Clair hired out to Bob punchin’ cows. Clair soon realized it was more like working at a wild game park than a cattle farm. Two square miles of rollin’ western Minnesota pasture. Bob never knew how many cows he had. “It doesn’t matter if you count’em in the Fall,” he’d say, “It’s what comes back in the Spring that counts!”
It would be fair to say that the cattle were never handled much. They were ‘rangy’, as they call it up there. Bob and Clair cowboyed a bobtailed load of cull cows together for a trip to the auction yard in Sioux Falls.
The ol’ snub nose truck chugged the sixty or so miles with no problem. Being clever with machinery, Bob had rigged a long rope from the cab to the tailgate. It allowed him to back up to a loading chute and open or close the gate from the front.
Unfortunately, in downtown Sioux Falls, the cows became hyperactive and tangled the rope. They managed to raise the tailgate enough so that three cows parachuted out the back.
The boys could feel, rather than see the load lighten. They pulled over and were able to catch two of the stunned beasts. But the third had landed on her feet and escaped! “Don’t worry,” said Bob, “She’ll turn up.”
They left word about the missing cow at the sale barn and returned home.
Next day, back at the farm, the phone rang. “Are you Bob?...This is the Sioux Falls Police Department...We have your cow...we need the name of your insurance agent...Forty-eight thousand in damages...
“Well, we found her last night. She was wild as a peach orchard boar! We surrounded her with four patrol cars. Our plan was to euthanize her but nobody could get a clear shot as she careened around inside our makeshift car corral. She destroyed the sides of four cars. Broke windows, tail light, side mirrors and a spot lights. Dented, bashed, banged and fouled doors and fenders. Ripped off door handles, chrome and antennae till it looked like a smash on the highway! Then she jumps over the top demolishing the flashing light array, two yard fences and a permanent Nativity scene!
“Four blocks away we surrounded her again and finally dispatched her humanely. There will be some additional liability to repair the bullet holes in the side panels and at least three new tires. “We called the rendering truck.”
The next day Bob got another call from the Sioux Falls Police. “I already talked to you yesterday,” he explained, “You have my insurance agent.”
“We realize that but this is Internal Affairs.”
It turns out that four of the officers had taken the cow over the state line to be butchered. Internal Affairs was calling to see if Bob wanted to press charges!
Bob didn’t, but between Internal Affairs, his insurance agent and his conscience, they reached a compromise. It included, I’m told, one complementary parking ticket and a GET OUT OF JAIL FREE card from the Sioux Fall’s finest.