A Texas longhorn in Alabama has set a mark recognized by the Guinness World Records for longest horns, with a span wider than the Statue of Liberty’s face.
The Guinness Book says a seven-year-old Texas longhorn from Alabama, USA, has earned a place in the record books thanks to his humongous horns.
From tip to tip, the rack of Poncho Via spans 323.74 cm (10 ft 7.4 in) – more than twice the width of a concert grand piano – as confirmed on 8 May 2019.
It means that this superlative steer not only possesses the largest horn spread on a living steer, but has blown all past contenders out of the water to claim the record for largest horn spread on a steer ever too.
Poncho lives on a ranch in the small town of Goodwater – south-east of Birmingham, Alabama – where he has been raised since he was a weanling by the Pope family. The Popes have been avidly following this record category for several years. Their "Could we have a record-breaker?" moment arose when Poncho was aged around four, after they noticed that their steer’s horns were not curving up like those of most longhorns, but instead growing straight out.
The family's instinct that Poncho could be a record holder was borne out last month, when Guinness World Records approved the measurements of his rack. His horn tip span supersedes that of the previous record holder – a fellow longhorn steer called Sato, from Texas – by just over an inch. Poncho’s owner Jeral Pope recalls the first time he ever set eyes on this striking breed: "My wife and I went somewhere out west, riding a hay wagon. Up on the hill, outlined against the sky, were three or four longhorns. They stood out like anything on the crest of that mountain – it was the prettiest thing. I told my wife, we got to have one of them."
"He was six months old when I got him. I named him Poncho Via, after the [1960s] TV and movie character [based on the early-20th-century Mexican revolutionary, Pancho Villa].”
Not surprisingly, Poncho has become something of a local celebrity in Clay County, as Jeral explained: "All my neighbours round here, any time they have company, they come over to see the longhorn. He’s just a big, gentle character. Everyone brings [food] with them – he likes apples, carrots and marshmallows."
While his horns might look intimidating, the family insist that their steer is a big softie at heart. "He's just a big pet," said Jeral's son, Dennis (aka Jeral Pope Junior). "He's had so many people over the years stop by to see him, feeding him treats, that he’s turned into a wonderful big pet."