Ava Althoff, 4, of Hanover pets Happy Bear, a longhorn at Crazy Cattle in Wellsville. Behind her is Alex Ruppert, 6, of Lewisberry, whose parents own
Ava Althoff, 4, of Hanover pets Happy Bear, a longhorn at Crazy Cattle in Wellsville. Behind her is Alex Ruppert, 6, of Lewisberry, whose parents own Ruppert Longhorns. (Bil Bowden photo)

People tend to think of Texas Longhorns as an animal from the wild west, but they are actually a very docile breed, said Shawn Pequignot.

The animals are so laid back that Pequignot, 34, of Warrington Township, has no problem with letting his two children climb around on any of the seven Longhorns from his farm and two others that are on display at the Pennsylvania Farm Show this week.

Known for their horns, which can stretch as wide as seven feet from tip to tip for steers, the animals are very intelligent, said Pequignot.

One of Pequignot's steers took reserve champion junior steer at the farm show, and he had a heifer that won in her class for reserve champion.

As long as the longhorns are handled on a daily basis, they are calm and interact wonderfully with people of all ages, he said.

Pequignot and his wife, Seasons own Crazy Cattle Company farm in Wellsville.

Pequignot bought his first longhorn during his senior year in high school because he was interested in raising bucking bulls. He no longer rides bulls, but his love for longhorns continues to grow. The different characteristics of longhorns and not knowing what their offspring will look like in the spring, is one thing Pequignot enjoys about the breed.

The couple's 9-year-old son already has three cows that he cares for, and their 6-year-old daughter is already interested in animals too.

"We sell (the animals), and the kids understand the animals have a purpose and they are not pets," said Pequignot.

Sometimes his children will name the animals, like Nosey Posey who was a curious critter since she was born, or Batman, who was recently sold to a farm in New York.

But usually, the names are chosen to incorporate the names of the animal's parents, he said. That way, as the gene pool grows people can easily spot animals that are strong genetically, said Pequignot.

For instance, "Sittin Whiz" was named for his mother, Whiz's Shadow, and father, Sittin Bull - who was the best bull in the country in 2010. Sittin Bull was syndicated, which means that his semen could only be purchased by members of the syndicate. More than one million units of his semen were sold.

Pequignot sold Sittin Whiz to Steve Anderson of Boiling Springs last year. Sittin Whiz won reserve champion bull at the farm show this week.

This is the first year Anderson has shown longhorns at the farm show, and it is a nice break from working with dairy cows, he said.

"People's reactions, that's the fun part," said Anderson. "When I first bought longhorns people would stop along the road like there was a fire or something."

Anderson had animal hides for sale at the farm show this year and was surprised when someone asked how long it takes for the animal's hide to grow back. He gets lots of inquiries about what they do with the horns after the animals are butchered, and where they can purchase those.

There are longhorn fans across the country, and sometimes when Anderson wants help naming the animals he posts a picture on Facebook for input on the name.

Longhorns weigh between 800 to 1,000 pounds and are very low maintenance, he said.

Winners:

A couple of local residents received high marks for their exhibits in the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Tiffany Ramsey, of York County, received a first place award in the Youth Team category for her Living th Dream Belgians in the Draft Horse Hitch competition.

Logan Foore, of Seven Valleys, received a first place award for a Reserve Grand Champion Steer in a beef and cattle competition.

The 87th annual farm show continues through Saturday at the Expo Center in Harrisburg. Hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Admission is free, but parking is $10. - Reach Chelsea Shank at cshank@yorkdispatch.com.