Longhorns in competition for the prize for the longest

Texas Longhorn breeders from across the province and as far away as Germany gathered at the Calnash Ag Event Centre to answer

An excited Texas Longhorn gets its horns measured tip-to tip during the Texas Longhorn horn-measuring showcase held at the Calnash Ag Event Centre

Texas Longhorn breeders from across the province and as far away as Germany gathered at the Calnash Ag Event Centre to answer the question who can raise the cow with the biggest horns.

The weekend of Oct. 5 and 6 as well as Oct. 12 and 13 is the time when horn measuring shows dominate across North America.

Texas Longhorns can grow their horns straight out from their heads, upwards downwards, forwards and backwards. “It’s a lot of fun,” said John Jespersen, a breeder out of Stony Plain.

“The more horn the better. It’s like a competition, pretty much,” explained Jespersen.

Approximately eight breeders attended the Ponoka showcase, where winners received bronzes and belt buckles.

One of them, Jespersen raises 90 heads just outside of Stony Plain and has been in the business since his family switched from dairy cows a decade ago.

His family didn’t have the manpower to keep a dairy operation going and they already had a Longhorn bull for breeding.

Each of Jespersen’s animals is imported from Utah, where he drove three times to collect them. “They’ve (United States) just got better genetics, more options.”

Another, Anne Leichtenstern is a breeder from Germany who partnered with Mark and Tina Stewart of MSW Meats in 2009.

“The first connection we breed reigning horses. The connection to real cattle of the old times was there,” said Leichtenstern.

It took the Leichtenstern two years to fulfill regulations and in that time they tried breeding other types of cattle. However, they never gave up on their dream of longhorns.

Leichtenstern breeds the cattle primarily for their genetics but she also sells them for meat and sells directly to seven European countries. “The meat is selling very good because everybody dreaming about the Wild West likes Longhorn steak,” she explained.

Harry Folkerts, a breeder from Morningside also wants to get involved in Longhorn genetics. “The reason we started with Texas Longhorn is because of the meat. It’s lean like buffalo meat.”

Texas Longhorn organizations have been popular in the United States for the last 50 years and now they’re starting to grow larger and faster in Canada.