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By the horns: Decatur teen turns donated calf into business

By Austin Jackson | Published Wednesday, January 23, 2019
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SHOWTIME – Decatur freshman Jacob Lowrie, 14, has turned a donated calf from the North Texas Longhorn Breeders Association into a herd of bovine. Also pictured are his mom, Michelle Smith, and siblings Allison Lowrie and Mason Smith. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

After steering horns through judges and the bright lights of Watt Arena, Jacob Lowrie led his steer back to join the rest of his herd outside Barn 3 at the Fort Worth Stock Show.

The Decatur freshman made quick work of freshening the hay and preparing his stock Monday morning. His lot of 15 bovine at the Stock Show extends several stalls this year, featuring generations of longhorns young and old.

“They might not all be winners,” Lowrie said. “But this is where we’re really winning.”

In a little more than four years, Lowrie has turned one donated calf into a herd of cows and a budding longhorn business.

In 2014, Lowrie knew he wanted to show animals. He just didn’t know what kind.

Walk Hard

WALK HARD – After the Longhorn showcase, Decatur freshman Jacob Lowrie, 14, guides his longhorn from the arena with his mom, Michelle Smith, and siblings, Allison Lowrie and Mason Smith, back to the barn at the Fort Worth Stock Show Monday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

His back-up plan was showing goats. He also submitted an application letter through the 4-H office in Wise County to the North Texas Longhorn Association youth program.

The letter came through, and much to his surprise, the 10-year-old had his start in the longhorn business.

“We went on a field trip to Stephenville and I got surprised with the donation calf,” Lowrie said. “It was the start. That cow just turned 5. It’s home, about to have another calf. It’s had a ripple effect. There’s seven kids on our show team now. Five families are into this because of one donated calf.”

After four years of showing longhorns at big shows like Fort Worth and making connections with friends in Decatur FFA, that one calf has turned into a herd of 70.

In that time, Lowrie said he’s grown from a hapless kid that wanted to show goats to a 14-year-old business man.

“It’s changed a lot for me,” Lowrie said. “I have to manage the money. That’s a big thing, you’re paying up to $1,500 for a quality cow. But once you get into it with a donation cow, starting out from there I bought a good cow. Then I could sell quality cows and make some money and keep going.”

He’s learned harsh realities of vet bills, but also learned the joy of turning one little calf into a herd of longhorns. He’s appreciated working long hours with his family, day after day, for two minutes of showing.

He’s discovered a passion.

“It’s a great community to be in, I’d say it’s one of the best there is,” Lowrie said. “If you need help with anything you can find it. It’s taught so much responsibility. I have so much passion for it. I really love doing this.”

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