Briscoe was born in Uvalde, Texas and his family was involved in ranching in Texas and Mexico. He was active in politics throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s, serving eight years in the Texas Legislature. Hew was elected governor of Texas in 1972 and served two terms. He was instrumental in promoting a program eradication the deadly screw worm from Texas cattle and also served as president of the Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. In 1997 because of his lifelong commitment to ranching, he was honored with the Charles Goodnight Award.