Wednesday December 19 2012
(Part I is here.)
Fluffy's head flew up from the pile of hay he was munching in his luxurious Owyhee Spa pasture accommodations fit for a king, and his eyes grew wider in suspicion as the big silver box limousine rattled up the dirt road.
When it came to a stop and spit out horses and cowboys, he knew the jig was up.
"I named him Fluffy," I told rancher Rawl and his 2 boys, as Rawl slipped the bridle onto his cow horse Rusty's head.
"Fluffy." Rawl grunted. "Let's see how 'fluffy' he is in a minute." Rawl and one of his boys swung up on their cow horses,
slipping the nooses on their ropes as they rode through the gate into Fluffy's pasture, sizing up the situation, eager cow dogs at their heels.
The formerly quiet, pensive Fluffy quickly morphed into the feral, wily state most range bulls will become when the cowboys and ropes come out.
He headed straight away for the brush and trees along the crick. It took the third cowboy (the rig driver) on foot to flush Fluffy out and down the fence, where the 2 horses and riders lit off after him.
A few twirls of the lariat,
and Rawl set the rope on him beautifully, right around his thick neck.
That somewhat enraged Fluffy.
Now, when you have a rope separating an 800 pound bull versus an 800 pound cow horse, the bull's going to have the advantage, because he's low to the ground and 800 pounds of muscle and steel and mad and mean. And a bull always goes wherever a bull wants to go, whether he's a naive 2-year-old or not, and in this case, it was right through the fence. Either Rawl didn't get a good dally, or didn't try, or the horse didn't get set well, because when that bull hit the end of the rope, neither the horse nor the rope nor the barbed wire fence made a dent in Fluffy's escape momentum.
Rawl's rope went with Fluffy, through the fence and down the road (Rawl kept all his fingers). The other young cowboy and his horse were already flying back through the pasture,
and out the gate, and down the road after Fluffy with a cow dog on his heels.
Rawl and Rusty followed hot on their heels,
and the driver cowboy slammed Fluffy's limousine gate and hopped in the truck, screeching and bumping down the road in pursuit.
Fluffy made his way into another neighbor's pasture down the crick, and the cowboys followed. After some evasive bull tactics of crashing blindly through brush, and burying his head in it trying to escape his new world, Cowboy #2 got another rope on him,
Rawl managed to get his original rope back
and threw another loop on Fluffy's front leg.
It took 2 strong cow horses heading and pulling, and 4 or 5 cow dogs heeling and biting bull tail
to convince Fluffy that he wanted to dance his way to the silver limousine now waiting for him in the pasture.
Once there, they let Fluffy stand and calm down a bit,
while Rawl's rope was carefully passed to the foot cowboy at the trailer, who took the rope inside the trailer, and passed it back out to Rawl and Rusty on the outside.
Same was done with Cowboy #2's rope, while a cow dog kept Fluffy's attention diverted.
And they started reeling him in.
Fluffy was, for all practical purposes, winched by the cowboys on horseback into the trailer,
with a little cattle prod encouragement from behind from the foot cowboy,
and the door was slammed on Fluffy's freedom.
And so the Party ended for Fluffy the bull. Maybe one winter when he's free out on the range again, and the snow starts to come down, he'll remember the morning he wandered down from the Owyhee mountains onto the Owhyee Spa, and the couple of idyllic days he spent here before he had to go and grow up.