Thurmond Longhorns ... head ’em up, move ’em out in heritage parade
Thera Hope, Derek, and Hope Thurmond of Thurmond Longhorns
SAN ANTONIO -- Texas is well-known for its Longhorns -- not just the University of Texas mascot, but the cattle, as well. For one Adkins family, “If it’s not a registered Texas Longhorn, it’s just another beef cow.”
Thurmond Longhorns joined a Western tradition in February -- the Longhorn Cattle Drive leading the mile-long Western Heritage Parade which kicks off the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, through downtown San Antonio, even by the Alamo.
Hope Thurmond shared the good news with her Longhorn friends in February after being selected to provide the Longhorn cattle for this annual event.
Thurmond Longhorns provided 39 head, including 16 pairs. Other Longhorn breeders living out the Western tradition were Vizza Longhorns from Sisterdale, who brought 10 head, and Bob Dube from Round Top. All are members of the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America.
Attendees of the parade were able to see a variety of Texas Longhorns, including “Buckaroo,” the world champion Longhorn steer owned by Dube. More than 50 head of cattle participated, not counting calves, Hope said. This was the largest herd ever used for this, she said.
Hope’s husband, Derek, was joined by Spencer Johnson and Bob Dube as drovers. They were joined by members of the U.S. Marshals Mounted Posse.
This was the first time Thurmond Longhorns participated in the parade, but it will not be their last, Hope said.
The Thurmond family has been raising Longhorns since 2005, when Derek and Hope’s daughters, Emily Ann and Thera Hope, wanted to show heifers. They started with the help of Mark and Laura Brown of Browns Longhorns. You can say the rest is history.
The ranch has brought home grand champion buckles and banners from three states -- Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana -- and the World Champion Texas Longhorn Show. Ironically, the first show for Emily Ann and Thera Hope was the San Antonio Stock Show’s Texas Longhorn Show. In 2006, the young ladies qualified for world show competition. Today, Thurmond Longhorns has grown to more than 80 registered Texas Longhorns, with bloodlines from three different sires.
With ranches such as Thurmond Longhorns, the breed will continue to be a Texas icon for years to come.
“Longhorn cattle have been a part of the history of North America since 1493 when Spanish settlers accompanying Christopher Columbus brought the few long-horned Iberian cattle with them to the Antilles Islands.”
•1769 -- Longhorns established in California and Texas missions.
•1860 -- Texas Longhorn population estimated between 4 million and 6 million.
•1895 -- “It has been estimated that over 10 million head had been driven the length of the Chisholm, Goodnight, and other trails from Texas and other southern states to the northern markets.”
•1910 -- With the introduction of British and other cattle -- not immune to cattle tick fever -- a “large scale destruction of the nation’s longhorn population” occurred, almost leading to its extinction.
•In 1927, Congress “appropriated money to establish a federal herd of purebred Texas Longhorn cattle.” 20 cows, three bulls, and four calves that were, in the opinion of U.S. Forest Service rangers, purebred Texas Longhorns, later became known as seed stock from the Wildlife Refuge herd.
•Today, seven purebred families of Longhorn herds are known: the Wildlife Refuge, Marks, Phillips, Yates, Butler, Peeler, and Wright.
•In 1964, the Texas Longhorn cattle registry began. By the late 1990s, it had exceeded 250,000.
Source: Texas Longhorn Marketing Alliance website