Darlene Aldridge, D.V.M.
Star Creek Ranch Beginnings
Star Creek Ranch is a working cattle ranch located eight miles outside the small town of Somerville, Texas and twenty-five miles from the home of the Fighting Texas Aggies at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas where I graduated with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. I raise some of the very best registered Texas Longhorn cattle in North America which is somewhat of an oxymoron since during the time I attended Texas A&M University and Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine, the University of Texas where the Texas Longhorn Bevo is the mascot, was our arch rival.
So just how did my love affair with Texas Longhorn cattle come about? I grew up around horses and cows, although not longhorns. My dad got my first horse for me when I was seven and away we went to every horse show and rodeo we could make all through high school and even some of college until the rigors of veterinary college put a stop to that. After graduation, I chose a profession in small animal medicine and faded away from life with horses and cattle.
The Call of the Cattle
After many years of operating small animal clinics, I felt the pull of horses and cattle again. I bought a piece of land outside of Houston, a horse and a few Texas Longhorn cows and that was the start of my next adventure in life. I grew to love this singular breed of cattle. They are so unique and so individual – no two are alike. They have personalities. They are smart. And because they come from such a diverse genetic pool, they are a wonderful challenge and opportunity for a breeder to shape them into the cattle that breeder wants to create.
I outgrew the acreage in Houston and bought a much larger place outside Somerville which became Star Creek Ranch. I am often asked about the name “Star Creek Ranch.” I have always used a five-pointed star brand on my horses and wanted to carry the same brand over to my cattle. The property I bought had many dry creek beds running through it and the name Star Creek Ranch just seemed to fit the property, my brand, the cattle and me.
Because of my veterinary medicine background, I was able to take advantage very early of the use of artificial insemination and embryo transfer in the breeding program of my cattle. This allowed me to introduce many top bloodlines of many well known and advertised herd sires into my breeding program. For about the first seven years I relied almost exclusively on AI for my breeding experimenting with crossing various bloodlines with other bloodlines and studying the progeny.
Star Creek Ranch’s First Exclusive Bull
The first bull I used exclusively in my herd is a bull I bred and raised named Starbase Commander. This bull has done more for advancing my program than any bull in the breed. He was the result of many years of studying different bloodlines and deciding just what I liked in Texas Longhorns.
The greatest factor that has driven the price of Texas Longhorns since I can remember has been horn length. An article published in the Trails magazine, official publication of the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America, in 1985 about a group of seven cows dubbed “The Magnificent Seven” because of their impressive horn length and historical significance to the breed. The longest horned of these cattle, Beauty, measured 59.5” tip to tip. I bred and produced the first Texas Longhorn cow, Kinetic Motion of Stars, to ever officially measure 100” TTT which she measured at the 2018 TLBAA Horn Showcase in Lawton, OK. Kinetic is a daughter of Starbase Commander. Today in 2019 there are four cows that measure over 100” tip to tip and more on the way including at least one more grazing in my pasture.
Kinetic Motion of Stars won the “Breeder’s Choice” Award in 2016, 2017, and 2018 at the TLBAA Horn Showcase. This is an award that is voted on at the event by all the breeders present at the event. I am extremely honored and proud to have this award presented to Kinetic so many years in a row.
Dave Evans Breeder of the Year Award
In 2011 I was awarded the “Dave Evans Breeder of the Year Award” which has been awarded to individuals since 1982 who have dedicated themselves to the betterment of Texas Longhorn cattle through their breeding program. It is a significant honor to be a recipient of this award, named in honor of a dedicated Texas Longhorn breeder, Dave Evans, and I was very honored to join such a distinguished list of recipients.
Star Creek Ranch is my home and my passion. I love sharing the land and cattle with others. I frequently have people drive by and stop to take pictures. If I can I always take time to show them around. I love to help new breeders just getting started by answering questions and sharing tips and ideas. I have a huge lake on the ranch and many friends come fishing. Friends from my church come camping on occasion. Some come to hunt hogs – the scourge of all landowners. I have wonderful employees who help me keep the place in top condition and the animals well cared for. My Border collie, Indy, is my constant companion and top cow dog – well she thinks she is, and who and I to argue. Life is great at Star Creek Ranch and I invite you to come for a visit.