Sunday, September 30, 2007

Head 'em up, move 'em out!

We live smack in the middle of the Chisholm Trail, which was a major route used for cattle drives in the mid- to late 1800's. The route went from southern Texas, across the Red River and north to Abilene, Kansas.








This is our friend, Carmen. She participated in the Cherokee Strip Land Run Centennial cattle drive in 1993. She and others began talking about another cattle drive this year, for Oklahoma's Centennial celebration. But they wanted it to be big. They've spent 14 years planning for this.

For the past three weeks, they have been herding 450 head of cattle from the southern to the northern borders of our state. This weekend, they stayed overnight in our town, and we got to visit the cow camp. Carmen gave us the lowdown on the drive.

The 25 cowboys get up at 4:30, eat breakfast, break camp, and start rounding up the cattle. They ride about 15 hours a day, and the cattle set the pace. They want to keep them all healthy, so if one goes lame or is having trouble, they load it up and send it safely back to its owner. They have been traveling alongside Highway 81, which is well traveled, but Carmen says the cattle are pretty calm and the traffic doesn't seem to bother them. She did say that they went through an area where there were some llamas, and that didn't go over well. The cattle gave them a wide berth, and the horses got skittish. Must be a history of bad blood between the equines and the llama population.

There is another week left of the cattle drive, and Carmen says she doesn't want it to end. She tells us that the people of Oklahoma have been amazing, turning out, offering food and water. She has even met people from places such as Norway and Germany. She didn't have words to describe the experience, but that ear to ear grin that never left her face spoke volumes.

They are breaking camp and continuing north tomorrow morning. They will be heading out around 8 a.m. Carmen told us the best place to watch as they leave. Because, as cool as it was to see the camp and the cattle grazing, it's got to be way cooler to watch 450 cattle being herded by a lot of dedicated cowpokes. There will be pictures. I just hope I don't run into this bad boy.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Di said...

Danny is going to help with traffic control when they come through Pond Creek on Tuesday. They won't come by NAPA, so I won't get to see them, but I am sure it would be awesome to see them go past Bob's Easy Shop, etc. as they go through our big town!!! They are even going to have grandstands set up at the airport for people to watch them go by!!!

2:04 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Now that is cool.

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Bill said...

"Head em up-move em out!" {Rawhide}

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Lois said...

Wow---that sure would've been fun to see---450 head of cattle in one group---I can't even imagine what it must look like. Awsome would hardly describe it--right? wish I could've been there.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Wow, what an amazing adventure!

I'm surprised they were able to get all the permits etc they needed for right of way through all the private property and highway crossings they must have had to negotiate. That must have been one hell of an effort to cut through all that red tape these days.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Mom Thumb said...

di - That'll be great, I bet they will get a good turnout. At least stand in front of NAPA and watch them go by Bob's. It's worth it!

heather - It was way cool!

bill - Damn straight.

lois - We watched them head out this morning. I'll post pictures tonight or tomorrow. I wish you could've been here, too. It's way better than the cemetary.

jeff - Actually, the people of Oklahoma are pretty jazzed about the whole centennial thing, it probably wasn't as hard as you'd think. On the other hand, they have been planning this for 14 years . . .

2:03 PM  
Blogger Carla said...

I talked to one of my classmates at my reunion this past weekend and her and her family are "bringing the cows down" this weekend. I think that's is so cool.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Mom Thumb said...

carla - Yeah, it's a way of life most people aren't exposed to. Those cows are actually pretty likeable.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Di said...

Well, I went out front to watch the cattle drive go through. It had just quit raining hard when I stepped out. I waited about 15 minutes, and just as the lead wagons started vcrossing the intersection, it started pouring again! I got to see the wagons, and the first few cowboys on horseback, and a few cattle before I gave it up and moved back inside where it was dry. They took several busloads of kids out to watch it go through, too. I bet they got wet!!!! LOL

1:36 PM  
Blogger Mom Thumb said...

di - I was wondering if they were getting rained on. We've had storms move in and out all day. Bet those cattle smell great when they're all wet!

4:43 PM  

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