STLA/NTLA Fall 2003 Ranch Tour

Submitted by Bob Rork

The STLA and NTLA conducted a joint ranch tour the week-end of September 20th. The tour, designed as a member benefit, was to showcase the bookends of the Registered Longhorn business and featured a contemporary herd and traditional herd. The contemporary herd was furnished by Joel and Shirley Lemley at their ranch near Blackwell, and the traditional herd was represented by the Texas State Herd at Fort Griffin State Park, which is under the management of Lester Galbraith. Saturday night entertainment was furnished by Tom and Lisa Perini at their famous Perini Ranch Steakhouse at Buffalo Gap.

The tour started at Joel and Shirley’s ranch near Blackwell. The ranch is a very interesting and attractive place. They designed and built the house a few years ago featuring native materials and a western motif. The basic construction is adobe brick made from local materials by local craftsmen. Shirley has created a cool and inviting outdoor area which was a favorite of the lady’s and showcased many unusual vines and plants.

The day started with a Bar-B-Que lunch and a short program. Kim and Robert Ritchie donated a steel ranch sign and Stan Briney donated a painting, both of which were auctioned with the proceeds going to STLA and NTLA for their youth programs. Bill Plaisance and Russell Fairchild were the high bidders for the signs and T.M. Smith bought the picture. It was a spirited auction and we appreciate the support for our programs. Linda and I were surprised and pleased when Shirley and Anita Whitfield presented us with an anniversary cake to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary, which was on Sunday the 21st.

We also appreciated Don King, Suzanne Spindor and Larry Barker taking the time to come out and be with us. This was a tough trip for them as Don had to be in Oklahoma City the next morning for a Grandchild’s christening. There were a number of new and not so active TLBAA members there, and it was a real plus for them to have a chance to meet the Association’s leadership. I think Don, Suzanne and Larry enjoyed getting to see everyone and I know Don enjoyed the cake.

The cattle tour was conducted by Joel and his friends on horseback and the crowd on hay trailers. The Lemley herd, anchored by Tri 7 Southern Emperor, was very interesting. Joel and Shirley have gathered a nice herd of big bodied long horned cows which as Joel said meet their requirements. They also had the Levi bull on display and several young bull calves. Everyone was impressed to see the results of their work and especially when you realize that Southern Emperor has won his class the last two years at the Horn Showcase.

Evening found us moving on to Abilene, Buffalo Gap and the Perini Ranch steak house. The Perini’s have become the favorite chef for the Bush White House and have catered a number of events at the White House and the Crawford ranch. Tom shared some of the stories of these events with us and the history of their restaurant and Buffalo Gap. Tom and Lisa also raise Longhorns and will be featuring them as part of the scene at the Restaurant.

Sunday morning we moved on to Fort Griffin and Lester gave us a History of the Fort and a tour of the cattle. Lester has been in charge of the State Herd for about 25 years. The herd gathered in the late 30’s and early 40’s has been maintained as a traditional herd with little outside influence. They have used several WR and Yates bulls over the years to try to maintain some diversity, and Bold Ruler had an impact through a small AI program a number of years ago. Very few calves were produced from that program, but one was a bull that was used for several years. The State maintains cattle at a number of state parks, but has a breeding program only at Fort Griffin and San Angelo.

If you missed the tour, you missed a real treat and we hope you will join us in the spring of 2004. Thanks again to our hosts Joel and Shirley Lemley, Lester Galbreath and Tom and Lisa Perini.

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