Purchase photos

Winning ranch bid comes in at $8.5M





Bidding for the 12,900-acre Pyramid Ranch in Gove County -- home to one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas -- has ended with a winning bid of $8.5 million.

Now, it's up to the Theis family to decide if the bid's acceptable.

When that might happen is uncertain, said auctioneer Mark Faulkner, whose Ulysses firm handled the sale.

"I guess the auction is over, but we don't have a contract," he said late Wednesday, "so we haven't sold the ranch."

A final bid of $8.5 million -- almost $658 an acre -- was submitted about noon Wednesday, Faulkner said, bringing the telephone auction for the historic ranch to a close.

A working ranch, it also is chock full of history, containing Monument Rocks, the state's first National Natural Landmark. Locally known as the pyramids, Monument Rocks is one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas, an honor it shares with Castle Rock in the eastern part of Gove County.

Pyramid Ranch also is home to Fort Monument, a stage station for the Butterfield Overland Despatch, which operated along the Smoky Hill Trail.

Even with the auction over, the ranch might not be sold, or the Theis family -- the owners of the ranch -- could continue negotiations with the prospective buyer to reach an acceptable price.

The sale, Faulkner said, is subject to owner confirmation.

Speculation as to the prospective buyer's identity has been running rampant, he said.

"I've had all kinds of people asking if it's Ted Turner or was it a foreigner," Faulkner said.

He wouldn't disclose who the high bidder was, pending confirmation of the sale.

"It's not a foreigner," he said.

The buyer's name is expected to be made public once a contract is signed or a deed filed with the Gove County Register of Deeds office.

Faulkner on Tuesday said bidding had continued among six people after last week's deadline for initial bids. Two of the bidders dropped out, leaving only four in the race Tuesday to offer the highest bid.