Longhorns take Stock Show in stride

Posted Monday, Jan. 20, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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The mascot of the University of Texas rarely shows any emotion during the school’s football games.

Whenever Bevo is pictured on television the majestic longhorn is standing in place or sitting like a set piece in a Nativity scene, stock still, his dark moist eyes gazing out toward the playing field with bovine indifference.

Touchdown. Interception. Lost fumble.

Win. Lose.

Unlike alumni, Bevo’s demeanor never changes.

Those who raise and exhibit Texas longhorn cattle will tell you that the gentle nature of UT’s iconic steer is not an anomaly.

“Any breed can have a wild one, but the disposition and mindset of longhorn cattle seems to be a little more refined,” said James Roesler, who raises registered Texas longhorns at his R4Ranch in Krum in Denton County.

“They’re good with kids. Great family animals.”

Roesler’s 8-year-old daughter, Avery, and several hundred other youngsters paraded their livestock into the W.R. Watt Arena on Monday during the TLBT Youth Division Longhorn Show at the Stock Show.

Dr. Bill Able of Kansas City judged the morning-long event, which tested the patience of handlers and animals alike. Standing in the center of the ring, clipboard in hand, the black-hatted judge solemnly inspected each entry, from several angles, before making his choices and offering commentary.

His amplified voice rose above the bawl of livestock.

“Real well-balanced.” “Lot of eye appeal.” “Maybe a little bit narrow.” “She has a tendency to drag her left back leg.”

Not one longhorn took exception to the critique and jumped the railing or instigated a full-scale stampede onto University Drive.

Avery Roesler showed two heifers, Buttermilk and Red Velvet. The names of other cows spoke of their gentility. Miss Sweet Pea. Southern Belle. Popcorn. Shy’s Star. Reba McEntire.

The bulls’ names were manlier. Tank Man. Ace In The Hole. King Arthur. Gun Slinger. Outlaw.

Some have short horns. The headwear of others flare out and turn up, like goalposts. Steers can grow horns that measure 7 feet from tip to tip.

“I favor longhorns because they’re hardy,” Roesler said while tending to several animals in their stalls. “They are disease-resistant. Our bulls don’t end up going through the fence, or onto other people’s property. And longhorns never have calving problems.”

Jacob Elkins felt like a winner even before the judging began.

On Sunday morning, a day before the show, his 2-year-old heifer, Ms Tex-Anna’s Pearl, gave birth in Cattle Barn 3.

Elkins, a 19-year-old senior at Venus High School, and member of the school’s FFA program, proudly named the black calf Tex’s Pride.

“Purty little thang,” said Eddie Smallwood, an ag science instructor at Venus High.

Elkins nodded agreement.

Like proud family standing at the maternity ward window, student and teacher gazed at the brown-and-white heifer, whom Jacob lovingly described as being “gentle as a puppy dog.”

As they watched in silence, celebrating the wonder and intimacy of new life, the protective mama lowered her head and nuzzled her wobbly newborn daughter, dozing at her feet.

A sign tied to a fence rail read: “Longhorns are a lot like potato chips. You can’t have just one.”

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