From over 35 years of Working with TEXAS LONGHORN
As we get started into the new year one can't help but to look to the future and wonder what is in store in the days, weeks and months to come. However, one also can't help but to reflect on the past years of life and the memories created over those years, both good and bad. One can also find themselves thinking of the changes that have come about over the years that have passed. I find it hard to realize that this June of 2015 will mark my thirty fifth year of being involved with the Texas Longhorn Breed. It was at the young age of 12 years old that I developed my passion for this wonderful and majestic breed. That passion still burns deep within me today and I couldn't image myself without Longhorns in my life. God has blessed me with the ability to work with these great cattle as a way of make a living. God not only blessed me with being able to work with a breed of cattle that I love but in the process, He has blessed me with many wonderful friends. All I can say is it has been an awesome journey! As I reflect on the 35 years I have spent with this breed, I thought it might be fun to share a little of that history with some of our new Texas Longhorn Breeders.
Over my 35 years of working with Longhorns I have accumulated a pretty large collection of Longhorn magazines and sale catalogs. On rainy and dreary days I sometimes enjoy going through my collection and reflecting on the history that I have had the honor of witnessing in the breed. I thought it would be nice to give the new breeders and those interested in the breeds history a chance to see where this breed has come from I have attached a PDF file (COMING SOON) of a sale catalog from 31 years ago. The Nacogdoches Texas Longhorn Sale was one of only a few Texas Longhorn sales in existence in the 1980's. This sale drew in sellers and buyers from all across the United States. The interest in the cattle was high and the numbers of registered Texas Longhorn cattle were very low. As you look through this catalog, you will notice that there are a few names that you will be familiar with and others that you will not know or may have only heard mentioned by another long time breeder. A lot of Texas Longhorn breeders, Longhorn enthusiast, collectors and hobbyist that have come before us. Some had a major impact on the breed while others just simply enjoyed the breed and had little too no long term impact on the breed. Some of the cattle in this catalog can be found in the pedigrees of today's cattle, like Magic Marker. He is in the pedigree of two 80" horn bulls. Who are they? Any Guesses?
You will also notice a change in the quality of the cattle. Some will be quick to say "we have sure improved the breed in 30 plus years". But have we really improved the breed? I think the answer is both yes and no. I think we have made progress in the Longhorn breed in regards to beneficial traits of conformation, size and milk production. In my opinion these improvements are due in part to genetic selection and better herd management practices with better nutrition. We have also seen an "improvement", if you want to call it that, in the less important traits of horn length and hair coat color. These are for the most part, non-functional traits and have little to no benefit to the animal. All these improvements seem to have had little effect on the over physical characteristics (phenotype) of the breed. The phenotype (the visible and physical characteristics of an organism resulting from the interaction between its genetic makeup and the environment) has remained basically unchanged. The traits of horn length and hair color and there "improvements" have more to do with improving the animals eye appeal to prospective buyers or collectors. Any or all of these trait "improvements" can become harmful to the breed when taken to the extreme or becomes the sole focus of the breeder or breed.
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