Those momma cows won’t eat out of a kid’s hand.
It’s best not to turn one’s backside to ’em either.
“Those boogers got some heat in them, that’s for sure. They might take you. We don’t always get their calves tagged,” admitted Kim Reyer, co-owner of Flint Hills Genetics.
“They’ll sure go through the first hole they see, and we just hope it’s the right hole. It helps keep the fishermen from using our pond, too” Reyer added.
He was describing the cows registered in the American Bucking Bull Industry and
included in the partnership cow herd he has with his sons-in-law, Adam Spain and Kyle Gibb.
“We’d been in the registered Simmental business, but we’ve found this bucking bull production business is considerably more profitable,” continued Reyer, who got his first ABBI-registered cows in 2007.
Excited to talk about the growth of their herd and detailing the bucking bull industry and its future, Reyer quickly pointed out, “We’re even going to have a couple of our own bulls in the Flint Hills Bull Blowout that our Reyer’s County Store is sponsoring here at the Strong City arena on Saturday night, Sept. 11.
“Our bulls have been bucking this summer with New Frontier Rodeo Company, the contractor for this competition,” Reyer noted. “There will be a total of 30 contestants including several of the top cowboys in the Midwest, who have previously been bucked off these bulls. They will be back to get on and try them again here.”
The bull riding event will also be a fund raiser for the “Ride Rank for a Cure,” according to Ricky Ritter, Augustabull rider and energetic promoter of that effort. “Our goal is to increase cancer awareness and support those suffering from the disease,” he explained.
Reyer and his partners got their first cows when Jimmy Crowther of the Roxbury-based New Frontier Rodeo Company offered to lease them 10 bred spring-calving females.“He bought back the calves that fall, and then we bought those cows and have continued expanding our herd. We now have about 30 registered cows,” Reyer detailed.
The cows are all of what is referred to as the “Plummer line,” originated in the 1950s when gray, black and reddish-brown Brahma stock was crossed with White Park and Longhorn genetics by Oklahoma rodeo producer Charlie Plummer.
“These cows are really loud-colored, speckled and spotted with black muzzles and eye pigmentation, horns, some hump and a little extra sheath maybe, but not much really,” Reyer described. “They’ll weigh 900 to 1,100 pounds, and the calves wean off in the 600-pound range.”
While Reyer contended that “the cows pretty much take care of themselves,” he admitted that the calves get creep feed before weaning “so they’ll be healthy and grow to their potential.”
Although artificial insemination is used in the bucking bull breeding business, all of the Flint Hills Genetics cows are mated naturally.
“We lease young bulls that have not been bucked yet, but are of superior genetics,”Reyer described. “Jimmy Crowther does use some of his top bulls for fall breeding, but they are at rodeos during the summer. So, we’re using their sons. Jimmy says the bull calves should be better than their sires, or his program isn’t progressing like it should be.”
Young bulls are not tried out for bucking until they are two years old. “Then they’re only bucked with a dummy, so they learn to buck it off as quickly as possible,” Reyer
Production is Flint Hills Genetics main interest, but the partnership also owns two bulls that will be performing at the Flint Hills Bull Blowout.
“We own Overstreet and Fat Lester, and they have almost a perfect buck-off record so far,” said Reyer, who also has a couple of younger prospect bucking bulls. “We think they have a lot of potential, too.”
High premiums are paid to Flint Hills Genetics for their bucking prospect bull and female calves at weaning time. “They all must be DNA blood-typed to prove their genes and then hot-iron branded for identification, but we don’t have to castrate or dehorn anything,” Reyer stated.
Demand for bucking bulls is strong, with bulls sometimes sold at private treaty, but Crowther also conducts a sale every year at the Salina sale barn.
“The two-year-olds are run through the ring as a video is shown on the big screen of
them bucking with the dummy,” Reyer noted. “They really sell high, averaging more than $2,800, with legitimate tops at more than $30,000.
“It is important that these bulls get out on the road and are bucked. There could be top bulls standing out in the pastures that have potential to be champions, but nobody will ever know if they don’t go through the chutes,” Reyer deliberated. “We’re lucky to be affiliated with New Frontier Rodeo Company, because they buck lots of bulls each year.”
Concerning future demand for bucking bulls, Reyer emphasized, “There will always be a market for the ones that can really buck. There’s never enough of them. It’s just like the race horse business or anything else, the good ones sell for top dollars, and the lower end won’t sell as high.
“Still, there’s always a market for beef. Those that don’t excel as buckers, or go back into cow herds, do feed well and yield on the rail,” he advised.
Looking to the future of Flint Hills Genetics, Reyer evaluated, “Our goal is to produce the Bucking Bull of the Year. Of course, we’d like to own him ourselves, but it’ll mean just about as much to us if somebody else owns him. People will know we produced him by the brand.”
These born-to-buck bulls can be seen September 11, 7 p.m., at StrongCity. “There’ll be 30 cowboys competing in the long-go, and the top ten will come back in the short go-round finals,” Reyer welcomed.