You probably last saw Gene Kubecka on YouTube a year ago, when Hurricane Harvey was hammering East Texas.
A brief video of 200 of his Santa Gertrudis cattle chest-high in floodwaters on his Bay City ranch as the storm unleashed became a sensation on social media.
His cattle made it to high ground and waited out the monster storm, and now Gene is hoping the world will come and visit his state, plus Alabama and Louisiana, when the 2019 Santa Gertrudis world congress gets underway next October, and see the breed in less extreme circumstances.
It was a message he was busy sharing at the Ekka in early August, preparing the welcome mat for the Australian contingent, which he said would have large numbers there.
He said the Australian congress participants would have a lot to share, based on what he was seeing in the Santa Gertrudis ring, where an impressive 160 head paraded the breed’s attributes.
I’m very impressed with the quality here – it runs so deep
“There’s no question that the Santa Gertrudis here would compete anywhere in the world.”
The carcase qualities were particularly admired, as were the number of bulls on the ground.
Gene said the amount of bulls shown was impressive because selling bulls was important to the industry, so the quality and quantity would send a message to buyers.
“I also appreciate that Australians continue to select for the dark cherry red colour of the animal,” he said. “It’s something that sets the breed apart.”
Gene’s herd 621, one of the breed’s older ones, has 600-plus purebred breeders and over 300 commercial cattle, alongside a 7000-acre corn and cotton farming operation.
While Santa Gertrudis play second fiddle to Angus and Charolais in the US, Gene said it was a good time to be in the breed, thanks to the advances being made in breeding.
“Our herd is one of the premium ones, thanks to all the testing we do,” he said.
He’s hosted 25 to 30 Australians on his ranch on exchange programs and has judged around the world, especially in South America.