Longest Longhorns Measuring Up in Fort Worth

Weekend showcase features hundreds of entrants

The Texas Longhorns football team will be playing in Dallas this weekend, but some longhorns are already competing in Fort Worth.

Cattle from across the country are measuring up to see which steers and cows have the longest horns.

The longhorn is synonymous with Cowtown, from Molly the Trolley buses to the City Council chambers. But from Thursday through Saturday, longhorns from across the nation will be at the Will Rogers Memorial Center to win the tale of the tape.

"The longest, best, biggest, most colorful animals, and that's what these guys are working for," said Pam Galloway, events coordinator for the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of American.

Fort Worth-based TLBAA hosts its annual Horn Showcase at Will Rogers each year.

More than 400 cattle from 20 different states have entered their best cows and steers hoping their horns will win them bronze.

"Like I say, it's like winning the gold at the Olympics to have that bronze that says you were the best this year," said Gary Bowdoin, who brought six head of cattle up from Crawford.

Bowdoin won his first bronze two years ago. Ethan Loos, of Columbus, Ill., won three bronzes last year with his cow Dixie and is hoping she can win again this year.

"I feel confident that she'll compete and hopefully win for us," said Loos.

The cattle can bronze in three categories -- tip-to-tip, total horn and composite. And a bronze is given in each for various age ranges.

Tip-to-tip is as obvious as it sounds; a measurement from one tip of the cattle's horn to the other. Total horn measures along the horn from one tip, over the head and to the other. Composite takes those two numbers and adds the circumference of the horns.

Some could say that longhorns appear menacing, with the large horns and all. But organizers and breeders say they're actually quite docile.

However, measuring the steers and cows does take a team effort.

"You have to be careful when you're up in the chute," said Scott Simmons of Medora, Ill. "I actually got smacked in the face here a couple years back. It's like getting hit with a baseball bat."

There were no such problems with the first few cattle measured on Thursday.\

Friday will feature all-day measuring, although only about 100 cattle were brought to Fort Worth for the competition. The other entrants were measured at remote sites.

Perhaps most importantly this year, organizers are confident they'll make some news this week.

"I hope that we have some records that make it into the Guinness Book of World Records," Galloway said.

Whether a record is broken or not, everyone cares about just one thing.

"Who has the longest horns?" Galloway said.

"Whose horn's are the biggest?" said Loos.

The showcase ends on Saturday. About 80 cattle will be up for sale, those cattle being hand-selected to appear in Fort Worth.

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