Eddie Parker
1995 Angus Journal
Central Region Land
Stewardship Winner

Karen’s childhood dream was to run a ranch. Eddie prayed to God to meet his mate. And meet they did...as students the first week at Oklahoma State University. Looking back now, it was no coincidence that the two young people talked about "ranching" on their very first date.

After a three-year courtship, the two were married just before their senior year. Their first move after graduation was to Kansas City, MO, where Eddie worked as a feed ingredient merchandizer for Farmland Industries. While living there, two major events happened. The couple purchased 100 acres of land in Jefferson Co. Oklahoma, and they made the decision to return to Oklahoma to ranch in the near future.

Eddie and Karen eventually made the move back to Oklahoma with him "working in the field" for Farmland. Karen worked briefly for Halliburton Co. in Duncan as an illustrator and also raised baby calves Eddie contracted from local dairies. Meanwhile, additional leases were being put together. But between working for companies and trying to farm and ranch after work, the decision was made to quit their jobs and go into ranching full time.

In the early ’80s, Parker Ranch involved a stocker operation and a small herd of crossbred cows. Also, additional cattle were taken in on the gain. But after awhile, the "pots" kept rollin’ in and the "burn out" dragon raised his ugly head. During this time, the Parker’s had purchased a set of registered Polled Hereford cows from Karen’s dad and they decided the cow/calf deal might be a better way to go. For awhile they raised registered Polled Herefords and then with the acquisition of good J.D. Hudgins’ gray Brahman bulls, the pair began to raise F-1 Braford bulls and replacement heifers.


In 1988, after difficulties locating Polled Hereford replacements, Karen & Eddie went to southeast Kansas to look at a herd of registered Angus for sale due to drought conditions. Going to Kansas with enough money to buy 40 head, Eddie soon called his banker after arriving, requesting funds to purchase the man’s entire herd of 167 cows with calves.

From 1988 to 1992 the couple raised four breeds: Angus, Brangus, Polled Herefords and F-1 Brafords. But in 1992, loss of a lease plus the beginnings of a severe drought forced the Parkers to make some serious decisions. A dispersion was made of all cattle, with exception of the Angus. It was also in 1992 that the purchase of several embryos began quite a long story for the Parker Ranch. (Click here for the full story.)

Alvin and Loyce Parker,
"Eddie's parents"

Leona and Harry Elwell,
"Karen's parents"

Ruslyn Parker

Casey and Ruslyn Ramsey
September 13, 2003
Photo taken at
Monument Hill, lookout
point on the Chisholm Trail,
near Addington, Oklahoma.
Photo taken by Steve Hinshaw.

Our grandkids,
Cody and Caitlyn Ramsey

A little bit about our families. We would not be here now without their support and their encouragement especially during the hard times. Eddie's parents, Alvin and Loyce Parker lived about two miles east of where our ranch headquarters were established in 1980. They worked as a husband/wife team on their ranch, raising 5 children and two grandchildren, while running crossbred cows along with raising cotton and wheat. Eddie has related stories to me of when he hoed/picked cotton with his family growing up. They had a strong work ethic. Years later, kids grown, we watched their feed truck drive past our house as they went to care for their cattle or mend a fence. We loved helping them and they always wanted to help us in our work. We shared many meals together... and enjoyed the fresh produce out of their garden. We were blessed that our daughter Ruslyn got to grow up around her paternal grandparents.

Karen's parents, Harry and Leona Elwell, lived in the north central Oklahoma community of Perry. Harry raised wheat and ran steers up into his 80's, along with owning and operating an auto parts store. In the early '30s, he worked as a cowboy for the McCarty Ranch near Nara Visa, New Mexico. It was composed of 60 sections and ran cattle and sheep. Leona grew up on a farm near Marshall, Oklahoma. Her parents later bought a farm about 12 miles east of Red Rock, Oklahoma. That farm now lies under Sooner Lake. But for Karen, it was those early years visiting her maternal grandparents farm east of Red Rock, that developed her love for the farm and ranch way of life.

Our daughter Ruslyn, our only child, grew up on the ranch working along side her parents and grandparents. She attended USAO on a basketball scholarship and graduated from Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas with a degree in business management. After graduation at MSU, she decided to further her education at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. Being only 24 miles from Karen's parents in Perry, Ruslyn was blessed to share weekends visiting with them. In July 2003, she graduated from OSU with a Masters Degree in Agricultural Economics. In September 2003, she married Casey Ramsey and together they are farming and ranching. They have given us two wonderful grandchildren, Cody and Caitlyn.

From 40 years ago, when Karen and Eddie first met and discussed building a ranch, Parker Ranch has grown into an operation of 6,000+ acres, with the acquisition of the Chism Ranch in January of 2002.

There is a poem which was cut from a magazine years ago...It is now tattered and yellowed from age, but remains tacked on the wall of our office. It sums up how we feel about the agricultural way of life.

It’s just another workday,
I’m up before the sun
To do the things I have to do
Before the day is done.
I’ll hear the rooster crowing,
Hold warm earth in my hand,
Walk through the fields of burley green,
Breathe life into this land.
The work is hard and thankless,
No crowds will stand and cheer,
But there’s no place in all the world
I’d rather be than here.
So I’ll labor until sunset,
Then bow my head to pray;
No matter what tomorrow brings,
Thank God I had today.
-Mary Q. Wright, Campbellsville, KY

Parker Ranch
Eddie & Karen Parker
17114 E 1940 Rd
Waurika, OK 73573
Eddie Cell: (580) 313-0248
Karen Cell: (580) 313-0249

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