Winter Fest to offer Crossroads a glimpse at miniature, full-sized longhorns
Dec. 4, 2012 at 6:04 a.m.
Not everything is bigger in Texas. Eric Redeker's ranch offers living proof.
Redeker owns the Vertically Challenged Cattle Co., a Jim Wells County ranch, which in addition to its full-size llamas and cattle, is home to miniature Texas longhorns.
Cows must be less than 45 inches tall at the hip at maturity to be considered miniatures, Redeker said, while bulls must be less than 48 inches tall. Standard Texas longhorns average about 55 to 60 inches.
The company's name came before the cattle, he said with a laugh.
"We named it that because it was a small ranch," he said of the 80-acre operation. "But after that, we knew we had to get into miniatures."
Miniature longhorns have been around since the breed got its start, Redeker said, but people selected against them. It wasn't until several years ago that people began to see the value they offered.
Miniatures produce more beef per acre and are good for smaller operations, said Redeker, who also serves as president of the Miniature Texas Longhorns Breeders Group. They also allow families to carry on the tradition of showing longhorns in a way that's less intimidating to children.
On Saturday, these little longhorns will make their way to the Crossroads.
Several members of Redeker's herd will be part of the South Texas Longhorn Association's Winter Fest, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Edna's Brackenridge Main Event Center.
The event, which is free to the public, includes animal exhibits, as well as qualifying youth, haltered and non-haltered shows, said Merrilou Russell, one of the show's organizers.
The non-haltered show, where the animals are separated by class and turned loose in the arena, is something special to the breed.
"Sometimes, it's kind of spectacular when they open the gate and you see them all running in," Russell said. "It's very different."
Prizes such as belt buckles and blankets will go out to grand and reserve champions.
Redeker said his main goal at the show is to get the miniatures out in the public eye and educate people about them.
It's fun, he said, especially when it comes to seeing people's reactions.
While some people say they've never heard of miniature longhorns, Redeker said they act as a sort of optical illusion to others. People driving into the ranch often think they're approaching full-sized longhorns until they're close enough to notice the scale.
"And that's my goal," he said, chuckling. "For me, personally, if it doesn't look like a longhorn, I'm not interested in having it in my herd."