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Some History on Texas Longhorn Steers - 11/30/10
In the sixties and through the eighties, the Wichita Refuge herd in Oklahoma maintained the largest exhibition steer herd in the nation. It was a sight to behold for tourist and Longhorn lovers. I few steers would sell in the annual fall auction for head mounts and pasture ornaments. Sometimes they had up to 80 steers of all ages.
Steers have horns 156% larger than Texas Longhorn bulls.
In J. Frank Dobie's book (1939) THE LONGHORNS, he recorded that some TL steers were driven up the historic trails up to 20 years old and up to 6 foot tip to tip spreads. When checking out the museums in Cody, Canyon, Dodge and Cheyenne, no 1880 period steers are up to the 6 foot range preserved from that era. It is probably true what Dobie said, that 6 foot was the best of the best in 1880, but history tells us not many made that mark.
The Wichita Refuge used to measure steers that were sold. In 2001 a WR 14 year old steer measured 67 1/10" and in 2002 the largest steer was 10 years old and measured 65."
As producers began to appreciate the dramatic awesomeness of a beautiful TL steer more genetic planning, and special bloodline selections are making huge changes.
At Dickinson Cattle Co Inc (DCCI) it was management's feeling that if a critter did not breed or have calves it would not be a free-loader on the ranch. Therefore for the first 25 years at DCCI, no steers were raised. The standard 50 or 60 inch spreads on 15 to 20 year old steers was not attractive, or financially feasible.
When DCCI moved from Colorado to Ohio, Linda wanted to keep one steer from each of the best sires just for fun. There was plenty of grass in Ohio. In 1994 a steer calf named Senago was retained. He was a Zhivago son from a Senator daughter. At age 5 he measured 77". He later won several shows and measured 91" T2T at 14 years. Since then DCCI steers like Gibraltar won the TLBAA total horn measurement at 118", Shadow Spear measured 76.5" T2T during his third year, Sequoia Man, purchased by Bill Hudson measured 71.5" at 3 years old.
It was obvious the thrill of growing "real" horn, with improved modern genetics was something that could be done in 3 or 5 years rather than 15 to 20 years. As a result, DCCI has carefully selected several dozen steers per year of improved horn blood for these rapid-growing exhibition steers.
DCCI has worked for 43 years gaining a reputation for great TL breeding stock and now "non-breeding" stock is becoming fashionable. Semen is available from sires who are proven to excel in siring exhibition steers at DCCI.
This past month several steers showed up for the ITLA Championship show that were raised at DCCI. The All Age Grand Champion Steer, Melo Mile, was exhibited by Wendy and Jerry Hamilton of Weatherford, Texas. He measured 90.25" T2T and 111.5" total horn at age 6. He is sired by Mile Marker by The Shadow and out of a Winchester daughter.
Talking Head, age 7, exhibited by Bear Ranch, Somerset, Colorado, owned by Bill Koch, measured 88.25" T2T and was Sr. Champion Steer. Spacious Sky 15, by Winchester, also exhibited by Bear measured 89" at age 4, he is a full brother to DCCI's bull, Winning Sky. A Super Bowl steer, Out Of Whack, age 6, measured 118" total horn for Bear Ranch. Bear Ranch won 3 trophy buckles with 3 steers.
Exhibition steer production is much easier with new proven bloodlines. Steers have great dispositions and make an awesome statement as elite decor, and personal satisfaction. Considering exotic cattle as an art form, Texas Longhorn steers absolutely are top-of-the-line.
For young exhibition steer prospects, grow your own. Several young steers are at the DCCI on line inventory with photos and prices. Check out https://www.texaslonghorn.com/inventory/index.cfm?con=Inv&Category=Exhibition_Steer&BreedCode=T
Christmas is coming. What could be better? They cost less than a dog to feed, won't bite the UPS man and never do their business in your bed room. It is the right thing to do.
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Registered Texas Longhorns since 1967
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