Gordon Musgrove’s attempt to downsize his commercial cattle operation about 10 years ago led him to Texas Longhorns and, last week, success in the Canadian Western Agribition show ring.
Musgrove, who operates One Tree Ranching Ltd. at Patricia, Alta., with his wife, Charlene, took home banners for the grand and reserve champion females in the Canadian National Texas Longhorn Show, and the trophy steer.
“We brought what we are trying to do (with the cattle) to show off, not necessarily to win the show,” he said. “It was just a really super bonus to win the show this year.”
OT Annie De, born in 2012, was the top female while one of her daughters, OT Bonnie B, a four-year-old, won the reserve. OT White Lightning was the top steer.
Musgrove said longevity is one reason why Longhorn females are becoming more popular.
“A 20-year-old Longhorn cow is about equivalent to a 10-year-old of other breeds,” he said.
The Musgroves run about 100 cows at home and sell bulls to commercial producers especially to use on heifers.
“Our specialty is solid reds and we try to get the best quality animal we can,” he said. “They make superb heifer bulls. The calves are small when they’re born and full of life and vigour and they’re born hungry so they do very well.”
Longhorns moved throughout North America after the American Civil War, Musgrove said. They were wild cattle and after the war, people began chasing them up north, even as far as Alaska during the Gold Rush.
On the West Coast, whalers bought Longhorns for beef, tallow and hide used on their ships.
“Historically Longhorn cattle have a lot of respect,” he said. “Currently, it’s coming back. We’re seeing in the past 10 to 15 years more and more interest.”
Aside from cow longevity, Musgrove said Longhorns require zero to low maintenance.
“I mean no foot rot, no pinkeye, no pneumonia, no scours. For a guy that’s old and trying to quit, it’s the perfect thing. I can still have cattle and not work very hard.”
Musgrove used to run between 500 and 700 commercial cows but downsized in 2008 and began the Longhorn business.
He said having the breed national show at Agribition is a great idea from a promotional perspective.
He wishes the cattle could be on the grounds longer. They are housed in the commercial cattle barn at the same time as the bison, and both move out midway through the show to make way for the commercial cattle entries.
Typically, the crowds pick up after that as the other purebred shows and sales get underway.
“I would certainly hope that we get better exposure in the future,” he said. “We’re leaving today (and) the population hasn’t arrived yet. It would be nice to be here when the masses show up.”
Dances For the Ladies 69, exhibited by Double D Arena from Outlook, Sask., was the grand champion bull, while reserve honours went to Knight Blade from DS Cattle Co. at Carman, Man. Both are 2019 calves.