Who We Are

The Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation (RPQRF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit focusing on one thing: understanding and managing bobwhite and scaled quail in West Texas. Everything we do centers around quail and quail hunting, as reflected by our mission:

“To preserve Texas’ heritage of wild quail hunting for this, and future, generations.”

The Foundation and its Research Ranch were established to provide a living laboratory to devise land management strategies for the benefit of quail and also as an exemplar property to demonstrate the best methodologies and techniques to other “students of quail.”

Board of Directors

Joe Crafton – President
Joe Crafton is the owner of Wingshooter Investments, LLC. The firm’s investment focus is in wildlife conservation and outdoor recreation. Wingshooter owns Collectors Covey, a leader in wildlife and sporting fine art. In its 40 years, Collectors Covey has made direct donations of over $10 million to wildlife conservation.

Joe retired as Chief Executive Officer of CROSSMARK, Inc. in 2014. Prior to joining CROSSMARK, Joe held a variety of sales and management positions with Procter & Gamble.

Joe serves on the advisory council at the University of Tennessee, College of Business where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Marketing in 1984. He is also the founder of numerous wildlife conservation groups including Park Cities Quail and Quail Coalition. Joe is the president of the Dallas Hunting and Fishing Club, serves on the Upland Advisory Committee for Texas Parks & Wildlife and is a director of Texan by Nature and the Trinity Park Conservancy.

Joe is an active volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America, previously serving as President of Circle Ten Council and Vice President of the National Executive Board. He recently developed the Joe Crafton Sportsman Complex at the Bechtel Summit National Scout Reserve near Beckley, West Virginia.

Joe is the father of three sons and lives in Dallas with his wife Amy Simmons Crafton.

Dan Craine – Director
Dan Craine grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas. Upon graduation from high school, Dan attended Texas Christian University, where he met his wife Sallee Turner. The pair wed in January of 1970, Dan and Sallee have three children: Jeff, Matt, and Elizabeth. The children are all married and live in the DFW area.

In 1980, Dan and his two brothers bought the Miller Beer Distributor business in Ft. Worth, Texas. For 30 years the three were very involved in the business. There is a time to buy and a time to sell, and to that end, Dan and his brothers sold the beer distributorship in 2008. From 2008 to the present, Dan has been semi-retired.

Dan has served on many boards and civic organizations, including the Board of Trustees for Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation. Dan and Sallee are members of River Crest Country Club, Steeplechase Club and the Exchange Club. They attend Christ Chapel Church in Fort Worth, Texas.

Pete Delkus – Director
Pete Delkus has been the Chief Meteorologist at WFAA-TV in Dallas, Texas since 2005. He has over two and half decades of meteorology experience which includes extensive work in severe weather, hurricane forecasting, wind analysis and winter storm prediction. Pete has won 16 Emmy Awards for weather anchoring and special show hosting. Delkus holds a Bachelor’s of Science from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE) and is board certified by the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association.

Pete’s love for the outdoors began when he was a very young boy hunting alongside his father in the Midwest. Whether it was waterfowl, big game or upland birds, his fondest memories are of quail hunting, which is why he is so passionate about passing this legacy onto his son and others.

In 2005, Pete and his wife, Jacque, along with their kids, Emily and Peter, moved to Dallas and have loved everything about the great state of Texas.

Pete serves as a Trustee at Dallas Baptist University, is a Director of Park Cities Quail Coalition and a Life Member of Quail Coalition.

Dwayne Elmore – Director
Dwayne Elmore is a Professor, Wildlife Extension Specialist, and Bollenbach Chair in Wildlife Biology in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Oklahoma State University. He earned degrees in wildlife biology from the University of Tennessee at Martin, Mississippi State University, and Utah State University. Dwayne works with various stakeholders including private landowners, state and federal agencies, and private conservation organizations to assist them with wildlife habitat management. His research is primarily focused on upland game birds, and he has worked with 10 different species including northern bobwhite.

Dwayne is passionate about all things quail including hunting, bird dogs, research, and land management. He and his wife help manage family property in southern Georgia for bobwhite and gopher tortoise and he is especially interested in helping other landowners achieve their wildlife management objectives.

Russell Gordy – Director
Russell Gordy is currently managing partner and majority owner in SG Interests, a producer of oil and gas. He is also managing partner and majority owner in RGGS, which controls mineral acres currently producing oil and gas, coal, iron ore, limestone, and copper, and Rock Creek Ranch. Russell is also President of Gordy Oil Company, an oil & gas exploration company in the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana, and Gordy Gas Corporation, an oil & gas exploration company in the San Juan Basin of Colorado and New Mexico.

Russell began quail hunting with his grandfather as a young boy and that experience led to a love of the outdoors. He has been hunting and fishing ever since but quail hunting is his passion. His La Ceniza ranch in south Texas is geared for quail hunting. He also recently opened Gordy & Sons, an outfitting store in Houston specializing in the finest hunting guns in the world.

Stephen Howard – Director
Stephen Howard grew up in Midland and graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in Business.  He is the Founder, President and CEO of Basin Oil & Gas, a privately-funded oil and gas company with a diversified portfolio of energy assets across the United States.  Stephen currently serves on the Board of Ciera Bank and the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers and is a member of the Fort Worth Wildcatters and the Independent Petroleum Association of America.

Stephen lives in Fort Worth with his wife and 2 children.  A lifelong hunter, Stephen can often be found pursuing quail on his family ranch in West Texas with his 3 best friends, his father and 2 brothers.

He frequently travels for pursuit of upland and waterfowl game and is actively involved in multiple conservation efforts.  Stephen founded and serves on the board of the Permian Basin Quail Coalition Chapter, serves on the banquet committee for the Cross Timbers Quail Coalition chapter and is a life member of both Ducks Unlimited and Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock Society.

Raymond Morrow – Director
P. Raymond Morrow lives in Dallas with his wife, Maggie, and their three boys Brit, Doak and John Parker.  He is a graduate of Texas A&M University and earned an MBA from Southern Methodist University.   Raymond is a Partner at Coronado Resources. Coronado has acquired and manages over 200,000 mineral acres, primarily in Texas and Louisiana.

Raymond was introduced to quail Hunting by his father, who along with his brother, are his primary hunting partners.  Raymond has also served on the Board of Directors for Park Cities Quail for 5 years.  His interest in quail conservation has only grown over the years, especially the desire to preserve the quail hunting culture for his children to enjoy.
Raymond is member of Highland Park United Methodist Church. In addition to quail hunting, he enjoys hot coffee, fishing, hiking and mountain biking, especially when he is able to go with Maggie and the boys.

Steve Snell – Director
Steve Snell lives in Starkville, MS, with his wife, 3 sons, and 18 hunting dogs. He graduated from Mississippi State University in 1992 with a degree in General Business Administration. Steve and his brother, Rob, own and operate Gun Dog Supply, a hunting dog training supply business founded in 1972 by their parents, Anne & Warner Snell.

Steve grew up in Mississippi surrounded by bird dogs and quail hunting. He saw first-hand, how the loss of habitat decimated wild bird populations across the Southeast in the 1970s and 80s. While his father was very active in the attempts to rebuild habitat on public land, they eventually started quail hunting in Texas in the 1990s. This is where Steve became interested in habitat management of Texas ranches for the mutual benefit of both cattle and wild birds. Steve is a graduate of the 2015 Quail Masters program.

Steve hunts as much as he can during quail season, and travels the country with his 14 pointers.

Rick Snipes – Director
Rick served as RPQRF’s president from 2007-2018 and remains an active member of the Board. A graduate of Davidson College, Rick is the retired chairman and CEO of Barry, Evans, Joseph and Snipes, Inc., a Charlotte, N.C. insurance and executive compensation firm. Rick has a lifelong interest in quail, bird dogs and the management of quail habitat. He has owned and managed his ranch in Stonewall County since 1993 and he and his wife, Lana, have lived there full time since 2001. Prior to moving to Texas, Rick leased, managed and hunted properties in South Carolina where he witnessed firsthand the decline of the bobwhite. His ranch is home to some of the country’s finest Pointers—started and trained on wild birds. Sporting Classics magazine has described Rick as “the consummate quail hunter” and his ranch as “the Augusta National of quail hunting.” Snipes Ranch has received several awards for quail conservation, including the Lone Star Land Stewardship award from Texas Parks & Wildlife, the Quail Steward Award (North Region) from Texas Wildlife Association, and the bronze Purdey Cup award for the conservation of the Northern Bobwhite.

Rick was named the T. Boone Pickens Sportsman of the Year by Park Cities Quail in 2018. Previous winners of this award include T. Boone Pickens, Ted Turner, A.V. Jones, Tom Brokaw and George Strait.

Justin Trail – Director
Justin Trail serves as president of RPQRF. He lives in Albany, Texas with his wife and 3 young daughters, whom he enjoys the outdoors with every chance he gets. He is the founder and president of Commercial Insurance Solutions Group, LLC, a national retail insurance brokerage company specializing in the risk management of real estate investment portfolios, founder and CEO of C1 Insurance Group and cofounder and director of Spicewood Funding Group, a specialty finance company. Justin serves as a director at Triumph Bancorp, and several of their subsidiary holdings. He also serves as a director at the NMHC and numerous non-profit organizations and is currently president-elect of The Feed Store (a nonprofit serving youth in the Albany, TX area). Justin graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor of science in Wildlife Biology in 1994 and a Master’s degree in 1996.

Justin grew up bird hunting in the small farming towns east of Dallas in the early 80’s. He carried that passion for quail hunting behind good dogs to West Texas upon graduation from college and is still an avid quail hunter. He is also the president of Texas A&M University’s “Reversing the Quail Decline” Initiative. Justin has received numerous awards, including being named a Lone Star Land Steward in 2018 by Texas Parks & Wildlife for his conservation work on Trail Ranch.

Leadership

Brad Kubecka – Executive Director
Brad has been involved with RPQRF since 2013, initially as an intern while earning his Bachelor’s in Wildlife Management at Tarleton State University, and later as a graduate student and collaborator before being named Executive Director in 2021.  In 2017, Brad earned his Master of Science in Range and Wildlife Management at Texas A&M University-Kingsville researching various survey methods for quail in the Rolling Plains. Shortly after, Brad started his PhD at the University of Georgia on a project studying brood ecology with Tall Timbers Research Station in Florida and is currently a PhD candidate. Over the past few years, Brad has served on the graduate committee for RPQRFs Erath County bobwhite translocation and helped establish the Western Pineywoods Quail Program—a new Tall Timbers regional quail program based in east Texas. Brad’s passion is studying wild quail, their habitats, and the culture that surrounds quail and quail hunting.

Dr. Dale Rollins – Director of Outreach
Dr. Dale Rollins founded RPQRF in 2007 and served as its executive director until 2021. A native of Hollis, Oklahoma, Dr. Rollins earned his BS from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, his MS Degree from Oklahoma State University (studying bobwhite and scaled quail in his home county), and his PhD from Texas Tech University. He also served as Professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist for Texas AgriLife Extension in San Angelo from 1987-2013.

Dr. Rollins retired from Texas Agrilife Extension Service in August 2013, but returned as the Program Coordinator for Texas A&M’s “Reversing the Quail Decline” initiative. He also founded the Texas Brigades program in 1992 and has taught a dozen sessions of QuailMasters, an annual 12-day course on quail and quail habitat held at various locations across the state.

Dr. Rollins has received numerous awards including being inducted into the Texas Conservation Hall of Fame in 2018, named a ‘Hero of Conservation” by Field & Stream Magazine, named a “Quail Crusader” by Outdoor Life, and winning the National Quail Calling Championship from Quail Unlimited in 2002.

Phil Lamb – Director of Development
After a 15-year career as a litigator and general counsel, Phil joined RPQRF as Director of Development in 2017. He cites his longtime involvement with various conservation groups as a catalyst for his career change. Phil serves on the Advisory Council of the Dallas Chapter of Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation’s “Stewards of the Wild” program, which engages young professionals across the state to stay informed on conservation issues, spend time outdoors and protect the wild places and things of Texas. Phil is a member of Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation’s Board Fellows program, serves on the board of directors for the Modern Huntsman Foundation and is a member of TPWD’s Upland Game Bird Advisory Committee, as well.

Phil learned to hunt during high school, when his church youth minister invited him dove hunting. Since that first outing, Phil has become a passionate upland, waterfowl and big game hunter and fly fisherman, as well. Phil lives in Dallas with his wife and their three sons, whom he hunts and fishes with often.

Daniel King – Director of Operations
Daniel joined RPQRF as the onsite manager of our Research Ranch in 2018.  He is a native of Ballinger and earned his B.S. from Texas A&M in Environmental Science.  Prior to joining RPQRF, Daniel worked as the assistant ranch manager for 4 years at the Colorado River Ranch in Runnels County.

Daniel enjoys spending time with his wife, Ally, and daughter, Addison, as well as hunting quail, dove and deer.  Daniel is also a passionate conservationist who believes hunting instills a love for nature that lasts a lifetime and he looks forwarding to ensuring future generations will be able to experience hunting, as well.

Becky Ruzicka – Research Scientist and Doctoral Candidate
Becky joined RPQRF as a research assistant in 2011 and has been a key contributor to many of our research projects including translocation projects, Operation Idiopathic Decline, and the Bobwhite Genome Project. She received her B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from Colorado State University and M.S. in Wildlife Biology from Utah State. Currently, she is pursuing her Ph.D at Colorado State University and continuing her role as research assistant for RPQRF.

Her research is part of RPQRF’s wild quail translocation research program and focuses on best practices for reestablishing scaled (blue) quail populations in large landscapes and methods for monitoring those translocations on a large scale. Becky lives in Ault, Colorado with her husband, and their animals. In her free time, she can usually be found riding her horse, but also enjoys hunting, fishing, kayaking, gardening, photography, and just being outside whenever possible

John Palarski – Research Associate
John officially joined RPQRF in May 2021 after completing his M.S. at Tarleton State on a collaborative project with RPQRF translocating wild bobwhite. He completed his B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology at the University of North Dakota in 2018. John’s research has focused largely on gamebirds, primarily upland nesting waterfowl and bobwhite.

John continues to lead the Erath County bobwhite translocation effort and provide technical support to other projects related to RPQRF’s wild quail translocation program. As an avid hunter, John is passionate about gamebird management and wants to ensure ample opportunities exist to pursue wild birds in the future.  John likes to spend as much time outdoors hunting, fishing, and trapping as possible.

Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch
1262 US Highway 180
Rotan, TX. 79546

Physical Address:
Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch
1262 U.S. Highway 180 West
Rotan, Texas

The Ranch is located 12 miles west of Roby on U.S. Hwy. 180. Look for a white house on the north side of U.S. Hwy. 180 (about 400 yards East of intersection U.S. Hwy.180 and FM 611) Tours of the property are available by appointment; please call Brad Kubecka by telephone or e-mail.

Executive Director – Brad Kubecka
email: bkubecka@quailresearch.org
phone: 979.702.9681

Director of Development – Phil Lamb
email: plamb@quailresearch.org
phone: 214.498.1234

Research Scientist – Becky Ruzicka
email: becky.ruzicka@quailresearch.org
phone: 661.618.3956

Our Partners

Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation works closely with the following conservation organizations, universities and governmental agencies: