We started with just a handful of Longhorns in 1987. We had them on a family farm outside of Daingerfield in northeast Texas. After buying the first Longhorns, we became involved with the STLA and TLBAA and made new friends while learning a lot about raising cows. In 1991, we bought the ranch just outside of Burnet and moved the herd to Quail Ridge. After working on the pastures for six years, we now have 96 acres of coastal and an outstanding herd of 40-50 Longhorns.
We have had a lot of fun over the years, but really didn't have winning cows for quite some time. We started showing in 1988, and the turning point in our producing show cows was our partnership purchase with Bob Coffee of an incredible bull named Wall Street No. 7. We could easily see the calves from Wall Street were much different and better — and along with Bobby Dube's help on a feeding program, we developed some consistency in producing top heifers. Later, Rusty Stine began working with us and took us to our World Reserve Grand Champion and World Champion wins. John T. Baker, who lives just down the road, has provided ongoing advice and help of all kinds throughout the years.
In recent years, we have shown more bulls than heifers, with our crowning point being when QR It's A Lonely Knight was named as the TLBAA World Show Grand Champion Bull in 2002. Tom is currently in the process of retiring and we had planned to stop showing this year, but we produced an exceptional young bull, QR King of Broken Hearts, that has a great start on this show season with his winning Grand Champion Bull at the Texas State Fair in October. He has been sold and we look forward to following his progress through next year. Here we are at retirement age and now producing some of the best calves we've ever had from a breeding program we’ve worked for over 12 years to develop.
Our breeding program includes bulls and females with superior genetics to produce calves with large to moderate size, good horns, and with gentle dispositions. We plan to sell some calves as show prospects and we look forward to working with some teenagers who would like to get involved with showing. We started using the Internet for our marketing program early and have advertised to build a name in the Longhorn business that has the reputation for being consistent producers of quality stock and for being willing to help new breeders develop a program to meet their goals.
Points we would emphasize to all new breeders include:
1. Get to know someone who will spend time with you and help select cows for your program, whatever it is. If you are considering showing, be sure and get someone who has been successful on the show circuit, or who does it for a living, to help you select those animals you want to show before you spend a lot of money on feed and waste a lot of your valuable time. Not every animal will be a First Place winner, but you certainly don't want to end up in last place every time.
2. Use a top bull that will pass on those traits you want in your program — beautiful colors, a really good body, very long horns — or ideally, all three of these. If you have just a few cows, lease a good bull or use AI to take advantage of top genetics. It will be cheaper in the long run. Your bull will influence your herd more than anything you do. Remember, he will be half of every calf born.
3. For good looking calves, most need some feed when they are weaning and for several months afterward.
There are some wonderful people in the Texas Longhorn business. Get out and meet them and take advantage of their knowledge and years of experience.
You can visit Tom & Mary Beth
at the picturesque Quail Ridge Ranch
just north of Burnet on Hwy 281
Phone: 512-756-2999 or e-mail at PeoplesTx@aol.com.