Among the many highlights of the Elks Rodeo each year is the appearance of the Slash O Ranch Texas Longhorns.

If you haven’t seen these animals before they are a sight to behold. The magnificent horns can extend over 70 to 100 inches and are recognizable pretty much anywhere in the world.

The longhorn breed was introduced into the new world by explorers in the 1400s and reached Texas near the end of the 17th Century.

They almost became extinct before being saved by some folks at the United States Forestry Service. Ironically, the breeding operation was not started in Texas, but at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Lawton.

Northwest Oklahoma is the home to Wes Sander’s herd of longhorns (then the Chain Ranch now the Slash O Ranch), which started with the purchase of 50 steers at an auction in Shamrock, Texas in 1997.

They soon made an appearance in the Woodward Elks Rodeo and have been a staple of the event every year. The longhorns have also been in parades across the nation including the famed Cheyenne, Wyo. Frontier Days, and are regulars in places from Greeley, Colo. to Dodge City, Kan. and more.

You will have several chances to see the longhorns this week, starting today with the cattle drive from the ranch through downtown Woodward to Crystal Beach where they will spend the week. The cattle drive usually arrives downtown around noon, and you can line the street and practice social distancing at the same time.

You can also see the longhorns each night at the rodeo and again downtown on Saturday in the annual parade, which starts at 10 a.m.

The longhorns are something you want to see time and time again. Their appearance never gets old.

If you haven’t seen them, find time to do so. It’s a chance to see history come alive.

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