Staff Bios

Bill Melson, General Manager

Bill Melson, the general manager of Cox Ranch and Sweetwater Land and Cattle Company, has been involved with horses and cattle all his life.

Growing up in and around the West Texas town of Odessa, Bill naturally was involved with horses, cattle and rodeos in his youth. Some 45 years ago at age 21, he went to work at the Rocker b Ranch near Big Lake, Texas. Since then he has been involved in both horse and cattle reproduction and management.

Bill joined Bobby Cox as manager of Western Hills Ranch near Abilene, Texas, in 1977 and in 1978 they established Winner Maker Farm in Gardendale, Texas, just north of the Midland-Odessa area. By the early 1990’s, the broodmare band at Winner Maker had grown to more than 100 and included some of the best racing-bred mares in the American Quarter Horse industry.

At Winner Maker, Bill stood the World Champion Merganser, leading sire Zevi (TB), leading sire By Yawl, the World Champion sire Special Task and the Champion Make Mine Bud. Using those stallions, some outside stallions in which Bobby Cox owned shares and the outstanding herd of Cox Ranch mares, Bobby Cox soon became one of the nation’s leading and most respected breeders.

In 2007, Bobby Cox moved his long-time employee and friend Bill to the Cox Ranch in Peaster, Texas, to become the general manager of it and Sweetwater Land and Cattle Company.

Bill and his wife Patricia, who have been married since 1964, reside on the Peaster ranch. Their daughter Sheridan lives in nearby Lewisville. Son Shawn and wife LaDonna live in San Antonio with children Chad and Morgan. Son Jordan and wife Becky live in Odessa with twins Paxton and Palyn.


Mike Turner, Assistant Manager

Originally from Tecumeseh, Oklahoma. Mike’s been horsing around for years. He has been involved in the Quarter Horse business both personally and occupationally for most of his life. Before joining Cox Ranches in November of 2009, Mike spent 30 years at some of the leading ranches in the racing industry, which has allowed him to experience almost every aspect of the Quarter Horse business.




Leslie R. Turner, DVM-Resident Veterinarian

Dr Leslie Turner, originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, received her Bachelors from DePaul University and her DVM from Purdue University. She has concentrated her practice in equine reproduction for the past 30 years working at 440 Ranches, Roy Browning Ranch and Fulton Ranch before joining the Cox Ranch staff in November 2009.

Mike and Leslie have been married for 28 years and have three children. Brandon recently received his Masters from Texas Tech University and is now working in Dallas. Kara is majoring in Spanish and Nursing at Hardin Simmons University, and Ryan is a junior at TCU.


Jill Harrawood – Veterinary Assistant

Jill joined Cox Ranch in February, 2010 as a Veterinary Assistant. She received her Bachelors in Equine Science and Nutrition from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. Jill also has a minor in Beef Management.

Her previous job experience is from Lazy E Ranch in the areas of breeding internship, sale prep, and hydrotherapy. She also worked for Oklahoma Stud Ranch as an office assistant, semen shipping coordinator, and sales prep.

Cox Ranch is glad to have Jill as a valuable member of our team.


Donna Dill – Ranch Secretary

A newcomer to the ranch business, coming to the Cox Ranch/Sweetwater Land and Cattle in September, 2008. A seasoned veteran in the office world with 25 years of experience. She takes pride in being a dedicated, dependable team member with a pleasant disposition, good work ethics and excellent customer skills.

Married to Jim for 34 years, they have two children Jared and Jennifer. Jared lives in Crowley with his wife Tammy and daughter Shelby, while Jennifer lives in Houston and attends the Houston Art Institute full-time. Weatherford has been their home for the last seventeen years after moving from the HEB area in 1993.