Ranching, Real Estate and the River
Brandon is a proud Texan. The Kuykendall family, his mother’s people, were part of the Old 300, the original colonists who came to Texas under the leadership of Stephen F. Austin.
The first Bownds settled near Utopia on the Sabinal River in 1885. The family’s roots are deep in the rugged hills and rocky soil of Uvalde County.
“Except for a very short stint, I’ve always lived in sight of the Sabinal River,” said Bownds, noting that he has a soft spot for live water. “It’s not a stretch to say my life has been shaped by land and water.”
And entrepreneurship. . . His grandfather, John Bownds, opened the Bownds Real Estate Business in the early 1960s as a complement to the family’s commercial cattle operation. His father, Ronald Bownds, a geologist by degree, left the oilfields in the mid-1980s and returned to ranching and real estate in the late 1980s. Using a spring on the family ranch as the source, Ron also founded the successful Utopia Water Company.
“Dad started selling bottled water way before it was a thing,” Brandon said. “People looked at him like he was crazy—and now bottled water is just as big as Coca-Cola.”