Fort Worth Stock Show

Despite looks, Brahman cattle as tough as they come

Erin Cullers of Heritage Cattle Co. in Hungerford waits with Lady H Alexis Manso and her bull calf Tuesday for her official portrait after being named grand champion Brahman heifer at the Fort Worth Stock Show.
Erin Cullers of Heritage Cattle Co. in Hungerford waits with Lady H Alexis Manso and her bull calf Tuesday for her official portrait after being named grand champion Brahman heifer at the Fort Worth Stock Show. Star-Telegram

The handsome red or gray humpbacked cattle known as Brahman may look too exotic and unwieldy to withstand extreme conditions, but breeders say the huge animals are the wave of the future.

Stock Show visitors in the cattle barns Tuesday ooohed at the size of Brahman guys like Mr. Elijah Manso, a gray 2,500-pounder, and aaaahed at the tender sight of Lady H Alexis Manso nursing her 2-month-old bull calf.

Brahmans are superheroes at survival against heat, drought, humidity, insects and poor range conditions, and their traits are influencing cattle breeding in the 21st century.

“Now that weather is getting more extreme, it’s the most adaptive breed,” said 20-year Brahman raiser Carlos Reyes of Tampico, Mexico, owner of Lady Alexis. He exhibited five heifers in addition to Lady Alexis and her unnamed calf at the American Brahman Breeders Association open show Tuesday.

Reyes’ ranch in Mexico is named Tres Mujeres in honor of his wife and two daughters.

The animals were bred and shown by Heritage Cattle Co. of Hungerford.

Lady Alexis won grand champion female.

What makes a great bull like Elijah stand out in the show ring?

“It’s the genetics, the way he’s built,” said his owner, Michael Navarro of MN Ranch in Cotulla. “He’s big-boned, big-gutted, big-footed. That’s well-liked by breeders all over.”

Elijah is almost 3 years old, and his 2014 wins include grand championships in the Jambalaya Classic, the All-American Show and the Heritage Classic Show, and reserve grand championships in the ABBA National Show and the Louisiana Sugar Classic.

Elijah won reserve senior champion bull Tuesday.

The last name Manso appears on Brahman cattle descended from a literal granddaddy of the Brahman breed, a gray bull named Manso who lived on the J.D. Hudgins ranch in Hungerford, near Houston.

The commercial cattle ranch was established in 1908 when J.D. Hudgins and his children began buying humpbacked Indian cattle from neighbors in an attempt to breed cattle tough enough for the challenges of the Gulf Coast environment.

By 1924, the American Brahman breed registry had been established. And in 1933, the Hudginses bought Manso, a “banana-horned” bull prized for his conformation, size and disposition. The first of Manso’s lifetime total of 316 calves was born in 1934, and the American Brahman Breeders Association estimates that 75 percent of cattle it registers today are from Manso’s line.

Manso died at age 17 in 1943.

The latest Brahman buzzword is F1, Reyes and Navarro say.

The designation refers to cattle resulting from the trend of crossbreeding Brahmans with European and other breeds to create stronger, more adaptive animals.

Average visitors to the Brahman barn had more mundane questions for the breeders and owners, such as, “What’s the purpose of the hump, and what’s stored in there?”

Answer: meat.

“It’s just part of the breed, one of the distinctive things about them,” Reyes said. “They’re the most beautiful animals.”

Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657

Twitter: @shirljinkins

Record attendance

The 2015 Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo opened with a string of record-setting days over the recent holiday weekend as mild weather helped swell the crowds at the 23-day event at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.

In its opening four days — Friday through Monday — the Stock Show tied or beat the record attendance for each of those dates, with a total of 162,300 visitors, up from 157,600 in 2014.

The most-attended day was Sunday, with 65,100 visitors, up from 64,600 last year. — Punch Shaw

Stock Show calendar

The Stock Show continues through Feb. 7 at Will Rogers Memorial Center at West Lancaster Avenue and University Drive.

▪ 817-877-2400 or www.fwssr.com

▪ Grounds admission: $10 for adults; $5 for children 6-16; free for children 5 and under

▪ Rodeo tickets: $25 on Friday nights and weekends; $19 on weekdays. Special rodeo events vary in price. Rodeo tickets are good for general admission to the Stock Show the same day.

▪ Advance tickets: The office, at 3401 W. Lancaster Ave., is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily; 817-877-2420.

▪ Parking: $8 per vehicle

▪ Weekend shuttles: For $1 each way from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority offers shuttle rides to the Will Rogers Memorial Center from Ridgmar mall (near Macy’s) in west Fort Worth and the Billy Bob’s Texas parking lot in the Stockyards.

▪ Information booths: In the main concourse of the Amon G. Carter Jr. Exhibits Hall and the Richardson-Bass Building. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday-Friday and 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday.

Today

8 a.m. Southwestern Llama Show, Halter Classes, Justin Arena

8 a.m. PRCA Steer Wrestling Slack, Coliseum

Noon Livestock Appreciation Day Luncheon, Round Up Inn

Noon Miniature Horse Classes, Justin Arena

6 p.m. Mustang Magic, presented by Lone Star Ag Credit, Trainers Challenge, Justin Arena

7:30 p.m. Fort Worth Super Shootout Rodeo, Coliseum

Friday

8 a.m. Southwestern Llama Show, Performance Classes, Justin Arena

9 a.m. Mustang Magic, presented by Lone Star Ag Credit, Trainers Challenge, Coliseum

Noon Best of the West Angus Bull Sale, West Arena

Noon Junior Heifer Registration Verification, Watt Arena Concourse

Noon Miniature Horse Classes, Justin Arena

6 p.m. Mustang Magic, presented by Lone Star Ag Credit, Trainers Challenge, Justin Arena

7 p.m. Heifer Superintendent’s Beef Challenge, French Room, Watt Arena

7:30 p.m. World’s Original Indoor Rodeo, Coliseum

Saturday

8 a.m. Donkey and Mule Classes, Justin Arena

8 a.m. Junior Breeding Beef Heifer Show — Other Recorded Heifers, Cattle Arena

8 a.m. Junior Breeding Beef Heifer Show — Brangus, Watt Arena, East Ring

8 a.m. Junior Breeding Beef Heifer Show — Shorthorn, Watt Arena, West Ring

8 a.m. National Regional Youth Dorper Sheep — Open Show, Sheep Arena

9 a.m. Poultry Show — Youth and Open Classes, Poultry Building

9:30 a.m. District IV 4-H Range and Pasture Plant Identification Contest — Cactus Room, Amon G. Carter Jr. Exhibits Hall

10 a.m. World’s Original Indoor Rodeo, Coliseum

Noon Stars of Texas Angus Female Sale, West Arena

12:30 p.m. FFA and 4-H Club, Range and Pasture Plant Identification Contest — Cactus Room, Amon G. Carter Jr. Exhibits Hall

12:30 p.m. National Regional Dorper Sheep Show — Open Show, Sheep Arena

1 p.m. Junior Breeding Beef Heifer Show — Beefmaster — Watt Arena, East Ring

1 p.m. Junior Breeding Beef Heifer Show — Polled Hereford and Hereford — Watt Arena, West Ring

2 p.m. World’s Original Indoor Rodeo, Coliseum

4 p.m. Texas Limousin Association’s Lone Star Shoot Out, Cattle Arena

6 p.m. Mustang Magic, presented by Lone Star Ag Credit — Trainers Challenge and Mustang Adoption/Auction, Justin Arena

7:30 p.m. World’s Original Indoor Rodeo, Coliseum

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