The Rawhide Company, REALTORS® has been in business since 1973, making us one of the oldest independent real estate firms in El Paso County. It was started by my dad, Ken Barber, who remains the Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Dad was born in Nashville, Tennessee and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. He attended two years at Davidson College in North Carolina before entering the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated with a degree in engineering.
During his twenty-one years in the air force, Ken flew 300 combat missions in Korea as a fighter pilot. He was a member of the 1952 U.S. Olympic Modern Pentathalon team, taught at the School for Latin America in Panama, and was one of the initial cadre of instructors at the US Air Force Academy. He served a stint (this one seems scary to me) as a nuclear-physicist at a weapons lab in New Mexico, and flew around inspecting military bases with the Inspector General's office. He probably did a lot more that I don't know about because I was busy being a professional kid while all this was happening.
While at the Air Force Academy in the late 50's, Ken met up with Bob Moore, his present partner in Bent Tree, and Jack Wogan, two other fellows who didn't play golf and needed something to keep them occupied. They searched for a piece of land and wound up in the boondocks east of a wide spot in the road called Monument, Colorado. I later asked dad why they bought there and he said it was the only place they could afford to buy, and the rancher, Dave Higby, was the only guy they could get to sell them a piece of his land. They found an honest banker named John Armstrong, who was willing to take a flyer on some green kids and developed their first subdivision called Arrowwood I.
The project was a success and they plowed the profits back into more dirt. MBW, as their partnership was known, became Wakonda Western, Inc. and during the next fifteen years they developed, sold or participated in many of the subdivisions we resell today: Arrowwood II & III, Wakonda Hills, Shamrock Hills, Kingswood, Canterbury, Pine Cone Acres, the Bricker 160, the Roller Coaster 200 and Chaparral Hills.
During this period, Ken also formed companies for the development of mountain land projects such as Badger Creek Ranch, Druid Hills, as well as several partnerships which made local investments.
In 1972, Ken formed Mountain America, Inc. with Bill Poleson, designed as the first ethical, fully-licensed mountain land sales force in Colorado. Over the years, this team developed and sold the Buffalo, Lost Park Ranch, Stagestop, and Silverheels, all in Park County.
In 1973, Ken and his original partners went their separate ways to pursue other interests, and Ken formed The Rawhide Company. In the years since then Ken has been involved with the development and/or sale of Highland Park, Glacier Ridge, Pinehurst Wood, the Black Forest Gliderport, Pine Glen, Spirit Lakes, Rivers Divide, Bent Tree, Bridle Bit Ranch, Forest Hills, Peyton Pines, Woodlake, Forest Green, The Meadows, Shiloh Pines, Overlook Estates, Walden, Pine Cone Ranch, Table Mountain Ranch, Indian Wells, Highland Park, and Glacier Ridge. All-in-all, Ken has been personally involved in over 25,000 acres of land.
At various times, Rawhide has had sales offices in Fairplay, Divide, Woodland Park and Widefield. Somewhere along the line the land market slowed down and salespeople started listing houses and resale land to survive, and today Rawhide has evolved into a full-service real estate brokerage selling everything from land to houses to shopping centers. Unlike many real estate companies, we also develop land, provide residential property management, build custom homes (through Rawhide Homes, Inc.), and offer private dispute resolution services (mediation).
Ken has set an example for me and others by pursuing continuing education. He has earned the GRI, CRB and CCIM designations of the National Association of REALTORS. He's been on a zillion Boards of Directors and I won't bore you with the list, but suffice it to say he falls into the "pillar of the community" category.
Dad is an avid mountain climber, having knocked off all fifty-four 14,000 plus foot peaks in Colorado (I've done many with him), as well as Mount Ranier in Washington (we did this one together, too!). He plays guitar and piano, was the best scoutmaster I ever had, hunts (as opposed to bringing home game), raises horses, works out faithfully, and reads incessantly. He is good, interesting, challenging, and the most generous man I have ever known.
Now, the old saying is that behind every successful man is a good woman. In this case, that is certainly true. 49 years ago my Mother, a San Antonio, Texas schoolteacher, let my Dad catch her. She was the best mom a kid could ask for, generous, gentle, always sweet and compassionate. She has a gift for encouragement to this day.
She cooked, cleaned, sang, played piano, and made sure we had full brains. She entertained graciously the steady procession of friends and military people that visited our home. After the military, she always had an extra helping of chow for the clients and customers that my Dad dropped by the house with at all hours of the day and night (still happens sometimes).
She has been a topnotch assistant to Dad in his real estate work as social director, telephone operator and message taker and lead generator (she's one of the best at pitching our subdivisions). She has invited our company many times into their home for parties and is very much a part of the success of Ken and Rawhide as anyone.
Ken's son, Doug Barber, is currently the president and broker of Rawhide, and the general contractor of Rawhide Homes, Inc. Doug obtained his real estate license and began selling with Rawhide in 1975, and literally grew up in the business, working for Ken on various aspects of land development and sales from youth. As the President and Broker of Rawhide, and second generation real estate professional, Doug enjoys continuing the Rawhide tradition. If you are interested in knowing more about Doug, please read his biographical sketch under the About Our Brokers section of our website.
Rawhide has been blessed with many wonderful high-quality people who have shared our journey over the years. Our current staff members, Connie Derry, Regina Cihak, Porsche Harvey, Emily Litteken, Peggy Major, and Diane Wilson handle anything that arises with competence and grace. You will never hear the words "that's not my job" from their lips. Many of these valued members of the Rawhide family have been with Rawhide for over a dozen years (some more than 20 years!). Our staff is the best there is, and is quick to provide assistance to those in need.
We are proud to be a family company, and hope that our customers and clients appreciate getting to deal with a firm that cares about doing it right, and isn't a mega-franchise. We appreciate those who work with us, and strive to make sure they are glad they chose us.