with Africa. T.D. is shown here trekking through a swamp in Gabon (below). 62 L ANDREP ORT.COM e LandReport | TEX AS 20 19

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