Open RX Ranch, Ellen and Conrad Masterson 1062 CR 188, Cee Vee, TX 79223

About Us


Ellen spent 35 years in the accounting and finance field, including a professional career with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and a stint as CFO of American General Corporation In Houston, prior to its acquisition by AIG. She retired in June 2008 and enter the next phase of life, first and foremost as a rancher’s wife. After ten years of extensive international travel with PwC, life in Cee Vee provides an attractive retirement alternative. There are, however, a few places in the world that Conrad and Ellen still hope to visit, so travel is sure to factor into their future plans. Ellen has a Bachelor of Arts from Emory University and an MBA from SMU, and is a CPA licensed in the states of Texas and New York (inactive).

Ellen resumed her volunteer work with a few, select non-profit organizations, including serving on the Board of Directors of the organization now known as Forefront Living, a provider of senior living communities and hospice care. In 2014, she joined the board of Westwood Holdings Group, a public investment management company headquartered in Dallas, and later joined the boards of Insperity Inc in Houston and The Doctors Company In Napa. She stays busy on these corporate boards as well as gardening and working on the ranch. Ellen enjoys her affiliation with both First United Methodist Church of Childress and First Presbyterian Church of Dallas. Ellen is a founding member of the Dallas chapter of the International Women’s Forum and a sustaining member of the Junior League of Dallas.


Conrad was a serial entrepreneur who had 30 years of experience in commercialization of technology. Two of the six early stage technology companies Conrad has led or helped launch grew to become public companies. Conrad also has a life-long interest in science and technology. He was the founder and president of the Nanotechnology Foundation of Texas, and he has become a thought leader in the opportunities that this field of technology brings to Houston and Texas. He was actively involved with the founding of both the Houston Technology Center and the Fort Worth technology incubator. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and physics and a Masters degree in business administration from the University of Oklahoma.

He is also active in community affairs. Conrad was a board member of the Gulf Coast Regional Center for Innovation and Commercialization since its founding. He was a board member of Interfaith Housing Coalition of Dallas and Visionwalk International. He was a member of the University of Houston College of Engineering Board of Advisors for six years until 2009. He is currently a member of the Board of Advocates for the Dodge Family College of Arts & Sciences, and received a Regents Award for his help with the Price College of Business Administration at the University of Oklahoma.

From 2010 until 2016 he was the Cottle County Republican Chairman, re-launching the organization after if had been inactive for several years so that the county could vote in Republican Primaries. Prior to that, everyone in Cottle County voted as a Democrat. He turned this over to a friend but he still remains active in local and Texas politics.

In the Fall of 2021, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Red River Authority of Texas by Governor Abbott. The RRA primarily provides water utility services to a 15 county area and planning, resource conservation and management, reclamation, development and environmental protection for the 43 Texas counties in the in the Red River Basin.

Book Collection

When in high school in the late 50s, Conrad began reading books on the American West and started collecting a few, mostly on the fur trade. In College, he met E. E. Dale, a promenate western historian and he was inspired by a fraternity brother to get more engaged with his small collection. He started following the OU Press and the books they published and would search their inventory for new publications as well as out of print books that were still in stock.

After graduating, Conrad continued to collect and narrowed his interest to histories of ranches located in the 17 states located west of the Mississippi River. Eventually he started collecting First Edition copies of these histories. By the early 2000s, his collection had grown to over 500 first edition books and ephemera all focused on western ranch history supplemented with a few important books on the range cattle industry. It was one of the premier collections in the nation. Books he had bought as used books when in high school and college for a few dollars were worth hundreds of dollars.

Because no one in the family continued his interest, Conrad and Ellen donated the collection to the Western History Collection (WHC) at the University of Oklahoma in 2015. It is housed in its own room in the library in Monet Hall. Pictured below is the room that is also used student study groups and other small meetings.

He continues collecting ranch histories adding to his collection. These books will be donated to the WHC.

Salt Block Art Contest

In 2013 and 2014, we organized the first Salt Block Art Contests in the panhandle area in conjunction with Paducah’s Pioneer Day celebration. Salt Block Art is a creation of a farm or wild animal. Ranchers feed 25 pound blocks of salt to livestock. The livestock or some wild animals like deer, lick them into unusual shapes. The rules for this event were that the art must have been created by a wild (e.g. deer), farm, or ranch animal. No human licking was allowed! Shown below are the winners.

Since Pioneer Day has stopped, the Salt Block Art Contest also stopped, but it was fun to do for a couple of years.

Our New “Baby”

Cheyenne joined us in the summer of 2010. Ellen takes her on a two mile walk every morning. She loves to jump into the stock tank to cool off after a walk.


My constant companion and our wonderful dog, Browser, was with us for almost nine years. She was born on September 12, 2001. She died suddenly on May 11, 2010.

Browser loved to bring me my tennis shoes because she knew we were going outside. When we lived in Houston, she felt it was her responsibility to bring in the two papers every morning. On Sunday, when we only had one paper, she often tried to get a neighbors paper so she could meet her full quota!

She thought we bought the ranch for her. She loved it. When we were loading up to go to Dallas, she would recognize what we were doing and hide in the office. We had to make her get in the car because she knew we were leaving the ranch. When we returned, she recognized Childress and would get excited about getting home again.

On the day she died, she was fine all day. She had a great walk with Ellen, went to the garden to watched us weed. Had a drink from the horse tough. Joined us for dinner with a neighbor. At 8 pm, she had a bone to chew on. At 8:15 has was in distress. We loaded her into the truck and headed to town. Before we could meet her vet, she had died of bloat.

Her last day was happy until the very end. We buried her on a point of land 20 yards north of our patio where she often chased deer

Our End of the Rainbow

Below is a rainbow over our house on April 12, 2009 after a 1″ rain.

Sunrise the next day (April 13).