Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Cattle Drive

We were able to go see the Kansas Sesquicentennial Cattle Drive as it traveled through Ellinwood on Saturday. Fortunately, the heat wave had broken around the first of the month, so the trip was much easier on the cattle, horses and cowboys. Steve had a great time and said he loved every minute of the trip. They were fed very well, eating steaks for supper and having nice big breakfasts.

We viewed the drive at the north end of town, just before the headed out to their pasture/bedding area for the night. We were about 3 blocks from Steve's house, so it was a nice walk to and from the "viewing."
Steve spent most of the trip at the head of the herd. Probably because he learned long ago that the back of the herd is the dirtiest place to be. The big longhorn to the left is their lead steer. The rest just mosey along behind the head guy. He's the only one who's supposed to know where he's going. Steve is on the right, here in the front.

Of course when his sister wanted him to look at her, he looked the other way. Typical, he has NEVER done what I've wanted him to do.

The cattle came through in three smaller bunches. They tend to break up that way naturally. They also were very interested in the nice green grass and the water in the ditches...

Yep, these guys had to stop for a drink. And after a drink...

They had to return a little "old" water in thanks. (My mother told me that I'm probably the only person on earth who would take a picture of cattle pee...)

After they headed out of town, the locals came back to put their horses away. Steve stopped by the house first--to visit.

We chatted some, but he couldn't stay long. There was also a ranch rodeo, and he was running the chutes. Dad and Mom stayed for that, but Kev, Andy and I came on home. We had chores to do. Steve did share some stories about the trip as we watched his horse mow his lawn and break off a sprinkler head.

Some quick facts he shared:

  • They had 200 head of longhorns for most of the trip. A few days before, they picked up another 200 head, so 400 head came through Ellinwood.

  • The cattle walk at 3 mph.

  • They averaged about 15-20 miles a day.

  • They usually started fairly early, but stopped each day around 2-3 in the afternoon. So, yes, it was a nice leisurely pace.

  • Most of the trip was along county roads, but Steve said there would be people stopped at every intersection--just to watch.

I think he'd do it again in a heartbeat.

I've seen cattle "drives" before, as Dad and other ranchers would move cattle from one pasture to another. But this will probably be the only time I see a drive that re-enacts a big part of Kansas history. Let's face it, by the time Kansas celebrates its bicentennial...I'll be 97! While I plan on still being around then...I don't think I'll be out watching a cattle drive!


Dirt Road Quilter said...

Don't sell yourself short on being on that cattle drive Girl!

agent713 said...

I'm with Karin. I think you should plan to be IN the next cattle drive ;)

3mph. Sounds the like the "stampede" in Fort Worth. It's more of a "mosey" LOL I'm glad you got to go. I think that's a really cool activity.