The National Texas Longhorn Museum

 

Bobcat Twister
Longhorn Steer & Rodeo Star

Bobcat Twister Oval 2.jpg (665349 bytes)

Bobcat Twister
About 1930

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Bobby performing at a championship rodeo at Sidney, Iowa in 1934 with his owner and trainer, Monte Reger.

The Story of Bobcat Twister
by Alan Rogers

Outside of the small town of Deer Trail, Colorado is a sign that claims the nation's first rodeo was held there in 1869. It's easy to imagine the cowboys and livestock of that day and what it all looked and sounded like. But I wonder if any of the performers were like Bobcat Twister.

He was part Longhorn and part Brahman. Born in 1923 in Louisiana, he is said to have killed a young man in 1926. Somehow, he made his way to the Kansas Flint Hills where he was found by Monte Reger of Buffalo, Oklahoma. Reger and his father-in-law, George Crouch, were rodeo people and established the famed rodeos at Doby Springs, Oklahoma in the 1920's. Monte traveled to Kansas in search of rodeo stock and purchased several head. Among this bunch of cattle was a stand-out steer -- the one with terrific horns. As it happened, there was room on the railcar for one more head, and the fancy steer was on his way to celebrity. Somewhere in his life, the steer lost the lower portion of his tail. Because of this feature, and along with his high twisted horns, he was named Bobcat Twister. Monte trained him to pull carts, to be ridden, and to jump. He was highly skilled at jumping. So much so that he easily jumped over a 1930's Chevrolet convertible, which he did for many attendees at rodeos and public performances, including Madison Square Garden in New York. In the 1990's, I spoke to Monte's widow, Opal, a pleasant lady who recalled selling postcard pictures of Bobcat Twister for a nickel. She died in 1998 at age 92.

Being a collector of old steer horns since 1972, I like to study early pictures of horned cattle. I have dozens in my collection. They have been my schoolroom. Evidence of the steer's Brahman bloodline is the shape of his poll section and its shorter hair. Also, notice the acute angle at which the horns first leave his head, which accounts for this unusually high horn. In addition, we find an elongated-type ear, common to the Brahman, without the long hair so commonly found on early Texas cattle. He was narrow framed, having a high ground clearance at the belly. Typical of his Longhorn ancestry are his generously twisted horns. Now almost lost in horn discussions is the old term "lyre-shaped," so named after the ancient stringed instrument. Decades ago, this term was used when referring to horn shapes of cattle painted on the walls of Egyptian tombs. Bobcat Twister is a classic example of the lyre-shaped horn. An elderly Texas rancher with whom I became well acquainted tells me that among the most beautifully shaped horns he saw as a young man were those on Longhorn-Brahman crossed steers.

Bobby, as he was often called, died in 1942, and his head was mounted. At last report, he was still in the Reger family. Like any form of entertainment, the American rodeo circuit has its own stars and celebrities. All things considered, it might be a while before we see another star quite like Bobcat Twister.

Copyright: Alan Rogers

 

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