by Darol Dickinson
Watching a Texas Longhorn steer's horns grow is not like watching paint dry, but more like the speed of watching thieving looters run with wide screen TVs.
Going up the trails in 1880, J Frank Dobie recorded in his book THE LONGHORNS that some steers had spreads up to 6 feet. However, with all the horns preserved, mounted and restored from Abilene to Billings, in every museum, none in that wide horn spread range are found today. As with some other things in Dobie's book, he was known to add a little extra color from time to time. The famous steer, Old Blue, taped just a fudge over 49" according to the curator. His spread is hanging in the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum at Canyon, Texas. It is one of only a few actually preserved from the 1880s.
With over 50 years of measuring, weighing and breeding for superior cattle, finally, the Texas Longhorn Steer has exceeded his own legend. Today a modern-genetic steer will twistulate over 6 feet during their third year. Then over 80" in the forth and on to 100+" in the 6 to 8th year.
Dobie also said some of the 1880 steers going up the trail were over 20 years old. Today valuable steers are twisting over 100" tip to tip at six years and even more. Through concentrated data collection, AI and serious matings, many cattlemen have added to the exceptionalism of the legendary Texas Longhorn.