New Aggie Barn Rises Between Austin And College Station
A newly constructed barn sits on a hill overlooking Highway 21 between College Station and Austin. This barn is not ordinary, as it sports a painted “Howdy!” for all who pass on the highway to see. Most recognizable of all is the barn color: Aggie maroon.
Barn owners Betsy ’72 and Bob Carpenter ’70 both started their college careers at Baylor. Bob soon realized that Baylor wasn’t the right fit and made the move to College Station. Betsy, having met Bob through a date set up by Bob’s sister, followed Bob to Aggieland and was among the first classes of women to attend Texas A&M. “There were only 50 of us,” she said.
Later while living in Bastrop, Betsy attended the University of Texas for her master’s and doctoral degrees, but remained an Aggie at heart. She has class rings from both UT and A&M, but says the Aggie Ring is “something special; it’s a bond.”
When the Carpenters inherited the Highway 21 property from Betsy’s mother in January 2023, plans soon arose to transform it into a place to honor their Aggie heritage and “for the enjoyment of [their] family and friends.” The property – named the Kauffman Owens (KO) Ranch after Betsy’s parents – is south of Highway 21 between Paige and Manheim.
Construction began Feb. 15 on the barn and Bob’s private shop, which can also be seen from the highway and features a large “WHOOP!!” on its side. The exteriors of the barns were finished near the end of March, with the larger barn’s interior and Aggie graphic finished by July. Artwork on the large barn includes family Class years and a family tree.
As Fish Camp namesakes for 2023, Betsy and Bob welcomed their camp counselors to the barn in July. While visiting, counselors were treated to fun and games including a hayride and karaoke. Betsy’s hope for the weekend was for the visiting counselors to view the barn property “as a special place to come and enjoy nature … and just have a respite from the world’s hectic pace.”
The barn is rooted in A&M spirit and traditions, and Betsy hopes it can be a “place to start new traditions.”