by Carl Larsen, Hid-N-Hills Border Collies and Kelpies

*The names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Years back, when my kids were in 4-H and FFA, we of course had to have show animals. Well, if my memory serves me correctly, one daughter had a couple of lambs, and the oldest had a show calf. As usual, dad was in charge of any doctoring needed to be done.

The show calf kind of came as surprise. Uncle Carl from my wife's side of the family, decided it was time for my oldest to have a show calf. So he donated one of the calves he was raising for free. This seemed like a good deal till I realized we really didn't have a pen suited for a calf.

We needed one with a shelter of some sort, and a fairly strong fence. All my pens were full of horses. So we did some rearrangement and put the calf in a horse pen at the back of the barnyard. Very unhandy, if you get my drift.

The calf arrived on a weekend, and seemed to be making the transition just fine. Although he did seem to be a little snorty. It was time to put the halter on him and get him halter broke.

Of course, this was Dad's job, since my wife and girls shouldn't be put in harms way.

The plan was simple. I would just step in the pen and rope the calf. I asked Peggy (my wife) to stand at the gate, so the calf would see her and not try to jump out. She agreed with my assurance that she would be safe, since the calf was surely more scared of her, than vice versa.

Do you see where this story is heading?

I really felt everything would work out fine. Surely I could catch this calf with one throw, before he had a chance to get excited. I am really very experienced with a rope, and was very capable of legging a four hundred pound calf-- no problem.


First, the pen was pretty mucky. Two inches of rain, with the constant pacing of the calf, made things pretty deep. Getting around in there was difficult for both of us (me and the calf). I guess I am really making excuses, cause it took me four loops to actually catch the calf. By then, he had probably had enough of this action. I believe he was looking for the only way out, which of course was the gate at which my wife was standing.

It was all over in a matter of seconds. It actually seemed like it was happening in slow motion. With me on the end of the rope, Peggy standing bug eyed at the gate, the calf covered 15 feet in one jump. As he slammed against the gate, knocking it open, it sounded as if a bomb went off.

I didn't get to see the actual collision, only the aftermath. I did see the size of the whites of Peggy's eyes just before it happened. Large as silver dollars, they were!

As I finally approached the opened gate, there was no Peg! Then looking around the corner of the shed, there she sat. At first I wasn't too sure if it was me she was mad at me or the calf. I soon found out to my dismay.

With a bloody lip, tears coming from the corners of her pretty blue eyes, and muttering some undescripted words, off she goes to the house.

I was at a loss for words. But I did ask; "Aren't you going to stay here and help me catch this calf?"


Copyright 2001 to Infinity, NAAKR, Inc.  All rights reserved.

Posted December 2, 2001