Texas Longhorn Show June 18
Texas Longhorn cattle, with roots tracing back to the earliest cattle brought over to the “new world” from Spain, were the original reason for cowboys and cattle drives following the Civil War. The breed nearly died out by the 1950s, but a handful of ranchers kept it going long enough to realize renewed interest in Longhorn cattle by the 1970s.
Today the breed is represented throughout the United States, valued as a source of lean beef as well as colorful “pasture ornaments” and even pets.
A large gathering of these cattle will be on display and judged for color, conformation and horn-length beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 18, at the annual Heart of the Rockies Texas Longhorn Show, northeast of Colorado Springs, Colo. The show is open to the public with no charge for admission.
The venue is Latigo Trails indoor arena, 13710 Halleluiah Tr. (just east of Meridian Rd. on Latigo Blvd. in the Black Forest).
Local and out-of-state Longhorn cattle breeders will compete for awards in a variety of cattle classes. Cows with calves, heifers, steers and bulls will be shown and judged well into the afternoon. The show is sponsored by the Mountain States Texas Longhorn Association, an affiliate of the International Texas Longhorn Association.
The show at Latigo will include an opening ceremony involving several large riding steers, each weighing about a ton and carrying the long, impressive horns for which the breed is named. Gary and Kay Cole of Penrose, Colo., own and show the steers, and Gary says the steers are easier to train than horses.
The best candidates to break for riding are young steers that have been shown at halter by youngsters, according to Gary. The steers are saddled like a horse and are handled with reins and “nose bits,” which as the name implies, are attached to the noses. Gary says he can usually have a steer pretty well broke to ride in about 30 days.
He has hauled his riding steers to events around the country, and ridden them through rings of fire and down crowded parade routes. At the Heart of the Rockies Show, Gary and company will present the flag along with a rendition of The Star Spangled Banner. The steers will also likely appear in the senior steer class at the show.
Texas Longhorn owners and breeders today run the gamut of operations, ranging from those with a couple pets (“trophy steers,” perhaps) to those with 20 or 30 cows, on up to herds of 100 cows or more.
Longhorn cows have always had a reputation for calving ease, meaning even the first-calf heifers usually calve successfully on their own without assistance. Longhorn bulls are also frequently used on first-calf heifers in other breeds for this same reason.
Texas Longhorns are also gaining the attention of beef consumers who want to take a more direct hand in their food sources. Many Longhorn owners raise beef for their own families, plus any friends or neighbors who want lean, tender and flavorful meat for the freezer. The meat is usually processed locally, under U.S.D.A. inspection.
Those who raise their own Longhorn beef in the Mountain States organization generally fall into one of two categories: those who want strictly lean, grass-fed beef; or those who want grass-fed beef that is finished off with an additional mixed-grain ration for 50 to 90 days. The latter is still usually leaner than comparable store-bought beef.
Studies have shown lean Longhorn beef has less cholesterol and calories than chicken. Most small producers like these also emphasize they don’t use any medications or hormones to stimulate growth in their cattle.
There are two national Texas Longhorn associations and registries, and both are headquartered in Texas. Many breeders belong to both organizations and one or both of their regional affiliates.
The MSTLA welcomes new members, with or without cattle. The association meets generally on a monthly basis, often over a pot-luck lunch at someone’s house, and offers various social and educational activities, including ranch tours, cattle judging and management seminars.
For more information: Mountain States Texas Longhorn Association (www.MSTLA.org), affiliated with International Texas Longhorn Association in Glen Rose, Texas (www.ITLA.org). Or Mountains and Plains Texas Longhorn Association (www.MPTLA.org), affiliated with Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America in Fort Worth (www.TLBAA.org).
For more information on the Heart of the Rockies Show, please phone (719) 749-9071.
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