Gerald Lyda was a San Antonio general contractor who built landmarks such as the Tower of the Americas and the Alamodome. But cowboying was in his blood, and he loved to buy and sell ranches throughout the Southwest. Just ask top-ranked Ted Turner, who bought New Mexico’s 156,439-acre Ladder Ranch from Lyda in 1992. Lyda put the proceeds from that sale into a 1031 Exchange and bought the Elsinore Ranch in Far West Texas, which he rechristened La Escalera (”ladder” in Spanish). His three children and their families now run La Escalera. Tours of the Escalera Ranch website are highly recommended.