GERING — Before Harold Minge died in June, he’d written down the names and numbers of six longhorn heifers from his herd that he wanted to donate to Legacy of the Plains.
“That made it easier for me,” his wife, Barb, said.
On Tuesday morning, Barb brought the cows to the museum and handed over the brand inspection to executive director Dave Wolf. The new heifers bring the total count of longhorns at the museum to 18, all representing Minge’s legacy.
The Minges bought a ranch south of Gering in 1994, which they called Minge Ranch. Soon after, Harold began building a herd of longhorns.
“He loved longhorns,” said Barb. “They were his hobby.”
The herd started with five, but at one point it consisted of over 100, Barb said.
“He could name all of them,” she said.
In 2011, Harold gave six head to Legacy of the Plains.
Barb said he had considered selling the cows to the museum, but after some thought, he’d decided to donate them so that people who hadn’t seen longhorns could learn about them and enjoy them.
“They’re the most photographed thing on our campus,” Wolf said.
Eventually, those cows had calves, bringing the museum’s herd up to 12.
The herd will continue to grow, with a steer being delivered in early October.
“He’s a monster,” Gary Warner, who calls himself the museum’s wrangler, said.
The steer’s horns are an estimated 10 inches in diameter and at least six foot across, Warner said.
Warner has enjoyed taking care of the longhorns and he was excited about the new additions to the herd.
“They’re my babies,” he said.
He’ll have more babies to take care of come spring — the six heifers that arrived on Tuesday are all bred to a registered bull and are expected to start calving in April.
Wolf said that Harold was a big part of Legacy of the Plains and the museum staff was humbled by the donation. In addition to the cattle, nearly $2,500 had been donated to the museum as a memorial for Harold.
“It means a lot to us to continue his legacy,” Wolf said.