When I was a boy, I always dreamed of making a living with a rope. I never knew if my boyhood dreams would come to fruition, but the vision of John Wayne riding a sorrel horse from daybreak to dusk are far from the reality of today. Back then, roping was always fun.
When your wear your swimming trunks under your overalls because there is so much water in the field, roping is no fun. Add in a 1200 pound, angry Brangus cow, who before she was roped, tried to kill us, roping is no fun. Now, imagine you are chest deep in 35 degree water, with your arm fully involved in trying to remove a calf that doesn’t want to be removed, from a cow who is now tied to an atv; roping is no fun. Finally, imagine a 1200 pound cow jumping a six foot gate, wrangling your associates like rodeo clowns in a barrel, breaking through six fences, busting up a children’s farm tour, and heading for the hills with your rope on her neck…. Now that’s when roping gets fun. This is how that story went down:
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We hit the road early that morning; the Tennessee clinic is a two hour drive. As soon as we arrived, we started on the morning’s surgeries; we had several to do and there was no time to waste.
About ten, the large animal calls started pouring in: cows with birthing problems, lame horses, and an assortment of goat issues. We already had a cow in the hospital so I told Julie we better hurry her into the chute before we had to leave for farm calls.
We examined her and quickly discovered the problem, she had a small prolapse post calving. No big deal, a little lidocaine, cleaning, and stitching and she was good to go.
The fun started when we released her from the chute. She immediately cleared the hospital of her captors, headed for the fence, and darted over a six foot gate with little effort. Dr Sam, Casey, Julie, and I tried to head her off behind the clinic. Each of our back up gates were locked, so we assumed we could bring her back into the clinic easily. Within fifteen minutes, Dr Sam had dove to safety with as much ease as a professional bull fighter, Casey and I were throwing rocks at the old girl in self defense, and four gates were killed in the defense of the clinic.
All the commotion behind the clinic, had been seen by our visitors at the farm tour; I could imagine the little kids asking mom why the guys in the green overalls were playing “tag “with the cow.
Just as the cow tore through the sheep lot and headed out of sight, the call came in from the bosses to Cease and desist at once. Apparently, the tour leader wanted to see what was happening, and had the kids a little too close for comfort to the situation. It was about this time that Hollywood arrived on the scene.
Hollywood was an expert cow wrangler, and we all knew we were running out of options for controlling the angry cow. Only one fence remained between the cow and the main road; if she escaped it, the likelihood of capturing her would have severely diminished. Hollywood was a very busy guy, so he was only called in as a last-ditch- effort. We waited on the tour to end and formulated a plan for her capture.
In the mean time, the cow had the poor sheep in a state of panic. She had no interest in sheep, but the size of the cow and the witnessing of the morning’s events, had all twelve sheep in a pile in the corner of the field.
The cow didn’t stay long, by the time the tour ended, she had traveled one half mile upward into the dairy herd. Luckily, on the way through the last gate, we had been able to rope her.
When everyone left, Hollywood bolted after the cow, caught the rope and quickly tied it to a tree. Dr. Sam and I put two more ropes on the angry cow and retrieved the owner’s trailer. It took a good sized tractor and five people to put the cow in the trailer, but in the end, she finally conceded defeat.
As far as we know, the old girl is still alive today. We wish her the best and pray she never gets sick again. Some days, roping is pretty fun.