Missouri firm caught in legal battle over rodeo bull's semen

Friday, June 6, 2008 | 1:27 a.m. CDT; updated 12:41 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

SPRINGFIELD — A Texas ranch company is in a legal tug of war with a Missouri genetics company over bull semen alleged to have been extracted from a rodeo bull named Mommas Boy.

The Texas firm also is suing the Oklahoma resident who sold it Mommas Boy, and two other people it claims illegally took the sperm over a 13-day period in April.

Texas-based 7 Rocking X Ranches LLC filed a lawsuit in Greene County asking a judge to prevent Genex Cooperative Inc. of Strafford from selling, conveying or disposing of any sperm specimen from Mommas Boy.

The suit alleges that the ranch company paid for Mommas Boy on April 2 but didn’t receive the bull until April 15. The suit claims the seller, Dale Glory of Tahlequah, Okla., and two co-defendants collected sperm specimens from the bull during the 13 days between sale and delivery, and had some of them taken to Genex for storing.

The ranch company wants any sperm specimens collected on or after April 2, and any proceeds from the sale of semen during the same period.

The suit also is seeking punitive damages of $100,000 from Glory, Debra Garland and Peter Maubach, who are accused of taking sperm specimens from the bull. The ranch company says the three were “willful, wanton, malicious and outrageous because of their evil motive and reckless indifference to the rights of others.”

Greene County Circuit Court Judge Dan Conklin has ordered Genex not to dispose of the semen for 10 days, or until a hearing is held on the dispute.

Bull semen can be quite valuable. Steve Trantham, manager of Genex in Strafford, said semen is sold in “straws,” which are about the size of an empty Pixie Stix powdered candy container.

Generally one straw, or a breeding dose, sells for $8 to $40 apiece, Trantham said, adding that the semen can sell for much more than that if the animal has characteristics breeders are seeking.

“I do not know what they’re selling semen on this bull for,” Trantham said. “Some people have pretty lofty prices and don’t sell anything.”

He said one semen extraction from a mature bull can produce from 100 to 400 straws, depending on the condition of the bull and the time of year. He said when a bull is brought to his company for extraction, semen generally is collected once or twice a day, two days in a week.

For a mature bull, that means 400 to 1,600 straws could be collected over the two days.

While Genex is a party in the lawsuit, Trantham said he hadn’t been aware that the company was being sued.

“We’ve had several calls asking why are you being sued,” he said, “and I didn’t know we were.”

He said his interpretation of the suit is that the plaintiffs assume some of Mommas Boy’s semen is stored at Genex, and they want to make sure it stays there until ownership is determined.

“We’re not trying to sell it,” Trantham said. “It’s not our intent or purpose at all.”

Calls left for Glory and the current owner of Mommas Boy were not immediately returned.

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