The Longhorn – A Texas State Symbol

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January 18, 2013 by ripleyarnoldx


While at the Fort Worth Science and History Museum I learned more about the Texas Longhorns and the golden days of cattle ranching which were in the 1860-1880’s. Twelve men crews were often hired by the southern ranchers to drive the cattle north and to market. The crew consisted of a trail boss, nine drovers, a wrangler, and a cook and the size of the herd was usually 2,000-3,000 animals [6]. The drive from Texas to, for example, Kansas could take from 29-100 days [6]. Fort Worth was the last stopping point before crossing the Red River going north on the trails.


Maps of trails – Fort Worth Museum of Science and History

“Between 1866 and 1890 more than four million head of cattle were trailed through Fort Worth, which was soon known as ‘Cowtown’.” [3].


Longhorn drive at the Fort Worth Stockyards

In 1927 the Texas Longhorns were near extinction due to having been bred to other species and due to dwindling demand of the the Longhorns. Longhorn meat is leaner than many other beef animals and at the time there was a higher demand for other breeds that produced more tallow [2]. Cattlemen successfully “lobbied the United States government to establish protective measures to help save the cattle” and Longhorn refuges were set up in Oklahoma and Nebraska [5].


Longhorn’s horns may spread out to seven feet

Not too long ago, in 1995, the Texas Longhorn was designated to be the Official State of Texas Large Mammal [4]. The Texas Longhorn has horns spreading out to seven feet [1] and come in many colors. History shares that the ancestors to the Texas Longhorns came to America with Christopher Columbus in 1493 and the ones that survived the voyage and adopted in their new environment evolved to the breed we have today [2].

rodeo ride - mechanical bull

Other fun facts I learned about Texas as I was browsing for information about Texas Longhorns was that Texas Boots were designated as the Official State of Texas Footwear symbol in 2007, Square Dance as Official State Folk Dance in 1991, and Rodeo as the Official State Sport in 1997 [4].

Mechanical bull rides are popular at the Fort Worth Stockyards



[1] Texas Longhorn. Retrieved from Wikipedia.

[2] International Texas Longhorn Association. Legacy of the Texas Longhorn. Retrieved from

[3] Stockyard Museums. A history of the Fort Worth Stockyards. Retrieved from

[4] State Symbols USA. Retrieved from

[5] eHow. Texas Longhorn Cattle Information. Retrieved from

[6] The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.


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