North Carolina is well known for its legacy of automobile racing, and Scott Hughes has been "standing on the gas" for most of his life. Born and raised in Rutherfordton, near Ashville, Scott has made a life of racing, lumber and livestock. Married to Sandy for 41 years, Scott is Vice President of Parton Lumber Company, a chipper-planer sawmill that produces over 53 million board feet of product annually. Sixty percent of Parton's lumber is exported, with the balance utilized in log homes and door and window manufacuting. Scott began competing on dirt tracks in the early 1980's when Parton Lumber began sponsoring and building race cars for the local circuits in the Carolinas. "I had the most success in Legends cars." says Scott. He participated in the national championships in St. Louis, Missouri, and garnered Legends car championships at Carolina tracks. The lumber company currently sponsors two 840 horsepower Super Late model cars, and one of their drivers has over 300 victories, as well as being inducted into the Dirt Track Hall of Fame. Scott says, "It's a hands-on project for us here. We build, haul, and do everything as a team."
The Hughes have been involved with cattle for over 30 years. "We were in the cutting horse business, and bought a few calves. He says, "It wasn't long until I was hooked. Longhorns truly have a unique personality, and I sort of fell in love with the cattle." He was intrigued by the varied colors and began seeking more informaiton about the breed. "I met Arlan Bush, and that's when I got serious about breeding Texas Longhrons." Scott states. He was hooked on the variety in horn, color and size. Scott continues, "I started buying cattle like crazy for five or six years. I like to buy and I like to sell but I quickly got serious about raising good ones."
Raise The Flag, a Senator son, was the first "good bull" the Hughes purchased. "Levi 6, by Roundup, was one of the best bulls we ever used. I should have stuck with him longer." Later they purchased Nitrous Oxide, by Ginger Bread Man, from Ben Gravett in Virginia, and he "was good for the program." Nitrous Oxide had what Scott calls a "keeper ratio" of 65 percent. He says, "It takes three calf crops to make a true assessment of a herd sire." They are now using a JP Rio Grande son, Rio Blanco Chex, who is a two-time bronze winner.
Scott believes it takes 100 calves per year to truly evaluate a herd sire, and since he was running about 60 cows, the Carolina Cartel was formed two years ago. The other partners, Ken and Jessica Morris, along with Aaron and Jessica Adkins, brought the cow herd up to the 100 head required number needed to employ the "keeper ratio." "The partnership has been good for all of us, " says Scott. Scott has strict guidelines for females in his herd. "I like a cow with adequate horn. They need to be in the 60's TTT, but more importantly they've got to have superior maternal instincts. Milk is vital, "he firmly believes. He considers the maternal background of a bull to be critical to breeding success.
Scott gives much of the credit for his success and longevity in the Texas Longhron breed to a few people who spurred his enthusiasm early on in the endeavor. "I have to acknowledge Arlan Bush, the late Mel Raley, and Joe Valentine for getting me excited in the beginning," states Scott. "And utmost to me was Colonel Eddie Wood. I started looking forward to his sales months ahead of time, and tried to never miss a Cowtown Sale. The best part is the people! We've had a lot of fun, and the partners in the Cartel keep me enthused still, " he maintains. A new hobby for Scott and Sandy in the last few years is classic cars. Sandy has a Roush Mustang, and Scott has a 550 horsepower 1971 Plymouth Scamp Pro Street Car. Scott laughs when he says, "Between the Longhorns, racing, and the classic cars we stay pretty busy." But you can bet you'll see the Hughes involved in some kind of racing, whether it be on a dirt track or in the endurance race that is breeding Longhorns.
Courtesy of The Longhorn Journal