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Cow Dealing with Lavoy Tubbs

A story by Dub Ramsel



It was August of 1963, and it was hot and dry, a condition that is not unique to Williamson County, Texas. All of the pastures were mostly barren of grass and the temperature was over the century mark and had been for several weeks. The County had been declared in emergency by the powers to be. Hay was being hauled in and sold at low cost to all to livestock owners. This emergency feed came from Oklahoma and points north and east and some as far away as Tenn. The main purpose was to save the breeding stock. No need to add that prices were in a very depressed state for cattle. My good friend Lavoy Tubbs, who was still living on his mom’s dairy farm at Jonah, Tex and trying to keep things fluent, came to me one day and told me that one farmer had to sell his cow herd. His name was Green Adams and lived at Normans Crossing. Part of his land was in Williamson County and part in Travis. He said that Mr. Adams was advised by his banker to sell out completely and pay up on his loan. It seems that he was getting his operating money from The Central Texas Production Credit Assn. which was a Coop that was run by Directors and a Manager. Mr. Carl Liese was the manager and was acting upon the advice of the Directors. Mr. Adams had exactly 100 head of cattle, which was made up of all sizes and ages. Mr. Adams was one of those who had rather sell direct to someone than go to the hassle of hauling them to the Auction Sales. Lavoy chose me to evaluate these critters since I was buying cattle on a regular basis and was up on the prices. I agreed to do this for him, and he asked me to go in with him on the venture. I agreed to do this since he was going to put up the money and we would split the profit when it was all done. The idea then, was to try to buy them as cheap as possible.| We proceeded to take a look at the herd, which consisted of two big Hereford bulls, about thirty-five cows and the rest were calves and yearlings. This was to be a pasture delivery situation since Mr. Adams had no loading pens or any other facilities for handling them. After everything in consideration, we decided to make an offer of $6,500 for the herd. We didn't think he would accept this offer, but were ready to up our bid if necessary. To our surprise, he took it without hesitation. The first thing we had to do is ''Afro Rig" some sort of corral and loading chute. We figured that when we got all this built, Mr. Adams would help us get them penned, since he knew the cattle and they knew him. No way. He said they are yours you get them. So by coaxing them with range cubes we managed to get most of them penned. We took the bulls out first and sold them at the Austin Livestock Auction that was held every Monday. We hauled the larger calves to Capitol Livestock, who bought calves every day at their shipping facility on the El Roy highway near Bergstrom Field. The small calves we left with their mothers and sold them in pairs to some farmers who had some extra feed. There were about a dozen cows left that refused to be penned and we had to rope them and load them in trailers. We broke up several ropes and crippled a horse and skinned ourselves up pretty good, but we finally got them all disposed of. All this maneuvering took time and our luck dealt us a cruel blow. In the interim the market went down. We had to hire a cow hauler (Joe Bob Cowan) to help us on the hauling and this cost us $50.00. In summary, if we had not been out this extra expense, we would have broken even on this venture. We learned a lot and figured that the experience would come in handy someday. This someday came almost exactly ten years later in 1973. I had just gotten my real estate license and was getting into the swing of selling. Lavoy had already gotten his Brokers license and I was serving my apprenticeship under him. He talked me into getting my license, and it looked like a pretty good thing to have along with my order buying but we’re at the mercy of the packers. Having bought for packers, I knew that they bought as cheaply as possible and had no qualms about killing a poor farmer or rancher. Also, to add insult to injury, the cattle prices had dropped drastically since the year before. The sad results were that when we went to the bank to pay off our loan we each had to dig in our pockets for about $10,000 to pay off the notes. It really hurt, but we had a lot of fun and a cheaper deer lease than some hunters. Then months after the dust settled, we got a tax notice from Comal County that we owed a personal tax on these cows. Some eager beaver had gone to a lot of trouble to count our cows. Both of us being in Real Estate knew that a personal tax is not enforceable, but this did not discourage the county Tax Collector to let up. Several years after Lavoy was dead his widow Jerry talked me into paying off the bill to keep her mind at ease. After the last cow venture, we decided not to go into any more, but we had a lot of fun on several excursions with land. One of these ventures or excursions involved a 3000 plus acre ranch in Real County near the town of Leakey, Texas. It was not our listing, but we were invited to look at it with the idea of helping sell it or lease it or even buying it. It was a wild place, with plenty of brush. A hunting lodge was built in about the center of it and had a well with a windmill that was about the only water on the ranch in dry seasons. There was lots of game on the place and in addition to deer, was stocked with Moufflon sheep or maybe, Barbados, I don't know the difference. Lavoy shot a fat sheep and we decided to barbeque it there at the lodge. We had our wives along and Liz and Jerry decided to go into town and they all left me alone to do the cooking. No sooner had they gotten out of sight when wet backs' started coming in from all directions. They had been watching us all the time. They are mostly harmless, and this case merely wanted to know where they could find work in the Cities or anywhere. I offered them the meat I was cooking and they readily accepted. When the others returned, I had trouble convincing them that I had eaten all the meat, so I told them the truth — that I was hijacked and had to give away the meat to keep from getting my throat cut. Getting more meat was no problem. We decided that we had already had our "Cake" by just being there for a couple of days. The ranch was right on the path where all the Migrants from Mexico came through. I never heard whether it ever sold or not. Another time, we went to Abilene to meet an Agent that wanted to show us his listing at Rotan, Texas. This is a little community about 90 miles northwest of Abilene in very sandy country. Instead of continuing on in my Blazer that had four wheel drive, we got in with the agent in his Suburban that was two wheel drive. We got to the place and drove down to a windmill in the far end of the ranch and stopped. I noticed that the cows had churned up the sand pretty much and didn't think much about getting stuck. But stuck we were. This was about high noon when we stopped. It was almost dark when we finally got out. Lavoy had already had a heart attack and was not able to do much physically. Finally, an old horse came along to get a drink and I caught him. Then made a bailing wire halter for him and sent the Agent back to headquarters to see if an old jeep we had seen there would start. It did and we soon had the Suburban out on firm ground. The young Agent was sorry he caused us so much trouble for nothing, but that is real estate for you. Cellular phone makes things easier. What inspired me to write this was running into Keith Honeycutt at Sparky's Snack Shop where a lot of men go to drink coffee. Keith also sold real estate for Lavoy Tubbs. Also, Keith is a cousin to Lavoy. His Dad was a brother to Lavoy's mother, but is about the same age of Lavoy and Jerry’s kids. They are Robert or "Rusty" and his sister Gayle. The Honeycutt’s were early settlers who farmed in the Jonah area. Keith and I were both pallbearers to both Jerry’s and Lavoy's funerals. We had a nice visit.

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 Austin Livestock Auction,cows,Lavoy Tubbs,pastures,real estate,sheep
  Williamson County, Texas
Aug 01 1963


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