Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Lotta Bull

The city of Fort Worth is still in the cattle business. The Fort Worth Herd lives at the Stockyards and is driven down the street by cowboys twice a day.

It's really neat to see a herd of Longhorns walk by!

The horses are also owned by the city, and the cowboys work for the city. They are all dressed as they would have been back when the cattle were being driven to Fort Worth to be sold and shipped out on the railroads.

The Texas Longhorn is a breed of cattle known for its characteristic horns, which can extend to 4 feet tip to tip for steers and exceptional cows and bulls in the 70 to 80 inches tip to tip range. Horns can have a slight upward turn at their tips or even triple twist. Texas Longhorns are also known for their extreme diversified coloring.

The descendant of hardy Spanish cattle, the Texas Longhorn can thrive in country where no other breed can live; subsist on weeds, cactus and brush; range days away from water; and stay fit and fertile whether it’s living in the scorching, parasite-infested tropics or in the arid, subzero winters of Montana.
The leaner longhorn beef was not as attractive in an era where tallow was highly prized, and the longhorn's ability to survive on often poor vegetation of the open range was no longer as much of an issue. Other breeds demonstrated traits more highly valued by the modern rancher, such as the ability to put on weight quickly.

The Texas longhorn stock slowly dwindled, until in 1927 the breed was saved from almost certain extinction by enthusiasts from the United States Forest Service, who collected a small herd of stock to breed on a refuge in Oklahoma.

A few years later, J. Frank Dobie and others gathered small herds to keep in Texas state parks. They were cared for largely as curiosities, but the stock's longevity, resistance to disease and ability to thrive on marginal pastures quickly revived the breed as beef stock. Today, the breed is still used as a beef stock, though many Texas ranchers keep herds purely because of their link to Texas history.

The Texas longhorn is the Texas State Large Mammal.
The Texas longhorn is an official symbol for the city of Fort Worth, which is nicknamed "Cowtown".
The Longhorns is the name used for the sports teams of The University of Texas at Austin. The school mascot is a longhorn named Bevo.
Texas Parks and Wildlife maintain an official "State Longhorn Herd", Portions of the herd are kept at various state parks within Texas.
Around 1933, pioneer Texas Longhorn breeder Graves Peeler mentioned that some of the Longhorn cattle that he had been collecting recently were for the western movie star Tom Mix, and over the years at least four other publications repeated the Tom Mix story. Later, it became known that Mr. Peeler was actually collecting the cattle for western movie star and recording star Gene Autry.
The 1966 film The Rare Breed starring James Stewart charts the replacement of Texas Longhorns in the 1880s by British Hereford Cattle.

This isn't the best quality video, but still gives the feel of the cattle drive.


  1. How interesting!~ I didn't know all that about the longhorns (and those shots of their horns are amazing -you did a great job capturing them!) Liked the video - have to admit I thought they would be moving faster than that!

  2. Did you happen to be there in May? I was just reading a friend's blog and she was there in May! We both lived in KS and she now lives in Lubbock TX while her husband is an ROTC instructor. Small world!