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Watusi: Rolling “O” Ranch’s latest exotic attraction

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Watusi: Rolling “O” Ranch’s latest exotic attraction

This Watusi exotic animal at the Rolling "O" Ranch on South Union Road has been attracting curious onlookers.

ROSE ALBANO RISSO/ The Bulletin/


POSTED October 11, 2010 1:41 a.m.
LATHROP – Award-winning Texas Longhorn “Big Red” has to share the limelight these days at the Rolling “O” Ranch on South Union Road.

Now that there’s Watusi. The African-native bovine with a pair of huge cone-shaped horns that easily dwarfs its already petite face has been stopping traffic, literally, with camera-toting curious motorists taking a snapshot of the four-legged cow.

“It’s Watusi, like the Watusi tribe in Africa where it came from,” Rolling “O” Ranch owner Leo Omlin said, explaining the spelling of his latest pet’s name and its country of origin.

He did not actually travel to Africa to pick up the newest resident at his sprawling acreage where a menagerie of animals graze in open fields surrounded by almond orchards.

“I got it from another guy in Galt,” about two months ago, he said of the three-year-old Watusi.

The other rancher had just the one Watusi, and simply decided not to have it at his ranch anymore, Omlin said. He was interested in the exotic animal because of its “different horn,” he said.

His new pet is contained in a spacious area southwest of his family’s farm home, securely surrounded by metal fencing with enough spaces in between to have a sufficient view of the cow with unusual horns. The Watusi shares the same space in peaceful co-existence with Omlin’s other Texas Longhorn pets that are equally attractive and photogenic.

Just how friendly are his four-legged friends sharing the space in their large corral?

“They didn’t fight at all when I put the Watusi in,” Omlin said.

As humongous as the Watusi’s horns are now, Omlin explained, “they should keep growing” as the animal gets older.

Since he acquired his newest pet, there has been a steady stream of curious onlookers, he said.

“People are taking pictures all the time,” he said with a laugh.

This is not the first time though that a Watusi has graced the front yard of his ranch home. About 10 years ago, he had not just one but three of the same exotic cows at his ranch, he said. He later sold them all, which he probably would do to this latest one but not right away, he added.

If you see a “Big Red” Texas Longhorn grazing side by side with the Watusi, that’s, well, “Big Red,” who made Omlin and the Rolling “O” proud when it was judged as the Texas Longhorn with the longest horns from tip to tip in all of the United States just a few years ago. The Omlins have the picture and the plaque to prove it.

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