Lee goes from slugger to rancher to helping hand
Thursday, September 18 2008 @ 07:49 PM UTC
Contributed by: Don Winner
"Right now hay's probably the main thing they need," said TSCRA president Dave Scott of Richmond. "Most of these cattle will have to leave this area. This area is devastated. The salt water has ruined over 85 percent of the range area, so it's ruined for at least a year."
Lee, currently on the disabled list with the Astros, learned of the relief effort while visiting his friends at the J.D. Hudgins Ranch in Hungerford on Thursday. He volunteered to donate hay when asked by Coleman Locke, the president of the ranch and a member of the cattle association's Board of Directors.
"Carlos is a good friend and a fellow cattleman," Locke said. "When we told Carlos of the problem, he was very sympathetic (to) the cattleman in that area. There's no grass there. It's all under salt water and there's no feed for them. In those two counties there are about 20,000 cattle that have been displaced.
"We need donations of hay and feed or money and there is a fund being put together to pay for hay and feed or trucking. A lot of people have donated hay. Other companies are donating their trucking to help get the cattle out of there."
Lee, a major player in the Brahman-breeding and show barn circuit, plans to ask the Astros to set up a booth at Minute Maid Park next week for silent auctions to raise awareness on ranch trouble in Jefferson and Chambers counties. Lee said hay, feed, supplies and troughs are needed.
"I think it's a great humanitarian effort by Carlos, and we really appreciate it," Scott said. "We think it's a great thing for him to do. I can just praise him from now on. A lot of these people are out of business. This is a disaster as far as ranching is for Chambers and Jefferson County.
"I think they were talking about 35,000 (heads of cattle) that were affected. Some of those cattle drowned. I'm not going to give a figure of how many are lost. There have been losses, but we cannot give a figure. I think they estimated there were 50,000 cattle in these two counties and estimated that 35,000 were affected."
There's a need for money for trucking to get the animals out of those two areas.
"We have an effort to try to coordinate to have and arrange to have some of this cattle moved out of here," Scott said. "We have five of our special Rangers. They're on our staff and we have 28 of them scattered throughout Texas and Oklahoma. We have (them) here checking the cattle as they leave this area to make sure they're identified as to ownership."
Lee and managers at the J.D. Hudgins Ranch and the V8 Ranch in Boling said they worried about the potential of losing some of their cattle in Wharton County.
"As a cattleman here in Texas, even if my ranch is just on a small scale, I know this can happen to anybody," Lee said. "I wish somebody would give us a hand and help us as cattlemen.
"I'll make donations and try to raise money for those people with auctions of bats. I'll try to get stuff from my teammates donated so we can help raise money and let people know about the need to help these great men and women who lost their ranches in Jefferson and Chambers counties."
Call the TDA hotline at (877) 429-1998 to donate hay, feed, supplies, troughs or other materials.