We've been breeders of Texas Longhorn
cattle for the past 22 years. Smitten by the looks of some trophy
steers on display at the Austin Livestock Exposition, we then
sought out several area breeders and visited their ranches….saying we wanted some
of those with the “reeeally big horns”….not
fully realizing that those had been steers! What we actually wanted
were breeding-age females. Ahhhh… being swept away by the
huge horns…we had to learn fast!
This was a new experience
for us; for a number of years we had been running black stocker
pairs and some grazing steers, but at the time were currently “out
of cattle”. Bitten by the Longhorn bug, we found some flashy,
solid-bodied females at the Stonewall Valley Ranch. Our purchase
and subsequent loadingof the cattle came complete with the instructions
to “take this whip, get in the pens with those cows (50!),
and cut 'em out!” Oh My Gosh!....amazingly enough, and really
wanting the cattle, we actually complied! We acquired more cattle
by attending lots of sales and it didn't take long before we soon
outgrew our place of 18 years near Mohamet, about 30 miles northwest
of Austin. Motivated to improve, to increase, to learn, and to
show….we decided to move our ranching operation over to
Lampasas, and geared up to “head 'em up and move 'em out.” Our
new area neighbors were very excited and the party lines were buzzing
with “…the Longhorns are coming!”
A big boost
to the Lucy Creek herd and for building a real genetic base,
came with the huge Plains National Bank Sale held in Lubbock in
1985. They dispersed several hundred head of Longhorns and sold
cattle for two consecutive 10-hour days. It was not only a great
buying opportunity for us, but we were commissioned to purchase
cattle for another rancher in the Lampasas area, also. What fun!
Those foundation females, some with brand new bull calves at side,
became the basis of our Lucy Creek genetics; and some of those
little bull calves ultimately became our big herdsires.
plus all the activities that go along with being active in a
registered breed, have helped us make many wonderful new friends,
and have enabled us to stay in touch and connected to several lifelong
friends; Mike and Laney Weise, (Voca, Tx) and Dr. Lou Shields
(in the Brenham area)— yes,
we go way back with these folks! ….and we just might have
sold them on raising Longhorns, too! It's been great, too, connecting
with good friends, Carol and Wes Chancey, (also in Lampasas) and
watching their herd grow with a sound genetic base. Through the
years, in the show ring or simply as spectators, we've loved comparing
notes and sizing up the competition with Carolyn and Wilton Wilton,
Barbara and Jimmy Homer, and many others.
We've had a great deal of fun along
to our endeavor and enjoying every aspect of this wonderful breed
of cattle. We have traveled, showed (and enjoyed many successes—various
Futurity Winners and Championships, including our World Grand Champion
Female in 1991, Fina Joya) and served in the TLBAA, the STLA, and
in several of the affiliates. Bill was on the very first show committee
that dealt with drafting conformation guidelines, rules and
regulations, and formatting the actual show
circuit…what an experience that was! We,
as breeders, know that you can learn a great
deal simply through observation and
listening….both from friendly, hands-on
cattle folks and from academia professionals making presentations.
Through the years, we've lead, hosted, judged, studied,
supported, and very typically and
enthusiastically…. worked our boots off!
Currently, an additional direction
we're taking at Lucy Creek Ranch is offering the
facilities and services to host day retreats
for adult church groups, ideally offering a
country respite, sharing the land and our
vintage l931rranch home with others. We
really like for people to come visit and we
enjoy fellowship groups, so this seemed
like another fun and logical avenue for us.
We're now retired and just might have some
time to try new things. Guests are always
smitten when they see the Longhorns “up
close and personal” and are excited about
the Kodak moments they offer. A really special time for us, too,
is when our grandchildren (and their friends) come
for a ranch visit —city kids with free range
are something to behold! Whether boating Huck Finn style, dropping
from a rope into the creek, or bouncing through the pasture in
the golf cart or pick-up truck, it's wonderful to know that some
real country memories
are being created.
We, ourselves, have 22 years of great
Longhorn memories….a wonderful storehouse full. We feel
challenged by new cattle experiences, we continue to seek new
information, are happy to share whatever the years and the breed
have taught us, and we feel blessed by the many incredible people
we have met along the trail.
Wishing you blue skies, green grass
and… lots of horns!
You can visit Bill and Anita Wappler at their Lucy Creek
Ranch just north of Lampasas or find them online at www.lucycreekranch.
. Their Austin phone number is (512) 345-3280.
you’ve been around the Longhorn world for more
than just a few years, you’re certain to already know
these folks and have probably
seen some of the cattle with the AWB brand. After downsizing
and enjoying a more relaxed mode now at their Lucy Creek
Ranch, Bill and Anita are back to what they do best —and
truly love the most—raising some great looking ‘horns!