Want to see a bit of history come to life right in front of your eyes? Every day, twice a day, a herd of majestic Texas longhorns parade through the historic Fort Worth Stockyards just as they did many back in the day of the wild, wild west. Here are 19 fun facts you didn't know about the Fort Worth Herd.
1. What's the Fort Worth Herd?
The Fort Worth Herd is a team of cowhands and longhorns that carry out the world's only twice-daily cattle drive. The free event occurs in the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District every day at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.
2. It's the One and Only
In case you missed it above, Fort Worth is THE ONLY place in the world that hosts a twice-daily cattle drive.
3. Best Place to Watch the Cattle Drive
The best place to catch the cattle drive is by standing in front of the RFD-TV building, formerly the Stockyards Visitor Center. You can catch the cattle coming and going from here.
4. Educational Programs
The Herd offers unique and interactive educational programming for all ages. Specifically, a program titled Four Hours of Fun that includes a Stockyards Heritage Historical Walking Tour, an interactive demonstration with the Fort Worth Herd, a tour of the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and a race to the finish line at the Cowtown Cattlepen Maze.
While in Texan drover sounds a lot like "drove her," it's not that simple. The Fort Worth Herd longhorns are led by drovers - the official name for the cowboys that led the real drives back in the 1880s. These men and women lead the steers in the cattle drive and act as caregivers (think feed, medicine, water). Six drovers are currently on rotation (4 full time and 2 part time) with five participating in each drive.
6. This is Not a New Thing
The Fort Worth Herd was formed in June of 1999. For all you mathematicians out there, this mean that 2019 is their 20th anniversary!
7. The Oldest Steer
The oldest steer is named Lucky. He was born in Oklahoma on February 28, 2001, and has rich bloodlines that tell the historic story of Texas Longhorns.
8. The Youngest Steer
The youngest steer is named Chisholm, who was born on December 4, 2015. He was named after the Chisholm trail, which connected Texas Ranches with trading posts along the Railroads in Kansas.
9. Difference Between a Steer and Bull?
All of the Fort Worth Herd longhorns are male steers - not bulls. Bulls still have "a pair."
10. How Much do Longhorns Weigh?
Longhorn steers weigh anywhere from 1,400 lbs to 2,500 lbs.
11. How Long are the Horns?
Longhorn horns can span up to 6ft. The world-record holding Longhorn Bull boasts a horn span of 8.3 ft.
12. What are Horns Made of?
Horns are made of two components: 1) bone and 2) keratin. The bone is the center, or core, of the horn and is covered by a protective covering made of keratin.
Horns are a permanent part of the animal, which means the horns an animal is born with are the same horns it has its entire life.
14. Who Names the Longhorns?
Each of the 22 steers have been named by their former owners.
15. Where do they get the Longhorns?
The above answer likely cued this question. Each of the steers in the Fort Worth Herd have been donated. The Herd is a non-profit organization that relies on generous donations from breeders and people like you to continue daily operations!
16. About the Team
The team of drovers is as diverse as they come. With one hailing from Australia to another having worked cattle ranches in Colorado, it's required that each is an expert horseman and have ranch hand experience.
Fearless Trail Boss Kristin manages the drovers and cattle day in and day out. Give her a friendly hello next time you're in town!
17. Where to Meet the Team
Chat up the drovers before or after the drive. Not only is it a great photo opp, but it's also a great way to learn some quick facts about the purpose of the cattle drive.
19. How to "adopt" a Steer
Adopting a steer essentially helps provide their care and feed for the upcoming year. Various denominations, starting at $50 and ending at $1,000, are available to choose from. There are even corporate sponsorship opportunities available.