SAN ANTONIO, TX – Each morning after he wakes up, William Gray gets to live a dream. Just steps from the back door of his Southeast Bexar County home is what he considers a labor of love—a working cattle ranch.
"This is my love, my passion,” he said one recent morning, looking out over green pastures. “But it's not my job. No. You can't really make a living doing this."
Although he owns and operates Gray Cattle Company, he said his real “cash cow” is his engraving business which he also runs out of his home, located off Loop 1604 near New Sulphur Springs Road.
Ranching may not be in this native Ohioan’s blood, but it has captured his heart.
He begins each day, touring the property on a golf cart and checking on his herd, which is mostly self-sufficient. Gray makes sure, though, that there is enough water and grass available to feed his 30 or so head of Black Angus.
His animals, with oddly furry ears, are an unusual breed which he carefully crafted throughout the years. Gray said he raises them mostly for breeding, rather than eating.
“If you really want to pin us down, we're in the bull business, meaning we're keeping almost all the females,” he said. “The males are separated out. They are sold to herds," he said.
At one point, he said, he had about 70 or 80 head of cattle. Nature, though, helped to scale that number down to what it is today.
“When the drought hit-- we went through about 6, 7, 8 years of drought and during that period, the herd just kept getting smaller,” Gray said.
While it has been a struggle to maintain at times, Gray said he wouldn’t have it any other way. Even after he hangs up his hat as an engraver, he plans to keep his hands busy on his ranch.
"It's a very enjoyable way of life and I'll probably do what I do when I'm fully retired," Gray said.