For the uneducated on such matters, a three-in-one package is a cow that has been bred back with a calf at her side – hence, a cow, a calf and another on the way, or “three-in-one.” He bought our packages from my grandfather, D.T. McCall, who took great pride in raising Tennessee Walking Horses, Hampshire hogs, and Horned Hereford cattle. That “three-in-one” got me started in the cattle business and sparked my love for Horned Herefords.
A few years later, my father allowed me to purchase seven heifers from Mr. Floyd Petty whose farm was in Defeated. We always referred to them as the “Petty” heifers. My next purchase was made when Mr. Charles Patrick in Fayetteville dispersed his herd of fine Horned Herefords in the late 1960s. I remember well the day when the late Dee Coley helped me pick two of the best open heifer, which sold at the Patrick auction. We always referred to them as the “Patrick” heifers.
As my interest in cattle, and especially Horned Herefords, grew, I became well acquainted with all the folks at Coley Hereford Farm in Lafayette, or more specifically Webbtown. Coley Hereford Farms gained national attention in the Horned Hereford business in the 1960s and ’70s because of a bull named “Mischief 678.” The Coleys bought a train carload of cows by a bull named Silver Domino; and the mating of those cows with Mischief 678 was a winning formula. The “678” was owned by the Coleys in partnership with Malm Hereford Ranch, New Mexico; Robert Meeks, Meeks Herefords in Texas and Mr. George Harris, of Winona, Mississippi. The “678 had a tremendous impact on the Horned Hereford breed, and I wanted to own one of his sons.
My dilemma was a simple one. If you own a bunch of cows and heifers, you need a bull. And I wanted a good one. As I recall, I had about $1,000 in my bull budget – not enough to purchase a big son of “678.” Then, good fortune came my way.
It’s hard to explain good fortune. I must admit I have had my share. This particular good fortune came in the form of an offer from my grandfather, D.T. McCall. Somehow, he heard I was in the market for a herd bull, and he offered to go “halfers” with me on the purchase. That’s right. I buy the bull – he pays half the cost. Suddenly, my purchasing power had grown dramatically. Now I could buy a lot more bull.
Coley Hereford Farm had a big annual production sale back in the day. It was an event. Buyers from all across the country came to buy cattle from the Coleys. I had become good friends with the Coley boys, Bob, Jim, Tommy and Johnny. Their fathers, Dee and Clyde, kind of took me under their wings. They were good men, and their boys are still good men.
I was a regular visitor at the Coleys and had been given “a bird’s eye” view of the next crop of bulls. The Silver Domino cows were all “numbered” with a 300 series of numbers. At one time, “390” was one of the most popular cows in the Horned Hereford bred. In one span of time, she produced seven herd bulls in a row. The year I purchased my “678” son, her yearling son went to Oklahoma and sold in the auction for $6,000. That was big price for a bull in the 1960s.
That year in a six-month period leading up to the Coley’s sale, I evaluated the bulls, which would be in the sale many times. By sale day, I had settled on one particular yearling. His mama was the biggest cow on the Coley farm. She was big and long. Her number was “344.” Dee Coley once said, “’344” was so long you would shut the gate on her twice before she got through it.”
As sale day approached, I could hardly contain my excitement. My grandfather didn’t know it, but he and I were going to buy a lot of bull.
Next week, I’ll let you know how the auction went.