History of the STLA
1990's: The Years of Struggle for Balance and Sustainability

Marshall Frazier organized the first National Cow College that took place in Austin. Its great success continued in other locations across the country. There was a tour of the John T. and Betty Baker's Sunrise Ranch with a talk by Dan McBride, DVM from Burnet, on winter diseases. The next stop was Tom and Mary Beth People's Quail Ridge Ranch in Burnet, where Paul Culp from Agrotech in Lampasas, gave a talk on supplemental winter feed. The general membership meeting was held at Marshall and Shirley Frazier's South Fork Land & Cattle Co. where Marshall gave a presentation on the bull tests.

In 1991, the STLA advertising campaign included a modest thrust into the Mexican market with a full-page ad in Entre Ganaderos, a directory published in Spanish and widely circulated in Mexico. There was a tour of Robby Robinson's Ranch near ]unction where visitors viewed his outstanding pure Peeler herd and toured his meticulous ranch. The General Membership Meeting was held at Mike and Laney Weise's Lazy LYZ Ranch near Voca.

A spring 1992 ranch tour visited Ross and Ellen Rost's ranch near Georgetown where guests were treated to a steak dinner on the lawn. The next stop was Bob and Gail Coffee's Travis Peak Ranch near Lago Vista, where Jeff Burhus gave a program on "How Much Does Your Cow Cost" an overview of expenses associated with feed, vet bills, pasture management, etc. The business meeting included discussions of the STLA Marketing Co-op and how the new Federal Endangered Species Act affected landowners.

The 1992 ranch tour and General Mernbership Meeting was held at Bill and Anita Wappler's Lucy Creek Ranch in Lampasas, where Jeff Burhus gave a talk on genetics. The STLA sponsored the Longhorn breed show at the Texas International Livestock Exhibition in Austin. There was a fall tour to Shawn Mikesky's Las Plumas Ranch in Schulenburg. The group then enjoyed a steak dinner at the American Legion Hall and heard a presentation on A&M's Ranch-to-Rail program, cattle nutrition, and pour-on worming.

During the 1990's, the STLA participated in joint sales with the Gulf Coast and Ark-La-Tex affiliates. With the passing of the days of syndication of Longhorns into big business, sale averages dropped dramatically, reflecting continued prejudice against the breed by the beef industry. A $600 average was not uncommon due to the limited market. Those implementing sustainable ranching practices abided good and bad times, all in stride. Interest in the Longhorn was kept alive by breeders' participation in shows and educational seminars. Regular field days, ranch tours, and an educational newsletter boosted STLA membership to over two hundred in the 90's.

Bob and Gail Coffee organized numerous seminars, youth clinics, cattle evaluation clinics, fishing trips and ranch tours including one in 1993 that visited Henry and Evelyn Stearns Rim Rock Ranch in Boerne, for a branding and weighing demonstration, then to Charles Graham's Waldheim Farm near Comfort and Maudeen Marks's LH7 Ranch in Bandera. Several steak dinners were organized by Bob Coffee and Jack Duren and held at the Ft. Sam Houston Officers' Club in San Antonio. Guest speakers included: T.M. Smith on roping cattle, Steve Mobley on the Longhorn beef industry, and Dr. Bob Kropp on the direction of the show industry.

The 1994 General Membership meeting included a tour of Jerry Bostic's ranch and Jimmy and Joanne Muse's ranch near Paige, both of which have outstanding Longhorn pens. Jimmy Muse gave insight into his holistic management practices. The group then met for bar-be-cue, an auction, business meeting, Country & Western dancing and a musical comedy at the Bastrop Opera House. That year was the first year the San Antonio Livestock Expo had an open Longhorn shown that paid $4,000 in premiums.

The STLA sponsored the Longhorn Show at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show in Mercedes for several years. The Rio Grande Valley Committee treated the STLA Show participants to an annual bar-be-cue dinner. The rowdy crowd concluded their evenings on several occasions in Mexican bars where some partook in dancing, cigar smoking and libations. The Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show creates a large draw for "Winter Texans," the throng of RV snowbirds that flock to the Texas Coast during the winter months. Participants in the Longhorn Show enjoyed playing harmless tricks on the unsuspecting tourists such as gluing a quarter to the ground within horn tip range of the territorial Sunrise Express "Bevo." The show included haltered bulls and females and a popular haltered steer competition. By that time, the membership had grown to include Betty and Sonny Detmer, Branden Keener, Willie and Norma Holmes, Thelma Garza and Randy Holmes, Kenneth and Julie Rice, Calvin Etley and Kay Florence, Mike and Terry Evans, Don and Pat Harrell, Lonnie and Velta Gray, Russell Hooks, Parten Wakefield, Tom and Drew Dozier, Frank and Sue Bowdoin, John T.L. Jones, David and Lynda Bradley, Wayne and Billie DuBose, T.J. and J.W. Dunlap, Bill and Marilyn Anderson and Brent Arrandt, just to name a few.

A fall 1994 tour visited Larry Jones's ranch near Beeville then on to the Wright Ranch near Robstown where Tracy Wright gave a history of his father's ranch. The group then went fishing in Aransas Bay. The 1995 Annual General Membership Meeting was held at Maudeen Marks LH7 Ranch where guests were treated to a Medina Riverside Mexican buffet. John T. Baker demonstrated brush management techniques with his Bobcat and Tree Terminator. The highlight of the tour was an evaluation by Blaine Schorp and John T. Baker of the 12 top bulls in the just completed STLA and Brush Country affiliates Bull Test. In addition, in 1995, in cooperation with the Brush Country affiliate, members were treated to a tour of the El Coyote Ranch near Kingsville with featured speakers, entertainment, ranch rides and door prizes. The group continued on to Rockport for a fishing trip. That same year, Governor George W. Bush was made an honorary member of the TLBAA and presented a plaque to hang in the Governors' Mansion with the brands of several STLA members that helped support the effort. At the center of the plaque was a bronze Longhorn head sculpted by Gary Henry.

A 1996 ranch tour included stops at Carl and Carla Payne's CP Longhorns in Katy where the group was given a crop dusting demonstration, Jim and Jane Shurtleff's Double J Acres in Wharton for a catfish lunch, Morris and Martha Dean's Shallow Creek Ranch in Wharton, finishing with a slide presentation and pasture tour at the ranch of Frank Mann, DVM whom is an advocate of intensive cell grazing and year round pasture forage production.

The General Membership meeting was held at the Wilton's Austera Meadows Ranch near Caldwell where the group was served a coffee and kolache brunch followed by a brisket lunch. Speakers included Kent Dunlap from Producer's Co-op in Bryan and David Rene from the Agricultural Extension Service addressed the agricultural outlook, and Phillip Williams of Keystone Feedyard in San Miguel with Blaine Schorp presented the results of the bull test. A large group enjoyed an enlightening tour of J. David Bamberger's Selah Ranch near Blanco. Blueberry Juniper control, ground spring water development, and ground water retention were demonstrated and their benefits proven by a model rainwater run-off and erosion machine. The visitors were treated to a beef stew lunch and toured the historic Hes' Country Store. The next stop on the tour was Red McCombs's ranch near Johnson City where the group viewed herds of exotics and Longhorns before being served refreshments by the pool. The day was concluded with dinner at the Feed Mill Restaurant.

Annual affiliate Spring Shows were held in Austin, Seguin and San Antonio. These consisted of both open and youth competitions, haltered and loose. The Spring Shows became a greatly anticipated social event with activities including bar-be-cue suppers, dances, silent and live auctions, fund raising games like cow patty bingo, a trophy steer competition with prize money, youth pizza parties, cowboy church on Sunday mornings and a fun-filled family weekend.

Cindy Dennis and Carla Payne worked many hours to fabricate top quality Youth and Open shows for several years running. One memorable occurrence associated with a Spring Show was when one of Ross Rost's non- haltered cows went underneath a panel when unloading in Seguin. She went running down the road with Ross on foot in hot pursuit. Others present followed in pick-ups. The cow ventured through a housing project, to the river, turned through the woods and ended up on a golf course. Golfers in golf carts, an exhausted Ross-still on foot, and several pick-ups driving wildly across the fairways then pursued her. The chase ultimately ended up back where it started by the cow being run back into the loading chute from which she had escaped. The Seguin show included a "Best Old Cow" competition where prize money was awarded to the owner of the winning cow over 15 years old with a nursing calf at side.

A fall tour began at Jeff Burhus's ranch near Nursery where visitors were served refreshments while viewing his Yates bloodline herd. The next stop was Mike McCloud's large, well managed, ranch near Vanderbilt where guests were treated to a fabulous apple pie, then on to Victoria to tour Tom's Taxidermy. The group was given a seminar on handling hides and heads and served lunch. They then enjoyed a Whooping Crane tour at Aransas Bay.

The 1997 ranch tour began with a stop at Dr. Esse's clinic in Kennedy where the group was treated to a bar-be-cue lunch and an embryo transfer demonstration, next stop was the Tip O'Neil Ranch, then Willie and Nonna Holmes's ranch near Robstown, and the San Patricio Trading Post and John and Rosemary Floyd's ranch. Then it was off to the coast for a fishing trip in Aransas Bay.

The 1997 General Membership Meeting was at Don and Debbie Davis's DWD Longhorns ranch between Austin and Dripping Springs. The group numbering seventy-five, toured the cattle herd via hayride then was served a bar-be-cue lunch. Members of the Youth Group swam and paddle-boated around in the pond in a slowly sinking boat, during the Board meeting. There were two fall tours that year, one held at Frank and Dolores Pinn's ranch where the group heard a talk on "putting your ranch on the intemet." The other was at Bob and Gail Coffee's Travis Peak Ranch near Lago Vista that included a covered dish lunch and dove hunt.

Jim Stafford, Pat Beach, Mary Beth Peoples and Debbie Davis wrote regular newsletters throughout the 90's that kept the membership informed of upcoming events. The STLA sponsored roper round-ups where members sold recreational stock to order buyer T.M. Smith, at a central location. Lonnie Shan designed beautiful Spring Show Champion trophies. The 1998 tour began at John and Christy Randolph's Lonesome Pines Ranch near Smithville, where the group was treated to brunch and a tour of the ranch and cattle herd, then traveled to Bob and Bonnie Dube's ranch near Round Top for a show cattle finishing clinic.

The STLA donated heifers to Lanier High School FFA students for their show projects. The summer tour and Board meeting was at Tom and Mary Beth People's Quail Ridge Ranch in Bumet where members viewed their Longhorn herd and learned of innovative pasture irrigation techniques. The tour group was treated to a hamburger and potluck lunch. The fall Board meeting took place at the Coffee's ranch where a Brush Busters seminar and hydro-axe demonstration accompanied a covered dish lunch and dove hunt.

A Hill Country Holiday tour was held that year that visited the ranches of Gerry and Jannelle Shudde on the Sabinal River to learn of their natural beef marketing company, and Jim and Bebe Barden's Flag Mountain Ranch near Utopia where the group was served a bar-be-cue lunch and climbed the mountain to the cabin at top. The group then went antiquing in Castroville and met back up that evening at the Quihi Rod and Gun Club for an evening of Country & Western dancing.

In 1999, Carla Payne organized the first Fiesta Texas Longhorn Sale at the San Antonio Livestock Exposition. The sale averaged $1,886.36, and the high selling lot brought $8,000 for Robert and Kim Richey of the Triple R Ranch in San Angelo. The buyer was Bob Wiser. Prices at that sale breathed life and excitement back into sales around the country. The 1999 General Membership Meeting was at Carl and Carla Payne's ranch where the group was treated to a Cajun fried catfish lunch. The STLA awarded an annual $300 scholarship to the winner of a merit competition between the Youth Group's graduating seniors. The Youth Group sponsored a heifer raffle and the STLA also made donations to the National Gold Merit program.

There was a 1999 winter tour of South Texas ranches including Bill Buntin's where breakfast tacos were served and his herd of Peeler bloodline cattle were viewed, and the Kimball Cattle Co. in Karnes City home of the '99 TLBAA Champion Steer. The group enjoyed lunch at Barth's Restaurant in Karnes City. The following day, the tour group attended a Whooping Crane tour at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. The STLA formed an alliance with a roper dealer, Trey Sheffield, whom took cattle on consignment and warehoused them for breeders.

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