If you are looking for a Texas symbol as big as the state itself, consider the longhorns. They evolved from cattle brought to the Americas from the Canary Islands by Spanish explorers in the late 1400s and early 1500s. By the early 1800s wild longhorn cattle were common throughout Texas. On the four hundred-acre Hope Ranch near Bonham those most “Texas” of bovine critters graze quietly under the care of ranchers Tommy and Barbara Hope.
Tommy Hope himself meets all of the requirements of a Texas icon. His weathered, tanned features sit comfortably beneath a well-worn straw cowboy hat. His silver mustache adds even more character to a face that is as open and honest as any Western hero.
“I was always interested in the history of the longhorn and the preservation of the breed,” said Hope. “We have fifteen head right now, two of those are bulls for breeding.” The Hopes started their cattle operation thirty-six years ago with standard registered beef cattle. Then they started raising history, and at one time was their ranch was home to over two hundred longhorns. Today, the herd has been thinned to a more manageable handful kept mostly for sentimental purposes.
Hope says the longhorn’s size (1,500-1,800 pounds for a cow and as much as 2,100 pounds for a bull), and long sharp-pointed horns make the breed look menacing, but they’re not. “They are gentle and docile, not at all rough and aggressive, but watch out for those horns,” Hope chuckled.
“There is no real average size with them. There are small framed and large framed individual animals. I’ll breed one with the other and that’s always worked out for me,” said Hope.
Longhorns are intelligent, disease resistant, and will eat anything—unlike beef cattle, that eat three times as much. “You can have more head per acre of longhorns than other breeds because they don’t consume as much,” said Hope. “They can actually survive on cactus, and I’ve never had to help birth a longhorn calf, either.”
A the animal’s horns begin to grow at a month old and can grow as long as 126-inches from tip to tip according to the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America.
Featured Archive Story
The couple had a wish list for their perfect home. They wanted a master suite addition, an enlarged kitchen, a pantry and a laundry room, as well as a den with room for a television that Lawrence could call his own private space. Peggy drew plans to divide the existing large master bedroom into a pantry for the expanded kitchen, a guest bedroom, a utility room, and a hallway to access the new master bedroom suite that would be added onto the rear of the house. After several meetings they finalized the plans to start construction.
Dr. Lisa Stokes understands firsthand how important a smile can be. She is blessed and she knows it. Just mention her loving husband, two beautiful kids, and thriving orthodontics practice to see a radiant smile light up her face—a smile she is fortunate to have.
Looking for the Printed Version?You can find a complete set of Texoma Living! Magazine in the library at Austin College.
Featured Archive Story
By Ginger Mynatt on November 20, 2009
The little green pumpkin was really cute, and if her five-year-old son preferred it to the hundreds of bright orange ones lying in the pumpkin patch, that was okay with Deborah Reece. “It will soon turn orange,” she told Matthew, “and then you can decorate it for Halloween.”
By Special to TLM on June 1, 2008
Just 17 miles southeast of Sherman on US 69 and SH 11 in extreme east Grayson County, Whitewright is a prototypical Texas town with one foot in the past and the other firmly planted in the here-and-now. Settlers from Kentucky established the area in the late 1800s. Whitewright was a land rich for cultivation and cattle, a wilderness of grasses, flowers and forest.