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She tends the herd but doesn't follow it // GLORIA SIMPSON: CATTLE RANCHING

Gloria Simpson's asbestos-removal business puts food on the table, but her cattle herd put the Corvette in her driveway.

"That is where we make our income at," she said, pointing to the building in the northeast Pasco County town of Trilby that holds the corporate offices of Simpson and Associates.

"This is what bought my Corvette," she said, swiveling and pointing to a pure-bred spotted longhorn cow watching from the other side of the fence.

Simpson, 49, started Simpson and Associates in the early 1980s, after she became the first woman to earn an asbestos-removal license from Georgia Tech. The 150-employee company has turned a profit from the first day, she said.

Simpson seldom goes to job sites for Simpson and Associates, which removes asbestos from buildings across the United States. She usually leaves that part of the business to her husband, son and employees, working instead behind the scenes in the company office, doing whatever needs to be done.

But she much prefers to work with her cattle, especially the big longhorns, who follow the 5-foot-2 Simpson like puppy dogs, looking for handouts.

"You would think that those ol' bighorns, they would be mean," Simpson said. "But they are docile." Her hornless beef cattle are often more flighty.

But none of the 1,000-pound bovines worry Simpson much. She spent 10 years training racehorses; in 1979 she was the third-winningest trainer in the country. After handling high-strung racehorses, cows _ even those with several feet of horns _ are often easier to deal with.

Shortly after giving up her horse-racing career, Simpson took up breeding the longhorns on her family's 250-acre ranch. The cows are raised for their colorful hides, meat and horns. Some calves are sold for rodeo roping.

It's far from an exact science. Simpson still hasn't figured out how to get a black-and-white calf (her favorite color combination) every time. "I have had red-and-white cows have black calves," she said. "I have had black cows who have red-and-white calves."

This year she has sold 79 calves and netted about $60,000 _ hence, the new red Corvette.

"When I was a teenager, I always wanted one," she said.