The recorded Emulous story starts in 1934 at Pleasant Plains, Illinois. It was a drouth and depression year. Water, feed and money were scarce. Carlton Corbin, Charles Bates and Lee Leachman (then with Bates) were once in Indiana looking at cows, and on their return trip they stopped to view the herd of J. Garrett Tolan, Pleasant Plains, Ill., before an sale. As we drove in that morning, there was this old bull in a shipping pen waiting for the truck to come by and take him to the stockyards," said Carlton. "1 had Charlie stop because I wanted to look that bull over. We all got out and looked over the fence at Emulous of Sangamon; he was 10 years old and ToIan had just bought him with the whole herd from August Busch of Budweiser to get 12 females."
The trio went on up to the Tolan house and Carlton inquired about the old bull. Garrett said he was sending him to market, that he couldn't afford to have him around on sale day because "those Dutchmen" will think I've bred all these cows to him. When Carlton asked for a selling price, Garrett consulted the daily paper. It said seven cents a pound on bulls, but Garrett had to have a premium so they agreed on $7.10 per cwt.-with the registration papers. Garrett just wanted the bull off the place by sale day.
Carlton was sure of his purchase; he had seen Sangamon around at the shows with the Busch show string and had been impressed. It seems others were impressed with the sire, too. Carlton explains how Garrett offered lunch to all visitors provided they would make note of the animal which impressed them most.
"Everybody had voted for a certain cow in a certain pasture," says Carlton. "When the notes went to the head of the table and Garrett began reading the numbers, he turned to his son John and asked about the cow. “I can't remember her and everybody has this same cow written down.' John didn't know her, so he looks it up in the book and reports that she's out of one of the Busch cows. “ What's her sire?' Garrett asked. John sort of ducks his head and says, 'It's that ole bull you just sold to Carlton’, Emulous of Sangamon Emulous of Sangamon was bred by St. Albans Farm, Pacific, Mo and was later purchased by Angust Bush for his show string. The sire of Emulous of Sangamon was bull named simply Emulous. Little is known of this bull except that he was born in 1927 and went back to Elbro 2 who has no ancestors or breeders recorded in his pedigree.
"Carlton bred his 40 cows to Sangamon that year and the next, then shipped him to market for the last time. He was an easy keeper, a beef bull, correct, sound and solid," says Carlton. Two years later, Evermere T, a Sangamon daughter out of an Eileenmere 85th daughter, was the 1941 International grand champion.
''I was tickled to see the reports that she had won because she was a half sister to 20 some odd head of females I had down in the pasture," says Carlton. "And they were the only big Angus cattle in the whole country.'
Carlton began line breeding utilizing the 10 year old bull Emulous of Sangamon as his herds’ progenitor. He certainly wasn’t afraid to intensely line breed this bull as can be seen from his pedigrees but he did so with the experience and eye of a true cowman. From Sangamon he arrived at a bull named Emulous Bob 2 who was also used by his brother Murray. Murray had also purchased an Emulous bred cow from Carlton to produce Emulous Bob of K Pride. Many including the Corbins believed this was the bull that put the Emulous name on the map for good. He was the first English breed bull to gain over 4 lbs. a day on a 140 day performance test at Holdenville. That was an incredible feat in 1962, akin to a man breaking the 4 minute mile. It was thought to be outside the limits of possibility for English bred cattle.
While Carlton Corbin was a master breeder in his own right who can be credited with establishing and promoted the Emulous line it was his younger brother Murray who would become a “quiet giant” among angus breeders. History has proven particularly through the use of AI and Murray Corbin bred bulls that the Emulous sires were breed changers.
Carlton and Murray Corbin began on their father’s ranch together but decided to part ways so that each brother could expand and go their own direction. The question was how to go about splitting the cattle. Murray allowed Carlton his older brother to pick the half of the herd he wanted and Murray would take the half Carton didn’t want. It was following this split that Murray came up with the name “Tail N Ranch” because he took the “tail end” of the brothers’ Emulous herd.
While it was generous to allow Carlton first choice of their Emulous herd it was not without a certain amount of shrewdness on his part. He knew the popular cattle of the day that Carlton would favor were the early maturing, smaller framed ones.. Indeed, it was how Carlton selected his top cut primarily because they would be more marketable at the time. This left the larger framed cows to Murray – the ones he wanted anyway.
Murray Corbin’s astounding success is due in part to beginning his program with a specific and clearly envisioned end-point. Like other visionaries, he saw in his mind’s eye a clear target, one to his way of thinking that defined the ideal beef animal. It is apparent considering the beef industries direction in the 1950’s and early 60’s, that Murray Corbin would have to swim upstream, against the rushing currents flowing toward improved efficiencies and lowered costs of production. Worthy goals for any industry but history is full of low-cost producers who found themselves left behind by consumers looking for something that better met their needs.
The beef industry experts had defined the ideal animal as early maturing and able to reach a high level of back-fat for the lowest possible input cost. With this being the primary consideration, the result was an animal that produced an 8 to 10 inch rib eye, a carcass weight of 400-500 pounds and dressing percentages in the low 50’s.
In contrast, Murray Corbin recognized that while this may be more cost effective for beef producers, it was much less than ideal from a consumer’s standpoint. He knew of few people who wanted a small, lonely piece of meat in the center of a rib eye steak surrounded by 1 inch of back fat that was only to be cut off and fed as scraps to the dogs anxiously waiting under the table.
He reasoned that most beef purchasers wanted a big, tender and well marbled steak. To accomplish this he begun to measure those things that consumers wanted. He was instrumental in establishing the Certified Meat Sire programs for cattle. This program was initiated in part to address the train wreck the industry was experiencing when it had forgotten who it was that ultimately paid the bills.
The revolutionary aspect of the Certified Meat Sire program was that it measured only a sire’s progeny in meaningful contemporary group sizes compared to a reference sire. It was not a theoretical or visual analysis but utilized actual feedlot performance combined with carcass data. The Certified Meat Sire program would become the precursor for the American Angus Associations carcass EPD’s and the Certified Angus Beef program.
Through careful measurements of relevant traits combined with line breeding Murray Corbin’s Tail N program made steady progress. Though he had bred a number of early Emulous Certified Meat Sires, it was not until Emulous Bob of K Pride arrival did he find the sire that would become the progenitor for the Tail N herd but also many of the breeds’ future greats.
The Ankony Angus purchase of the Tail N herd in 1969 solidified Murray Corbin’s position as one of the most influential Angus breeders of all time. The value of Murray Corbin’s visionary breeding program had become widely recognized and performance testing had become the order of the day.
Ankony Angus led by Lee and Les Leachman had been involved in the purchase of Emulous of Sangamon at Tolan’s production sale in 1934. When the trend away from low performing belt buckle cattle fizzled they knew where to look for performance cattle. Armed with a sixth sense for identifying the next great trend they went to Murray Corbin’s ranch and negotiated to buy every animal in his herd. The deal was quite lucrative but included the stipulation that Murray Corbin would not breed Angus cattle for the next 5 years.
Ankony began weighing all calves at birth, weaning and yearling, initiating one of the most complete information systems in the beef industry. With the addition of Dr. Robert Long to the partnership, Ankony established its own scoring system to include muscling, frame, structural soundness, breed character and trimness. The serious business of cattle breeding became even more intense at Ankony as they sensed the need for change to meet industry needs. Commercial men were demanding larger framed, more efficient cattle than had been the order of the day in years past. With these ideas foremost in mind, Ankony initiated a series of strategic moves including the acquisition of highly regarded Angus genetics.
The Tail N herd had been purchased in 1969 had produced renowned greats such as Emulous Bob of K Pride, Emulous Pride 127, Emulous Pride 135, Emulous Pride 70, Emulous TN 70, Ankonian Dynamo, Emulous 178 and Emulation 31. From these sires followed Early Sunset Emulous, Sayre Patriot, PS Power Play, Scotch Cap, Lovana, GDAR Rainmaker 340, Basin Emulation 654X, Emulation N Bar 5522, EXT along with most of the famed N Bar cow herd and many other breed greats to numerous to list.
The foresight in purchasing Corbin’s Tail N herd is astonishing, even today. The impact at Ankony and throughout the entire Angus breed is truly immeasurable. The great Ankonian Dynamo was born on the Tail N Ranch shortly after the herd was acquired and became one of the most influential sires of all time, as well as twice a Denver Grand Champion. The Ankony’s brand name and greatness was in large part due to this masterful acquisition.
Dr. Robert Long, Director of Performance at Ankony in the late 1960’s added his recollection of the Emulous cattle purchased from Murray Corbin.. He comments in his Beef Logic column that the Ankony herd had grown to around 5,000 registered cows. This enormous herd had been developed internally initially but was rapidly expanded by acquisitions from a number of elite programs. These including a select unit of Canadian cattle along with the famed bull Canadian Colossal, a select group from the Erdmann herd as well as the Tail N herd.
All these Angus were compared, including the original Ankony cattle. The Emulous cattle whipped them all Dr. Long writes. Therefore, only sires from the Emulous line were used extensively in the breeding program, and bulls from the other lines were unloaded as soon as possible.
For example, Canadian Colossal was sold to Dave Canning, and shortly thereafter Dave called me and said, “We are starting the Canadian Colossal Cattle Co. here in Nebraska, and want to buy Colossal’s mother, his sister, his two top sons I saw in the show barn and every single yearling son you own – no exceptions.” Wow! Since there were almost 300 Colossal sons around, it was a welcome call.
Tops among the young sires from the Emulous line was Ankonian Dynamo. He was out of Miss Emulous B by Emulous Pride 70 (Big 70). Dynamo was a great performer, a great show bull, a great sire and a profuse semen producer. He was used heavily in the Ankony breeding program, with no semen sales to other breeders. Literally, hundreds of his daughters were retained in the herd.
Dr. Long recalls that none of this performance data became a part of the AHIR program. It is embarrassing to admit that this 10 year exercise was wrong. In retrospect, it was a disservice to the Angus breed and to Angus breeders.
It also was a disservice to Dynamo and his descendents as their current EPD’s would be entirely different had their records become a part of the Association database. Further, had Ankony offered Dynamo semen to for sale shortly after his showring appearance, thousands of additional progeny would have been added to the breed.
1975 brought about the sale of Ankony once again, this time to international industrialist Dr. Armand Hammer, founder of Occidental Petroleum. Not new to the Angus scene, Hammer had owned the Shadow Isle herd at Redbank, NJ during the 1940s and 50s. Shadow Isle had bred and shown champions at the Chicago International and staged record-breaking sales. Dr. Hammer knew the value of the Ankony herd and wasted no time in purchasing it. The name “Ankony Shadow Isle” was christened, and the Ankony program was full speed ahead.
In search of a herd bull of unique merit and pedigree, Dr. Hammer became interested in the much publicized Auburn Test Station champion, Lovana. This intensely bred Emulous bull carried a heavy concentration of Murray Corbin blood whose herd Ankony had purchased nearly 15 years before. As a side note, the dam of Lovana was sold as a bred cow carrying the future great with a pot-load of other Tail N Emulous females from Bill Corbin’s (Murray’ son) Tail N Ranch.
It so happened that R.C. Price and his brother of Newville, Alabama had traveled to the Tail N Ranch in Oklahoma to purchase a pot-load of bred cows. They negotiated a deal for a load of bred cows comprising the lower indexing females in the Tail N herd. But as chance and genetic anomalies would have it, the cow “Tail N 2163” carried a one-in-a-million bull calf.
It was obvious from the beginning that Lovana was going to be something very special. His proving ground would begin with the prestigious Auburn University Bull Test Station. There, Lovana would go on win the test with an astounding 7 pound a day gain shattering all previous records for a bull of any breed. Virgil Lovell of Clarkesville, Georgia acquired Lovana for at the Auburn sale against many other bidders including a consortium of Wayne Stevenson, Bob Sitz and Russ Denowh for an astounding final bid of $320,000.
Not long after, Mr. Lovell would sell Lovana for a record valuation of $1.35 million to Armand Hammer and Ankony who had become fascinated with this very unique bull. Lovana has proven time and time again to be one of the wisest investments R.C. Price, Virgil Lovell and now Ankony Angus would ever make. Lovana indeed followed in the footsteps of his predecessor, Ankonian Dynamo, with blanket acceptance throughout the breed In an internet comment posted by Doc Harris he states:“When Ankony 'introduced' Lovana to the Angus fraternity, it was similar to the discovery of electricity, the invention of the Steam Engine, and Eli Whitney's invention of the Cotton Gin! Ankony's public relations Promotion of Lovana incorporated an advertising campaign that was extraordinary in it concepts! To hear and read Ankony tell it - Lovana was an entirely new concept of breeding beef cattle - ALL BY HIMSELF! It required a change of thinking and understanding what "Beef Cattle" was all about! It was as if Lovana himself was a different species - which required breeders to start thinking about a completely different way to analyze a Bull - from the hoofs to the poll - and from the hooks to the pins - so much so that they mailed out expandable folders to describe what the "NEW" way of "THINKING" - AND judging - was all about! Lovana was elevated to a new level of PERCEPTION of what a Beef Bull was really all about! Forget your "old" ways of thinking about beef cattle and join the flood of 'New and Improved' "perception-thinking" regarding what Purebred Angus had evolved into, and don't get left behind with your stodgy and outdated kind of 'plug-along' mating methods! LOVANA IS HERE! Everything else is second-rate, and if you don't jump on the bandwagon - why, you will be left in the dust of despair! This was the beginning of a new concept of planning and thinking by successful breeders everywhere! And they were right!!”
Like Dynamo before him, Lovana was used heavily in the Ankony breeding program, with no semen sales to other breeders. Literally, hundreds of his daughters were retained in the herd. As a result, the performance data would by-and-large not became a part of the AHIR program. ,
Once again it was a disservice to the Angus breed and to Angus breeders. It also was a disservice to Lovana and his descendents as their current EPD’s would be entirely different had their records become a part of the Association database. Further, had Ankony offered Lovana semen to for sale, thousands of additional progeny would have been added to the breed.
If Lovana was similar to the discovery of electricity in the Angus business then N Bar Emulation EXT had to be similar to the invention of the semiconductor microchip. More than any other sire in the Angus breed to date he redefined almost all aspects of what the breed would become.
It is interesting to note that while EXT would revolutionize the Angus business in 1990 and beyond his paternal and maternal grandsire Emulation 31 had been born 22 years prior to that in1968 at the Tail N Ranch of Murray Corbin. It is further worth noting that EXT was a product of three half-brother/half-sister matings of Murray Corbin’s Emulous cattle. Within his pedigree there are half brother half sister matings of Emulation 31, Ankonian Dynamo and Emulous Bob of K Pride.
Initially EXT was sold by Tom Elliott of the N Bar Ranch as a heifer bull in a sight unseen purchase by Green Garden Angus. Upon arrival EXT was nearly sent home on the return truck. At first blush he apparently was not very impressive or thought worthy of use in the reputable Green Garden program. It was only after the reassurances and credibility of Tom Elliott that Dick Janssen of Green Garden Angus reluctantly agreed to give him a try.
EXT would go on to become the first “curve bender” and one of the most influential sires in Angus history according to American Breeders Service (ABS Global). They wrote “With outstanding, functional phenotype and longevity, EXT left his mark as a foundation maternal sire. Known for his beautifully uddered, productive daughters, his pathfinder genetics are still widely sought after today. EXT was well known for his ideal growth curve, moderate birth weights and reduced mature size. Very few sires in the Angus breed will have the same lasting effects as this sire.
Originally selected by ABS as a replacement bull, EXT soon far exceeded expectations and quickly surpassed his famed sire (Emulation N Bar 5522 was also an ABS Sire) in popularity and calf reports. Not only did EXT set single year registration records while at ABS but also held the longest running all time total registrations recorded with American Angus Association. EXT died at 13 years of age. To commemorate his prolific life and the impact not only to the Angus breed but entire Beef Industry, EXT is the only beef sire with a headstone at ABS Global.”
Due to the profound impact of the Emulous line of Angus cattle it is important to document the history and highlights. Should history repeat itself like it often does, Emulous bred cattle will surface yet again to notably contribute to the beef business. It only remains to be seen when and by whom.
This history was compiled by Brad James at Touchstone Angus. Any corrections and additions are welcome.