Hi! We are the Wulf family! We have a small herd of longhorns. We live on 16 1/2 acres of which we have about 8 acres pastured and we also have about 22 acres of lease pasture. Pasture land is very hard to come by here in Illinois because the soil is so rich and mostly flat and tillable farmland. To buy it just to turn into pasture would be very expensive endeavor. So, for now, we have to keep a small herd. It makes it even more of a challenge to choose what longhorns we buy (and why) and what kind of longhorns we sell (and why) and who we choose to breed our heifers and cows to (and why). Every calf born HAS TO BE special or has to have every single chance at it.
Since we are running a small herd, we have taken steps towards breeding better pedigreed animals and selectively buying, selling and breeding to get our small herd to more of an elite group of animals. We breed for conformation, color and horn and are trying to be as active as we can in the Futurity world so our little farm can get some exposure in this huge longhorn community. We are really hoping to start raising animals that will be worth more money, will make a great addition to help someone else's program move forward and animals that will be a great example of this magnificent breed, represented way up here in Illinois!
When we bought our house on 16 acres, David’s Dad, Bumpy (a childhood nickname), asked us if we really knew what we were getting ourselves into. There were no out buildings, and nothing had been mowed or taken care of except for about an acre around the house. The answer was, no…no, we didn’t know what we had gotten ourselves into. Bumpy had retired early because of a heart condition. He would get bored pretty easily. He also took mowing seriously; he had the time to go slow and make sure every line was perfectly straight. He finally got tired of watching all that unmowed grass and came out and started mowing…
and mowing… and mowing…
At some point during Bumpy's interest in getting our place perfectly manicured, he also took a trip to Kansas to visit his daughter. In one of he and David's mom's many trips driving around just to see the countryside, they came across a pasture of Longhorns. Their beauty piqued his interest and he started to research them. In his research, he came across Charlene Semkin’s information and contacted her a couple different times. He came to David one day and asked him, “You know what WE need to get to help eat all this grass down?” David thought it was funny that this was now a “we” endeavor.
“We need a Longhorn.”
As in...like, a TEXAS LONGHORN? Why would someone want a Longhorn? Aren’t they dangerous? Aren’t they ferocious? What are they good for? He didn’t give up easily. I (Angie here) remember laughing off the notion to begin with….until Charlene sent him her video of all
her calves she had for sale. One day when we were over at their house, we put the video in and watched it. Those babies were SO CUTE! Time went on and his curiosity of Longhorns turned into a harmless obsession. We all joked with him about it, and even bought him a couple of those toy Longhorns you find at a farm supply store. He made sure those longhorns made it in the nativity scene at Christmas time!
Fast forward to Christmas time. David is from a family with six kids. Being from a big family, Christmas can get expensive. His family started doing a drawing to buy a gift for one person. That Christmas, I happened to draw Bump’s name. Ironically on the way home from Kansas to visit David’s sister, I told him, “I should buy a Longhorn for your Dad for Christmas.” David gave me a grin and said, “That is going to be a little bit over the spending limit.”
Bumpy’s health had started to decline more and it had turned into almost a joke among the family as to how much he loved and obsessed over these silly Longhorns… On that trip home, I Googled a couple of Longhorn ranches and eventually came back to
, because she was the one who really took the time with and educated him a little about these animals. He really found The Shadow really amazing and talked about how he was an icon and almost a “founding father’ of the breed and where it was at that time. When I called Charlene I told her how much I had to spend and asked if she had anything that had The Shadow in the pedigree. She sent me 3 options and I simply picked the cutest one.
The day before Christmas Eve, David and his sister loaded up and drove to Oklahoma. They made up some story that he had a construction job up in Iowa he was helping a buddy finish up and would be back sometime later Christmas Eve. I went to Hobby Lobby and found a cow skin wrapped box (seriously… lucky find), printed off a certificate of ownership, this baby longhorn's picture, and her pedigree and wrapped it all up. David and his sister got back on Christmas Eve and put her in a make-shift pen we had built in our new barn – which wasn’t even finished! There was half of a roof on it. We didn’t have a pasture – just a round pen to put the new cow and the horse in. The whole family knew she was in the barn and anticipated him opening his gift. He didn’t even believe it.
He thought we were playing a joke on him, “Thanks for the fake Longhorn, guys...”
“No! There is really, for real, a real Texas Longhorn in our barn right now!”
He closed the box, stood up, got in his truck and drove out to our house. He was SO excited to meet her! We spent much of Christmas Eve in our barn that night meeting our new Texas Longhorn, Charlotte- Bumpy's Longhorn. It was so awesome.
We lost Bumpy that following March. He got very sick, very fast and before we could comprehend anything, he was gone. Even while he was on the vent, he was trying to ask me what the plan was for Charlotte. He really wanted us to breed her. I promised him that we would make sure she got bred. I had been in contact with Charlene’s ranch manager and he had helped me with some questions. I actually had no idea what we were going to do with her and how we were going to get her bred, but I promised him and I would make sure it happened, one way or another.
After his passing, we found a piece of scrap paper in his old, black truck where he had drawn what he thought would be a good brand for us. It was a 4 with a circle around it to stand for “4 Oaks Farm”. We found out later that we couldn’t put the circle around the 4 because it would never heal right. We ended up doing the 4 but used the silhouette of Charlotte’s face and horns to create the horns off of the 4. It was so much fun creating our brand and using the brand to create our logo! We are very proud of it and happy we had Bumpy's guidance in creating it.
I also called the vet that we were using at that time (not any longer) and asked him about AI’ing if we got a couple straws of semen from Charlene (she offered with the purchase of a heifer). He had no interest in AI’ing for us.
He asked me if I had a semen tank.
He asked me if I really wanted to spend $100's and $100's on getting this animal bred because he was pretty sure we wouldn't want to afford him for that.
He asked me how we were going to tell if she was in heat or not.
"I don't know????"
After calling and telling Charlene that we didn't really have a way to get Charlotte bred by way of AI and feeling somewhat defeated running into that particular dead end, Charlene agreed to let us bring Charlotte back to OK to be with one of her bulls.
As fate would have it, that vet called me a couple weeks later and he said,
"You are not going to believe this, but there is actually a registered Texas Longhorn bull just 10 minutes down the road from you at a farm in Heyworth, IL. I was just there vetting their horses and the guy who owns the bull showed him to me. He looks about the same age as your heifer."
I got the number of the person who owned the bull…. Jonathan Bentz of
Timber Ridge Longhorns
Jonathan let us use him to breed Charlotte and my promise to Bumpy was fulfilled and EVERYTHING changed and changed quickly from that moment on. Jonathan and the Bentz family have helped us so much – we wouldn’t be where we are and as involved as we are without them! We truly think they were sent by Bumpy and God to help guide us when we needed it the most. Jon and Kristina are still our guiding lights and great, great friends who we love very much and cherish all of our longhorn adventures with!
Spring of 2021, we sadly lost David's mom. We just know her and Bumpy are taking their famous drives all over our farm and with us to our cattle shows together. We inherited the tractor supply plastic longhorn figurines and, you betcha, they will be in the nativity scene this coming Christmas.
We look forward to talking to you soon!
-David, Angie, Auggie and Archie Wulf