The 1970'S: The Early Years
A NEW CHARTER
. . . STLA Founders Charlie Schreiner, III and H.C. Carter met with great opposition from breeders Jack Phillips, Happy Shahan and Walter Scott due to their fears this affiliate would become a split-off group from the TLBAA. Mr. Carter had to assure the affiliate's loyalty by requiring its members to also be members of the TLBAA and promising the STLA would never issue registrations.
STLA Founding members included: Charles Schreiner III, Walter R. Schreiner, R.J. Snow Jr., H.C. Carter, John T. and Betty Baker, Alan Sparger, Jr. A.C. and C.M. Rubey, and Chico Wright.
In the early days, their logo was the shape of the entire country with the lower twenty-one states in the Union shaded, indicating their coverage area. The second affiliate formed at that time was the Mountains and Plains group that shared many of the same members. The STLA held its first sale with auctioneer Eddie Wood in 1974. The average price for cattle was $435 per head. The 1975 sale average rose to $600 per head and the members were ecstatic. Consignment cattle were inspected by H.C. Carter and John T. Baker and accepted or rejected on conformation. The pair flew all over the state visiting the ranches of consignors for the first three sales. Consigners to the First Annual South Texas Longhorn Association Sale held May 24, 1974 were: Elvin Blevins, H.C. Carter Maudeen Marks, Jack Phillips, Charlie Schreiner III, Walter Scott, Alan Sparger, Russell Stanger, J.T. Suggs, Jim Warren, and Eddie Wood. The first sale was held at the YO Ranch in Mountain Home, where a $3 per plate bar-be- cue lunch (benefiting the Kerr County 4-H Club), was served prior to the auction. Six more annual STLA sales were held at the YO before they moved to different cities around the state. Those first sales evolved into the annual YO Sale in later years.
Other early STLA members included: Leonard Stiles, Dave Evans, Mike Crocker, Cliff and Gail Woemer, C.Q. Davis, J.W. Isaacs, Dr. L.V. Baker, Don and Velna Jackson, Charlie Schreiner IV, Marshall and Shirley Frazier, David Karizer, Travis Marks, Brian Bullen, J.D. Vann, and Dr. William Dean II.
The first General Membership Meeting was held in San Antonio on a shoestring budget in 1975. The STLA hosted a nine-day long cattle drive in 1976 that began in downtown San Antonio driving North across the Guadalupe River and through the cities of Kerrville, San Angelo, Midland and Stanton, on its way to Lubbock for the grand opening of the Western Heritage Center on July 4. Lady Bird Johnson was present to receive the Drovers' Logue Book. The event was filmed by Texas Tech University. The STLA hosted annual cattle sales for the first eleven years.
The treasury in May of 1977 after a successful sale, held $86,000. By 1978, the membership had grown to over one hundred persons including: Herman Bennett, Tom Chandler, Richard Chris, Cliff Teinert, Larry Whipps, Happy Shahan, Ray Moore, Bob and Linda Moore, Stan Searle and Darol Dickinson. Dickinson consigned a bull "Texas Star," to the 1978 STLA sale that sold for $10,500 to Judy Jenkins. That was a record high for any Texas Longhorn in the sale ring. Average sale price at that sale was $1,560. The 1979 annual sale average was a record high $3,716 with twenty-two lots bringing an excess of $5,000.
The 1980's: The Colorful, Political, High-Rolling Years
The seventh annual STLA sale at the YO in 1980, set a new record average of $3,723. Jan Koehne and Red McCombs's secretary, Suzie Thomas, worked diligently to get a Longhorn Youth show into the San Antonio Livestock Show. The Expo committee was strongly opposed to Longhorns and would not give them barn space. They finally gave in and dedicated one aisle to Longhorns due to Phil Koehne's and Cliff Woerner's persistence. Happy Shahan was the show judge. The Koehnes also organized the 1981 and 1982 San Antonio Expo Longhorn Youth Shows. The 1981 judges were Maudeen and Travis Marks and H.C. Carter judged the 1982 show. The 1981 STLA Sale average was a disappointing $2,749. It was at this point that the YO encouraged the STLA to go their separate way.
Some trophy cattle private treaty prices had risen over $100,000 per head. Betty Lamb and Joe Kercheville owned a $210,000 YO/WR cow. H.C. Carter paid $100,000 for a cow. Many animals were syndicated for much more. "Classic" was the first animal syndicated for $1,000,000 by Red McCombs and Blackie Graves. By that time, the membership had grown to include: Kenneth Archer, Jerry Cook, Gary Henry, Johnnie Hoffman, and Blackie Graves. Several STLA members at that time bought ranches in the scenic Walsenburg, Cuchara, La Veta and Pagosa Springs areas of Colorado, and spread interests in Texas Longhorn genetics to that region of the country.
The STLA began hosting ranch tours and field days in the early 1980's that continue to be popular with members through to the present day. The STLA held its 1982 Sale at the Austin Coliseum. The sale average was $2,842. Cliff and Gail Woerner paid $2,200 for a Sicilian Donkey that Ben Settles and Sons donated to benefit the STLA Youth Association. However, hired sale producer John Stephens absconded with the money and was never seen again. The Tenth Annual STLA Sale was in the parking lot of the Houston Medical Center Marriott Hotel. Consignments were juried and sculptor, Jim Thomas created wall plaques for the champions. The sale average was $1,763. Although the sale prices were a disappointment, the 1983 Youth Show at the San Antonio Expo held the day before, was a great success. Mike Settles organized the show and Alan Sparger was the judge. That same year, the YO Sale held its first beauty queen contest organized by Betty Baker. Lashawn Wardlaw (Happy Shahan's granddaughter) won the contest and went on later to become Miss Rodeo Texas. The Queen's contest continued for several years with each affiliate presenting its representative for a national competition.
One hundred- eleven persons attended an early winter 1983 ranch tour organized by the Woerners that visited Phil and Jan Koehne's Las Abras Ranch where they viewed a newly designed semicircular squeeze chute and guests were served champagne, bloody marys, Mexican pastries and hors d'oeuvres. The next stop was H.C. Carter's ranch in Dripping Springs where guests were served hot chili around bonfires while hands drove up the herd and Walter Scott serenaded. The next stop was Bob Dulin's Lazy Five D Ranch in Blanco for hot coffee and a look at his fine paint horses and Longhorn herd. The group stayed the evening at Horseshoe Bay where cocktails preceded a prime rib dinner with speakers. The following day, the tour continued to Cliff and Gail Woerner's Panther Creek Ranch where they showed their specially designed Longhorn working pens. Guests were served a brunch of quiche, cinnamon rolls, meats and fruit. The final stop on the tour was John Roberts's JHR Ranch in Johnson City where guests toured his beautiful home and herds of Longhorns.
The elegant Texas Legacy Sale was held that year in Houston at the Westin Galleria Hotel. A spring 1984 tour attended by one hundred-fifty people visited the ranches of H.C. Carter where guests viewed the Longhorn herd that included the famous "Measles," Judge Tom and Nola Gee's Triple Creek Ranch for a bar-be-cue lunch, and Red and Charlene McCombs's for a look at their specially designed Longhorn chute and impressive steer and WR cow herd. They stayed the night at Horseshoe Bay where during dinner, cowboy artist Ace Reid, gave a hilarious talk on the early years, followed by a panel of speakers. Don and Linda Wylie brought their guest James Michener whom had spent the previous eighteen months in Austin researching his book Texas. The morning tour resumed at Don and Velna Jackson's Stonewall Valley Ranch for a wagon ride through the ranch to the house for brunch. The final stop was at Mel and Jan McDougle's ranch in Johnson City where they showed off their pens and chute designed specifically for Longhorns. Membership had grown to include: Robert King, Calvin Reidel, Jim Seal and Harvey Rasmussen.
The year 1984 marked the beginning of an economic downturn in the oil and Real Estate businesses in Texas. Savings and Loans began to fail and several Longhorn breeders were forced to declare bankruptcy, while many others opted to disperse their herds with the onset of hard-tirnes. Several members hosted sales in 1984 including the Woerner's Panther Creek Ranch Sale back-to-back with the McCombs Fiesta Sale in Johnson City and YO Sale in Mountain Home. These sales came complete with the extravagant parties to which buyers had grown accustomed. Sale prices remained high. The average at the McCombs Fiesta Sale was $9,435 followed by a Heifer Futurity that averaged $6,513. The high selling heifer went for $23,000 to Bob and Maizie Hamric. The YO high selling heifer went for $5,700 and their average was $3,633. Happy Shahan also held a sale that year and the STLA Sale was held at the Kerr County Fair Grounds. Eddie Wood produced the 1984 STLA Sale. The average sale price went down to $1,40643. The STLA purchased feed and water buckets for the event and were disappointed to find they vanished after the sale.
While the STLA sale struggled, the Youth Show in San Antonio continued to grow in popularity and size. Mike Settles and Mike Crocker organized the show and Dave Evans was the judge. Carol Nietenhoefer produced an excellent Queen's contest. During this era, the STLA sponsored "Longhorn Weekends" with many activities packed into a small time frarne. The sale, queen's contest, educational seminars, junior show, and open breed show were all organized to run as clockwork. Many hours of work and planning by several energetic, creative people, made these weekends a success.
The 1985 Youth Show was organized by Carol Nietenhoefer and judged by Ron Coble. Entries doubled to eighty- five head. Rosemary Densford headed the Queen's Contest. Radio personality and Longhorn breeder Ricci Ware was the show's Master of Ceremonies. Although membership overlapped, the Butler Boy Million Dollar Syndication, independently from the STLA, produced the Yellow Rose Sale during the San Antonio Livestock Show. That sale averaged $6,197. The following year, the same sale averaged dropped to $2,169 although nine hundred people attended it. Nola Gee organized a spring 1985 tour of the Chico Wright Ranch near Robstown, where coffee and donuts were enjoyed in the hom room, then on to the King Ranch near Kingsville, where Leonard Stiles guided the group through pens that included several straight-Peeler cows all over twenty years old with "Texas twist" homs. Lunch was served at the horse pavilion, consisting of Longhorn sausage made on the ranch, followed by a cutting horse exhibition. The tour was headquartered in Corpus Christi. Cajun humorist Justin Wilson provided excellent entertainment at dinner. The following day, the group visited Walter and Mary Elizabeth Scott's La Copa de Vino Ranch in Goliad where they were entertained and educated by Mr. Scott's vast knowledge of cattle. Over two hundred people attended the tour.
The STLA built a display booth for use by its members to promote Texas Longhorn cattle. They proudly boasted it was of higher quality than that of the TLBAA and cost $5,500 less. The Legacy Sale was held that year in San Antonio, back-to-back with Key Moore's Seco Springs Ranch Sale in Utopia. The 1985 STLA Longhorn Weekend began with a seminar on the seven Longhorn families chaired by Red McCombs. Speakers included Robert King-Butler, Robert Harrell-WR, Alan Sparger III-Yates, Wayne Wright-Wright, Walter Scott-Peeler, Darol Dickinson-Phillips, and Maudeen Marks-Marks. Panelists and guests were then treated to a Mexican dinner on party barges floating down the San Antonio River. The Bevo Syndicate offered a consignees' breakfast at the elegant La Mansion Del Rio Hotel on the river prior to the STLA sale held the following morning at Rio Vista Farms near San Antonio. After three consecutive years of declining sale averages, this sale set an all-time high. The average sale price was $4,400! Over four hundred-fifty people were in attendance. Tom Brundage paid $35,000 for a Red McCombs consignment, the Butler bred "Classy April." Twenty percent of Ben Settles's TLBAA National Grand Champion Cow, "Anita," sold for $44,000 to Robert King and Walter Schreiner representing Flying Longhorns (a group of Air Force retirees who held investments in other top Longhorn donors). The huge success of the 1985 sale is attributed to the hard work and promotion of Mike Settles and his production team.
The economy really hit a low point after 1985 and no STLA member stepped forth to put in the work required for another successful sale for several years. The Longhorn business was further impaired by a change in the tax laws that prevented embryo transfer from being written-off as a veterinary expense. By having to depreciate out ET expenses over a seven-year period, the tax advantages to that practice were dissolved. Leadership in the affiliate floundered and the association was left to "lie fallow" until better times. Several STLA members turned their focus to the national group and played host to the 1986 TLBAA Convention held in Austin at the Texas Exhibition and Heritage Center during the State's Sesquicentennial.
A popular event of the day was the "Texas Gold" National Heifer Futurity. Breeders brought their best heifers and showed them loose in a ring where a panel of five judges scored the heifers on a list of conformational points. The owner of the highest scoring heifer was awarded $10,000. Another event at the National Convention was a Calcutta where breeders paid entry fees to show cattle in a winner-take-all competition. J.B. Hunn was the Master of Ceremonies. Bud Callahan, foreman for John Duncan's Honey Creek Ranch in Hunt, was in charge of taking the money for the Calcutta that evening. The foreman and his wife Lana made off with the unknown amount of prize money in a scandalous disappearing act. It was unknown what possessed him to exercise such poor judgment. He was well respected among his peers, held a good job and had been nominated for a director's position. A great deal of alcohol was consumed that evening that may have come into play. Eventually, a $3,000 sum was recovered from the thieves. Bud resurfaced several years later in Austin in the Real Estate business.
Gail Woerner helped organize a Ranch Rodeo for the convention that included ranch teams competing in penning, branding, and roping events and a stampede race. She and other members dressed as rodeo clowns assisted the pros, breeders Bo Damuth, Jack Long and George Doak, entertaining the near 1000 person crowd of conventioneers and invited guests including residents of area orphanages and retirement homes. Gail was so inspired by the experience that she went on to write the book Fearless Funnymen; History of the Rodeo Clown.
The ranch teams also participated in a cowboy cook-off. A junior judging competition took place where youth and adults matched their skills and talents judging the same cattle. Another event was the "Steer-O-Rama" where steers competed in several classes performing a variety of stunts ranging from carrying riders to pulling single to eight-hitch loads. The Texas Longhorn Breeders of Tomorrow National Youth Show was held during the weekend event. Back at the Hyatt headquarters, there was a fashion show and National Queen contest. A lean beef seminar and Trade Show were highlights in town along with a Ladies' Luncheon on a riverboat on Town Lake. In spite of all the fun surrounding the convention, business meetings were riddled with political head butting that resulted in the resignation of a few influential breeders of the day. Upon the conclusion of the convention, farewell parties/ranch tours were hosted by John T. and Betty Baker and the Overton's.
There was no sale during the 1986 STLA Longhorn Weekend, that took place at the covered Livestock Performance Center between San Antonio and Castroville, but the Youth Show continued with phenomenal growth with one hundred-forty entries. Dr. Mike Foulds was the organizer that year and the judge was Alan Sparger, III. The Open Breed Show brought some legendary cattle into competition against one another. Among the entrants were "Sweet-N-Low," "Molly Brown," "Nutmeg," "GGG 125," "Fawnie 08," "Wichita Gold," and "Anita." Contestants were grateful for the facility due to a five-inch rainfall that accumulated outdoors.
Don Wylie organized the spring 1986 tour that two hundred people attended. It was headquartered at the YO Hilton in Kerrville. The group toured the Settles Ranch, Honey Creek Ranch, the Brundage Ranch and the YO. The first "TLBAA Ladies Choice Sale" was held in April of 1986, in Austin. This sale only allowed consignments by women. It is rumored the quality of cattle in that sale surpassed the average of the time. Some of the participants were STLA members Betty Baker, Billicarole Evans, Linda Fletcher, MM Le Pinkerton and Gail Woerner.
The year 1987 was a time of regrouping for the STLA. Many of its founders had become inactive during the economic downturn and interest had fallen off. A new energetic leadership emerged with innovative ideas that breathed life back into the affiliate. A letter to Mary Nan, director of the San Antonio Livestock Exposition, declined her invitation to participate in the Expo in 1987 for the many grievances the STLA held against the SALE management in 1986 including: 1) given last priority on scheduling not beginning the Longhorn show in the beef cattle barn until the Brahman show was completed after 8:00 pm, resulting in the conclusion of the Youth show at 1:30 am. 2) The SALE building superintendent turned off the power to the public address system right in the middle of the Longhorn show. 3) The space allotted to the Longhorns was overcrowded. 4) Exhibitors had difficulty obtaining passes. 5) Exhibitors were given insufficient parking. 6) Exhibitors experienced conflicts with feed concessionaires and 7) the previous exhibit space of both sides of a full aisle was reduced to one side. For these reasons, the Youth show was moved to other locations.
In 1988, the STLA participated in its first Longhorn show at the Austin/Travis County Livestock Show. Don and Velna Jackson served as the first Breed Superintendents and Chaired the Show Committee. The show was declared the State's largest Texas Longhorn Show of the time. Members proudly displayed bumper stickers advertising the event. The STLA presented Governor Mark White with a bronze trophy and made him an honorary member. The Governor declared the week during the Livestock Show "Texas Longhorn Week."
The STLA also held a popular Cattle Swap that year in San Antonio. STLA members participated in the San Antonio Folklife Festival with several pens of Texas Longhorns on exhibit. The group also participated in the Texas Beef Exposition held at the Austin Heritage Center where thousands of cattlemen and visitors from across the country and internationally attended a week long exposition to promote the Texas beef cattle industry. The week was filled with tours, seminars, trade shows, open shows, herd bull exhibits, sales and more. The STLA exhibited cow/calf pairs and Longhorn cross cattle. John T. Baker oversaw the cattle during the show. He purposefully placed the Longhorns at the rear of the multi-breed exhibit as an experiment to find how much interest they would draw. As expected, a crowd always managed to find the Longhorns. The Longhorn exhibit was organized by A.B. Menasco and David Karger. Don Jackson was instrumental in getting the Texas Beef Expo Advisory Board to invite the Longhorn breed to participate in the event.
Heated Board of Directors' meetings were commonplace in the 1980's and early 1990's. Many members who cared deeply for the organization and gave it generously of their time openly addressed differences of opinions. Outgoing officers were frequently awarded tooled leather notebooks, belt buckles or wall plaques. In 1988 and 1989, the STLA adopted a plan to advertise in appropriate medias within the geographical boundaries of its membership. Ads were designed to demonstrate what the Longhorn breed is all about, with the idea of destroying prejudicial myths while creating an interest to stimulate sales.
A late '80's tour attended by Carolyn Hunter and Riemer Calhoun from the National Office began at the Faust Hotel in New Braunfels and visited the Kercheville's Joshua Creek Ranch in Boerne where they viewed an A.I. demonstration by Bob Ferguson. Then they toured the Oberhelman Winery where they ate a picnic lunch before going on to the Jackson's Stonewall Valley Ranch. The evening concluded at Swamp Creek Tavern. Another tour group visited Mike Crocker's ranch near Poteet, then went to the Horn Hall of Fame in San Antonio.
The 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 Annual 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-b-que, 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.
Into 2000: A Brighter Future
Barbara Homer assumed responsibility for organizing the Fiesta Sale in 2000 and 2001, and Carolyn Wilton headed the Hospitality Committee. The STLA continued experiencing difficulties with Expo management. Entrance onto the Coliseum grounds by consignees and buyers, was a nightmare. Parking and passes were a headache and the sale cattle exhibit was made to share barn space—at the rear of the barn, with the Beefmasters. The sale was given second billing to the Beefrnaster sale (shades of 1986). In spite of the many tribulations endured by the sale committee and participants, attendance was good and prices showed an increase from the norm of the era.
The Fiesta Sale opened bidding on a beautiful watercolor by Lonnie Shan of the previous year's top selling cow and a wood table hand made by Lynn Struthoff. The average cattle price was $1,444. The high seller in the 2000 Fiesta Sale brought $7,500 for the Richey's. Ron and Barbara Marquess were the buyers that year.
The ever-popular spring show was organized by Christy Randolph and held in San Antonio. Board meetings had become much more cordial, and superficial and no longer required the energy they once demanded. The 2000 General Membership meeting was held under the sale tent before the first resumed in ten years, McCombs Sale. Red and Charlene McCombs provided a feast of barbecued wild hog and smoked turkey before their Millennium Sale where prices averaged $2,312. That weekend included the first STLA World Youth Qualifying Show at Tom and Mary Beth Peoples's Quail Ridge Ranch in Burnet.
The TLBAA began a new Youth program in 2000 that offered a Youth Hall-of-Fame. Previously, only the open shows were eligible for Hall-of-Fame points. Tle affiliate Youth Groups organized Parliamentarian leadership with yearly elections and meetings same as the adult associations. The first President of the STLA Youth Association in 2000-2001 was Katie Dennis.
A summer 2000 tour was held at the Frank and Dolores Pinn's ranch near Smithville where guests were treated to a potluck lunch and a panel of speakers: Shannon Nokes--halter- breaking, Rick Adams--artificial insemination with impromptu assistance from Darlene Aldridge, DVM, Morgan Cook--branding, Trey Sheffield--selling ropers, and Debbie Davis gave an impromptu talk on worming with Diatomaceous Earth.
The 2001 Fiesta Sale opened with a donation of an inlayed wood table in the shape of Texas hand made by Lynn Struthoff and a belt buckle donated by the STLA. The sale averaged $1,318 and the high selling cow brought $5,500 for seller Joe Munsch. The buyer was Lee Gaddis. Sale consignees witnessed a cyclical trend in sale price that in a reduced fashion echoed the glory-days of the 1980's. The stock market was at an all- time high in 1999 and 2000, resulting in-many new faces appearing at the sale rings. When the market fell back to normal ranges in 2001, cattle prices wwiftly followed.
Fred Hoese designed trophies for the Spring Show Champions in 2001. The STLA assumed responsibility from the TLBAA for the Longhorn Show at the San Antonio Livestock Exposition in 2001. John and Christy Randolph and Tom and Mary Beth Peoples organized the show. There were eighty-one entries. The General Membership Meeting was held that year at Don and Debbie Davis's Seco Valley Ranch near Tarpley where a talk on pasture improvement with legumes was given by Patrick Connor, an NRCS representative and the group was served a traditional Mexican cabrito lunch.