Ranch Life Learning

The Cash Family Ranch Life Learning Center

Experience the real West at this 27-acre museum and outdoor historical park... (read more)

Ranch Life Books

The National Ranching Heritage Center is proud to partner with author... (read more)

Hank the Cowdog Podcast

“It’s me again, Hank the Cowdog!” — this opening statement has been the start of... (read more)

Ranch Life Books

The National Ranching Heritage Center is proud to partner with author John R. Erickson in a five-book Ranch Life Learning series that explains ranch life through the humorous voice of Hank the Cowdog. These books are written to engage students in learning about ranching and to serve as a resource book for science and social studies classes.

Questions about using Ranch Life Activities? Contact Julie Hodges:

Email Julie!

Check out these videos from Helen DeVitt Jones Director of education on how to use these resources at home!


Questions about using Ranch Life Activities? Contact Julie Hodges:

Email Julie!


Check back here for information about upcoming teacher workshops and news!

Want a paperback version?

All books of the series can be purchased for $6.99 at Cogdell’s General Store inside the NRHC, or you can order from Maverick Books. All books are also available on Amazon.

Generous gifts from George Clay, the Don Kay Clay Cash Foundation, and Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo provided for publication and donation of the  books to area students. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the books are donated to NRHC Education efforts.

If you would like to purchase Ranch Life books in quantities of 100 or more, please download this order form:

Ranch Life Books Order Form

The Cash Family Ranch Life Learning Center

Featuring Hank the Cowdog

Forty years ago the doors of the National Ranching Heritage Center (NRHC) opened for the first time. The mission was clear: preserve and bring to life the mystique of early ranch life in the American Southwest. Since the doors opened on July 4, 1976, hundreds of thousands of people have come through our facility. The NRHC is now recognized as the No. 1 visitor attraction in Lubbock. We constantly search for ways to enrich our visitors’ experiences and increase our public exposure. We have developed a plan to substantially enrich the experience of all who walk through our doors. It is called the Ranch Life Learning Center.

This center is designed to give an accurate, adult level ranch life educational experience in a format that will absolutely enrich the lives of children of all ages. This information will be communicated through the character and language of a very familiar ranch personality—Hank the Cowdog. Children will learn, perhaps for the first time, how beef cattle are the “magic machines that turn grass into beef.” Adults will learn, perhaps for the first time, such little understood concepts as how the four-chambered ruminant stomach really works. The Ranch Life Learning Center will be an indoor/ outdoor comprehensive learning experience.

The Payne Foundation of Pampa, Texas, awarded the Ranching Heritage Association a grant of $50,000 to conceptualize and plan this new venue. They wanted us to dream big. We are now seeking funds to make building modifications, construct additional structures and equip the site with appropriate ranch equipment and features. Our quest for these funds includes solicitations to foundations, businesses, industries and individuals. Abundant naming opportunities will be available. We expect the Ranch Life Learning Center to enrich the visitor experience so dramatically at the NRHC that annual attendance figures may increase by 400%. This will, in turn, bring its own set of challenges, but the challenges of success are always easy to meet. Watch with bated breath while we move into this exciting new phase of life at the National Ranching Heritage Center.

To learn more about the Ranch Life Learning Center, contact Julie Hodges at 806-742-0498.

Hank the Cowdog Podcast

Listen and Learn!

“It’s me again, Hank the Cowdog!” — this opening statement has been the start of over 74 children’s books in an ongoing series by John R. Erickson which has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. Now, that very same line will open a brand-new podcast series starring Matthew McConaughey as none other than…”Hank the Cowdog.”

From Tri-State Pictures, HTC Productions and QCODE, “Hank the Cowdog” is written, directed and executive produced by Jeff Nichols (SHOTGUN STORIES, TAKE SHELTER, MUD, MIDNIGHT SPECIAL and LOVING) and stars McConaughey as HANK who will also serve as an executive producer. The 5-episode season, which will also feature original musical numbers, will launch on September 14 through QCODE and be available on Apple Podcasts and all major podcast platforms.

The pairing reunites the two who collaborated on the 2012 film, MUD. McConaughey is joined by a fantastic supporting cast which includes Jesse Plemons, Cynthia Erivo, Kirsten Dunst, Leslie Jordan, Joel Edgerton, Scoot McNairy, Michael Shannon and John R. Erickson. Nichols and McConaughey are joined by executive producers Sarah Green & Brian Kavanaugh-Jones of Tri-State Pictures, Mark Erickson of HTC Productions and Rob Herting of QCODE.

The National Ranching Heritage Center at Texas Tech University has partnered with the Hank the Cowdog podcast family to create educational material for each episode of the podcast. These activities are aligned with national curriculum standards and feature activities that focus on literacy, science, STEM, and social and emotional well-being.

 Listen now on Apple Podcasts!

Launch @ApplePodcasts

Learning with podcast activities is a hands-on way to engage listeners and can be followed up with the Ranch Life Learning with Hank the Cowdog book series and educational activities.