A man in a collared shirt and blue jeans stands in a field with his hands in his pockets
Born and raised in the Childress area, Jared Session grew up in ranching and decided to make a career of it.

Jared Session is a man of the land—specifically, the Rolling Plains of the southeastern Texas Panhandle. Born and raised in Childress, Session left only long enough to earn a degree in ranch and feedlot operations at nearby Clarendon College before returning to work on the Buckle L Ranch south of town. Now, he shares his love of the land and the rural lifestyle with his wife, Suzy Session, and their three children. Surrounded by some of the nation’s best cattle country, Childress took shape with the merging of two frontier towns and the arrival of the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway in 1887. As the Childress County seat, Childress became a center of trade and government, as well as a hub for agribusiness and ranching—a status it retains today. Only a few towns dot this part of the Rolling Plains, which locals refer to as the “Greenbelt” because it tends to get more rain than the rest of the Panhandle. Once home to millions of bison, the productive grasslands that carpet the 100th meridian are now the kingdom of their bovine cousins. Here, the image of the American cowboy remains a symbol of rugged individualism. “You hear a lot of people say this, but the appeal to being a rancher is that everything is different every single day,” Session says. “I don’t know that I’ll ever do anything else.”

The Ranching Life

“I was raised on a ranch just north of Childress, so I guess you can say it’s in my blood. My dad was in the ranching business since before I was born. Being raised and immersed in the business from an early age and being exposed to the lifestyle of a rancher, it’s just something to which I have always gravitated, and it’s what I love to do. Caring for cattle, not being tied to an office, and making my living outdoors is
like living a dream.”

 

Getting Around

“From its founding, Childress has always been a small town out here on the frontier. It was formed along the railroad, and even now the railroad and the highway bring people through every day. People may not ever have come here had it not been for the mobility that transportation provides. As such, you can see the influence of the transportation industry here. Go downtown and see the brick streets that were laid by hand in the 1920s and the old steam engine that sits on display.”

 

The Stock Show

“I showed animals when I was young, and so we like our kids raising animals and showing them through our local 4-H program. My 10-year-old son shows pigs and goats, and my 7-year-old twins will show livestock as soon as they’re old enough. Raising animals is a great way to teach kids responsibility for a life other than their own. Childress has a new event center, so we have a great facility for our livestock show. It’s great to see all of the families and kids who participate and help one another.”

 

Childress City Limits

“What’s nice about the area is that it’s not hard to really be in the country when you leave the city limits. The terrain and the views around here are nice, and the area is full of natural beauty. When I go out to eat though, it’s hard to go wrong with JT’s Drive In. I really like the burgers, but the barbecue is also great. Because Childress is isolated, we have a few national brands, but most of the eating places are local.”

 

Small-Town Values

“While Childress is my hometown and where I went to school, I grew up living outside the city limits. There are a lot of nice places in town, but I really enjoy being in the country. The town is full of great people, and we have lots of businesses for a small town. The thing I like about it is that even though Childress is a little ‘bigger’ than most places in this region, it’s still a small town and has all of the benefits of small-town values. Here, you truly know everybody: your neighbors, the teachers at the school, and the people you do business with. Everyone here is ready to help others. Because I had a good experience of being raised in Childress, I want the same for my kids. I really never saw a reason to leave and go somewhere else.”

Town Trivia:

Population:
6,048

Number of Stoplights:
5

Year founded:
1887

Nearest City:
Wichita Falls, 108 miles southeast

Marquee Event:
Greenbelt Bowl All-Star Football Classic, a high school game held annually in June

Map it:

Childress County Heritage Museum, 210 Third St. NW

From the September 2021 issue
The September 2021 cover of Texas Highways Magazine


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The September 2021 cover of Texas Highways Magazine


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The September 2021 cover of Texas Highways Magazine


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