What you might not know about V8 is this: Sloan and Mollie F. Williams both come from deeply rooted Texas ranching families. Sloan’s family has been in the cattle business in Millican, Texas for more than 100 years. Mollie’s great-great-grandmother, Rachel Ann Hudgins, bought her first ranch in 1882, at the start of a Texas ranching boom—11,000 acres outside of Houston. Rachel Hudgins was an extraordinary woman, not to mention a rarity in nineteenth-century Texas: a landowner and businesswoman.
Sloan’s grandfather was one of the best commercial cattlemen of the time. He used Brahman-influenced cattle in his herd because they were rugged and always raised a big healthy calf. Orphaned at a young age when his mother passed away, Sloan was raised by his grandparents. He gained his cow-sense from working alongside his grandpa, and later working for mentors J.W. Sartwelle at the Port City Stockyards in Houston and Edgar Hudgins of J.D. Hudgins soon after he and Mollie married.
What does it take to be a ranch pioneer? For starters, hard work. Also, persistence, Christian values, and hands-on experience. Mollie grew up on the J.D. Hudgins Ranch, and fondly recalls feeding the original “Manso” with her grandma, Ethel Forgason. Even today, we keep a special place in our hearts for our cousins at J.D. Hudgins. After all, our legacy has been built on family ties and traditions.
When Sloan and Mollie decided to gamble on their love of livestock and buy V8 Ranch in 1971, they knew just what they were doing. And it’s quite the story, too!
How V8 Got Its Start: Howard Parker and Dr. Jacobs
Before we can tell you how we got V8 Ranch, we have to tell you how it came to be such a catch. V8 was established long before Sloan and Mollie got to it, back in 1944. It was founded by Howard Parker of Center, Texas. The original cattle were acquired from the breeding of Dr. William States Jacobs, a pioneer Brahman breeder who established his herd with cattle imported directly from India in 1924 and 1925. That’s right—Brahman cows are a tropical breed, which is why they do so well in warm climates all across the globe.
Jacobs’ breeding is known as AA cattle, an ABBA classification that signifies cattle of pure Indian descent. Early foundation animals from Jacobs’ herd include Hattie Cleo (ABBA C1409), who’s famous for being the most significant female in the history of the Brahman breed. From Hattie Cleo, Tippu the Great and Optimus lines of cattle developed two lines that could be found in the bloodlines of Howard Parker’s foundation herd.
When Parker went to build his herd, he went to Marshall Johnson, another well respected breeder of the 1940s. As the legend goes, Mr. Parker asked Marshall Johnson to separate the cows from the calves before the came to the ranch. When he went to buy the cattle, he made his picks based on the fattest, bloomiest calves. He made this list, then asked Mr. Johnson to turn the calves back in with their mothers. Whatever mothers those fat, bloomy calves went to were the cows that Parker used to start his herd.
And, maybe you could say that’s how V8 got it’s start as being known for great females – because maternal excellence has been the foundation of our selection since day one.
Parker was a Ford automobile dealer and named his cattle ranch V8, after the engine. Over time, his herd became well-known throughout the country for its outstanding cow families with gentle dispositions. The foundation herd came first from Jacobs’ bloodlines, then later with the addition of some Manso breeding, and even later with Imperator influence. The Optimus bull—descended from the great Hattie Cleo—was deeply influential in the early V8 herd. It’s no surprise that today, more than 70 years later, the guiding force behind V8 breeding is still its legendary cow families.
Becoming V8: Sloan and Mollie Williams Take a Call from Destiny
We promised you a story, and this one’s a gem. When Sloan Williams was inducted into the ABBA Hall of Fame, the award presenter actually joked, “The way Sloan made the deal to purchase the V8 cow herd is cause enough to induct him into the Hall of Fame!”
So how’d he do it? In 1971, word got out that Parker was looking to sell the V8 herd, brand, and ranch in Center, Texas. It was just one week before Christmas when Sloan heard the news. Even back then, V8 was known as one of the better Brahman ranches in the United States. The cattle were good cattle, and Sloan knew it. The ranch was not only on the market—Parker wanted the deal to go through before the New Year! Problem was —Sloan was out of town, in New Mexico, on his first (and only) Williams family ski trip.
These were the days before email and cell phones. Communication was going to be tricky, but this was destiny. And, when destiny’s calling, you call back. Sloan negotiated the million-dollar deal via a pay phone in Red River, New Mexico. He recruited investors to purchase the real estate from the ranch, but acquired the registered cattle herd and V8 brand himself. After his vacation, Sloan relocated the herd to Wharton County, where they’ve lived ever since.
Building V8 Ranch: A Family Affair
Building a world-famous ranch takes hard work, sleepless nights, and unwavering dedication.
Sloan knew that as the owner of V8, he would need to draw on the talents of their family. After all, ranching is a family tradition, and everyone was happy to help out with the effort.
In those early days of V8, Sloan’s best cowhand was usually his wife, Mollie. She was a championship cowgirl, so she could ride, rope, and cut cattle – but she also knew the registered Brahman business and was good at finances. There wasn’t a job on the ranch she couldn’t – or wouldn’t – do. Her example set the foundation for a long line of confident and capable women in ranching at V8.
In 1976, Jim Williams graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in animal science, and he and his wife Luann returned to the ranch. Jim began work as manager of the purebred Brahman herd, and Luann took over ranch office duties.
Jim has a keen eye for cattle breeding and a passion for Brahman herd improvement—two qualities of a successful cattleman. He quickly began implementing the strict selection and culling guidelines that we still follow to this day. He adopted performance record-keeping. He began to assemble what has become one of the most detailed and complete cow herd production histories available on any herd in the United States. He was the youngest person to judge the Houston Livestock Show and quickly earned a reputation as a leading cattle evaluator worldwide.
That V8 Style: Our Rapid Rise
Although V8 had a high level of notoriety dating back to its foundation in the 1940s, and we exhibited our first National Champion Female in 1976 and our first National Champion Bull in 1979, it wasn’t until the early ’80s that the ranch really exploded onto the worldwide Brahman scene. Under Jim and Sloan’s expert breeding, V8 Ranch became best known for its outstanding cow families.
What made us famous? Our remarkable ability to consistently breed and market large volumes of cattle bred specifically for fertility, conformation, Brahman breed character, and structural correctness. By focusing our energy on developing these characteristics, we unconsciously developed something else: an unmistakable V8 look, carried by our females, that’s become recognizable the world over. Breeders all across the world claim they can identify a V8-bred animal without even looking at their brand or pedigree. “It’s that V8 style,” they tell us.
We hosted our first ranch production sale in 1981: “The Golden Gate Sale.” It was a runaway success, breaking 6 Brahman sale world records. It still holds the record for the highest-averaging Brahman production sale of all-time, with an average of $14,357 per head.
In the mid-’80s, we acquired a significant group of cattle from the dispersal of the U.S. Sugar Corporation. As a student, Jim had spent a great deal of time with the USSC managers, learning about their breeding program and history. When the herd dispersed, we purchased their top animals to incorporate into the V8 herd.
What did the influx of U.S. Sugar genetics bring us?
- (+)Mr. V8 202/3, one of the breed’s elite Vanguard sires, and the winningest U.S. Brahman bull of all time
- He’s the breed’s only three-time National Champion (1986, 1987, and 1988) and two-time International Champion (1987 and 1988)
- After 202, V8 began its legacy of stamping out championship cattle, one right after another.
In 1998, the next great herd sire to impact Brahman breeding was born: Mr. V8 287/5, better known as Superstroke.
Superstroke Fast Facts
- He was the six-time undefeated International Champion Get-of-Sire winner (2001-2006)
- His notable offspring include:
- Two International Champion bulls
- One National Champion bull
- Two International Champion females
In 2000, we hosted our third production sale—“Power of Production”—which grossed more than $1 million, with buyers spanning the globe.
In 2005, V8 Ranch claimed all four of the International Grand and Reserve Grand Championships at the Houston show—an incredible achievement.
Sharpening An Axe That Was Plenty Sharp to Begin With…
In the last decade, V8 Ranch has reached all time highs never achieved before in the Brahman breed.
Since Rachel’s husband, Brandon, joined the family in 2010, the ranch has grown even more than we ever thought possible. Brandon spearheaded the Genetic Partners program, as well as the V8 Ranch performance bull test and purebred Brahman steer feedout.
V8 Ranch has fed the highest number of purebred Brahman steers of any ranch in the United States. We also participate in the ABBA Carcass Evaluation Program. Using the newest technology in carcass ultrasound and genetic research, we’ve made sure our cattle remains the best of the breed. In 2018, we founded V8 Ranch Beef, the first ever 100% Brahman branded beef program.
+Mr. V8 380/6, emerged in the 2010s. He was recognized by The Brahman Journal as the #1 Sire of Champions from 2011 to 2018, making him the most winning Brahman sire of champions in USA in modern history. In September 2017, his semen sold for over $18,000 per unit at auction—the highest-valued U.S. semen at that time. Currently 380 is ranked as the #3 bull of the Brahman breed for the ABBA Register of Renown, and still climbing. He passed away in 2019.
Mr. V8 458/7 “Noble” is the next great sire at V8 Ranch. Our 2016 V8 Ranch Bull of the Year, he sired the Grand Champion Bull at Houston from his first calf crop. His offspring have been the highest valued cattle to sell in 2017 and 2018.
We have also held several tremendous sales in the past few years. In 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, V8 Ranch held the highest-averaging bull and female sales of the year —breaking even more Brahman records. In 2018, we the highest two females to sell in auction – selling for $70,500 and $70,000 per head, respectively.
Looking to 2020 and Beyond…
Since 1976, the ranch has exhibited more than 100 National, International Grand or Reserve Grand Champions. We’ve won the prestigious HK Memorial Trophy for Premier Exhibitor of the International Show five times. And we feel like we’re just getting started! Our goal is to continue to serve the global cattle industry with great cattle and great service. We believe it’s our dedication to excellence in Brahman breeding and our focus on serving the customer. Our basic philosophy as seedstock breeders is that our goal should be to see others excel using our genetics.
Our purpose is to raise outstanding replacement Brahman females…for our customers.
Our purpose is to sell Brahman bulls that raise heavier calves (and make more money)… for our commercial customers.
Our purpose is to continually raise AI sires that will make a difference in the Brahman breed.
Our purpose is to raise the most outstanding Brahman females on the planet…for our customers.
Our purpose is to raise wholesome, healthy beef.…for the world.
Meet the V8 Family: Notable Accomplishments
Mollie and Sloan Williams
- In the 1980s and 1990s, Sloan was an avid traveler for work.
- He visited South America, Central America, Thailand, and Australia to see fellow breeders.
- He is a member of the ABBA Hall of Fame and the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame.
- He is also a past president and approved judge of ABBA.
- Mollie is part of every activity on the ranch, from working cows to handling the ranch’s accounting.
Luann and Jim Williams
- Jim is past president of ABBA and the only three-time president in the history of the American Shorthorn Association.
- He’s an approved judge of all major U.S. beef brands and has judged national shows, international shows, and 26 different state fairs.
- He is recognized as one of the world’s leading judges of Brahman cattle.
- Jim judged the 2008 International Brahman Show, the 2002 National Brahman Show, the 2006 World Brahman Congress in Mexico, the 2010 World Brahman Congress in Brazil, and the 2018 World Brahman Congress in Colombia.
- Luann married Jim in 1976, and together they had two daughters, Rachel and Catherine.
- Luann held the position of ranch office manager for more than 30 years, before passing the duties on to Rachel, their eldest.
Rachel and Brandon Cutrer
- Rachel is responsible for the ranch’s business matters, semen sales, marketing and hospitality. She is the owner of Ranch House Designs, Inc. Rachel loves visiting Brahman ranches in Central America and South America.
- Brandon manages the ranch’s AI program, bull development, performance program, photography, and sales. He is an ABBA approved judge and has judged across the USA, Colombia, Nicaragua and Mexico.
- As teens, Rachel and Brandon were both active member of the AJBA. Brandon is a former AJBA director and Mississippi Junior Cattlemen’s Association president. Rachel was president of the American Junior Shorthorn Association.
- At age 11, Rachel showed the International Grand Champion Female at Houston open show with Miss V8 725/3. She won six “All American” Grand Champion Grey Female awards and two AJBA national showmanship championships. She also was national champion showman in the Shorthorn breed.
- Brandon and Rachel are the only husband and wife team to serve simultaneously on the ABBA board of directors. Together they judged the National Junior Shorthorn showmanship contest and are slated to judge the National Junior Hereford showmanship contest in 2019.
- They have two daughters, Mollie Jo and Ann Catherine.
Catherine and Luke Neumayr
- As a teen, Catherine showed Shorthorns and holds the record of exhibiting three back-to-back Junior National Champion Females (1999, 2000, and 2001).
- Catherine has won both national leadership contests and national champion showman awards from the AJSA.
- Catherine is a former AJSA vice president and was awarded the Junior Breeder of the Year.
- Luke is a former collegiate livestock judging team member, winning the National Western Intercollegiate Livestock Judging Contest. He has judged in the U.S. and Canada.
- Luke and Catherine work as professional wedding photographers and own Luke & Cat Photography.
- The Neumayr’s have one son, Knox Harrison Neumayr.
Jan and Payton Powell
- Jan operates the V8 Horse Division with her daughter, Payton, which includes ranch and rodeo horses.
- Both Jan and Payton are avid barrel racers, calf ropers, and all-around cowgirls. They also enjoy cutting horse competitions.
- These ladies own a herd of F1 Brahman x Herefords.
- Payton is a graduate of Texas A&M University and assists with the V8 commercial herd and business matters.
The Brands at V8 Ranch
Customers often ask us about our different brands. Initially, when Sloan purchased the herd, all the cattle carried the V8 brand on their left hip. This tradition still holds true today. Because Jim was older when the herd was purchased, his cattle are branded the same way as Sloan’s, using the same V8 brand.
However, as the family grew, Sloan & Mollie wanted to find a way to make sure all their children and grandchildren would be able to continue their heritage as Brahman breeders. So, they gave each child and grandchild the best heifer calf of that year’s calf crop. Sloan and Jim decided to come up with a way to let the girls know which cattle were theirs when they drove through the pastures. They decided on shoulder brands, named for each child, which can now be seen on a number of the ranch’s cattle.
Who’s who in shoulder brands?
- R: Established 1979, signifies cattle owned by Brandon & Rachel Cutrer
- C: Established 1983, signifies cattle owned by Luke and Catherine Neumayr
- P: Established 1997, signifies cattle owned by Payton Powell
- M: Established 2011, signifies cattle owned by Mollie Jo Cutrer
- Butterfly AC: Established 2015, signifies cattle owned by Ann Catherine Cutrer
- K: Established 2017, signifies cattle owned by Knox Neumayr.
How far have V8 cattle and genetics traveled?
- Every state in the southern United States
- North America
- South America
- More than 40 countries worldwide
Reaching New Heights
Sloan and Mollie Williams achieved their lifelong dream of ranching together, and now that dream includes their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Come to the ranch on any given day, and you’ll find at least three generations of family members working side by side – and often with the fourth generation tagging along somewhere. The future is brighter than ever—not just for our ranch, but the whole Brahman breed.
For more than forty years, we’ve kept true to our strong ranching roots. The livestock industry has been built on passion and tradition. Those in the business know why we do it: the love of our cattle. While we work hard each day to reach new heights with our herd, we’re proud to honor and preserve V8’s time-honored traditions of excellence, enthusiasm, and single-minded determination. In 2012, we were awarded the “Seedstock Producer of the Year” award from the Beef Improvement Federation. This prestigious award recognizes our commitment to the industry and our efforts to produce gentle, high-quality Brahman seedstock with carcass merit.
In 2015, V8 Ranch was featured on the RFD TV show, The American Rancher. You can watch the episode here.
At V8, we take pride in our heritage, our Christian values, our work ethic, and above all our hands-on family atmosphere. We wake up each day excited to face the future and continue working toward our common goal: sustaining our family-owned and operated ranch for generations to come.
We love sharing the story of Brahman. We love talking Brahman cattle. We exhibit our cattle every year at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. We would love for you to stop by. Or, if you’d like to come out and see the ranch, give us a call to setup a time to stop by and see us!