The Thomas family — Chris, his wife Kelsey and Chris’s brother Lonnie, of Boonsboro, MD won multiple championships in the Limousin division at the North American International Livestock Exhibition in Louisville, KY this fall.
Chris Thomas’ bull TASF Believe 854B, a 50 percent Lim-Flex skillfully handled by Chris’s wife Kelsey, not only won the Division V Championship but went on to become Grand Champion Limousin Bull 1.
In the Junior Show of the Limousin division, Lonnie Thomas “went big” when his two female entries finished as Division I champion female: TASF Camaro 909C, 50 percent Lim-Flex, and Division I reserve female: AUTO Bridgett 288B, 50 percent Lim-Flex. If that was not enough he chalked up the Grand Reserve Champion 1 17 with TASF Camaro 909C overall title as well.
It is not surprising that this family should be going home to Boonsboro with these winnings nor was it an accidental bit of luck for them. The Thomas family has been involved with the Limousin and Lim-Flex cattle since their dad, Tracey Thomas, did some experimenting with different breeds of cattle and made the decision to work exclusively with the Limousin breed toward the end of the 80s.
Chris’s first cow, bought when he was 13, was a Limousin that he purchased at the West Virginia Beef Expo in 2002 and he has been active in the breed in the intervening years. It was only a matter of time until his younger brother Lonnie followed him into the business full time. They since have expanded their herd to approximately 150 brood cows and maintain between 200 and 300 head of cattle at the farm most of the time. The Thomas’ maintain many of any buyers’ needs with a wide variety of cattle for sale at all times at the farm, including open and bred heifers, bulls, feeders and finished steers.
Right now Chris and Lonnie run the cattle business while Tracey is more involved with an excavating business. During the rest of the year the family raises enough feed on the farm and some leased acreage to feed all of the cattle and often has enough left over to sell.
The next big trip for the Thomas brothers is coming up in January 2016 when they will be on the road to Denver, CO for the National Western Stock Show. They plan to haul three bulls and five heifers out there and will be caravanning with Kelsey Thomas’ parents who are firmly in the Angus beef business and who will be hauling several head of their own cattle west.
It makes sense to have a good crew of friends and family when you are planning to haul out into the western mountains in the worst of the winter season.
Chris remembers that, “Last year we hit negative 29 degree weather and my truck engine froze up.” But he is set on going again this year and is taking his winning bull, TASF Believe 854B, with him for the show and sale. “It will take us about 27 hours of actual travel time on the road,” he says, “but we have a pretty good lay-over spot about half way there. I try to get in a couple of days early so the cattle will be more rested and can fill out some from the trip. I think we’ll do okay.”
Which is about as optimistic a statement as you are likely to get from any farmer.