A few weeks ago, Matt coerced me into shooting some video footage of 100 of his heifers for the annual RA Brown Ranch sale. Let’s review the issues inherent in this scenario:
1) Michelle is scared of cows.
2) Michelle was supposed to film the cows walking past her.
3) The cows were freely grazing in a circle of sudan.
4) The cows were pregnant, hormonal, and weighed over 900 pounds each.
5) Michelle is pregnant, hormonal, and weighs approximately 800 pounds less.
Side note: I have healthy reasons for being afraid of cows and horses, and have been chased and [almost] bitten more than once by these beastly animals, for no reason whatsoever. They are huge and they hate me.
So, we all loaded up in Matt’s truck and drove out to the field full of heifers, aka Field of Death. Matt gave instructions.
“Trevor and I will put out feed from the back of the truck while you walk about 50 yards out. They’ll start walking in a line behind the truck and you can get some good footage from there. They won’t even be near you.”
I saluted. Okay. Me, a flipcam, and 100 cows, alone in a field of grass. No problem. I walked out to the designated spot, making sure to appear confident and not emanate any fear vibes. Animals can smell fear.
After I was 40ish yards out, Matt put the truck in drive and scooted along. A couple of cows followed him. 98 or so cows turned to me. We stared at each other. Cows have very large eyeballs. I pushed the “record” button and prayed for protection. A few of the more curious cows stepped toward me. I took a few steps backward. Suddenly, the truck was 100 yards away and ALLTHECOWS were headed at me.
I felt very very very small. The herd picked up speed, with intent to kill, and I silently shrieked and flailed my arms. I’ve seen Matt and Layne raise their arms up and down to get cows to move. I flapped my bony little arms a few more times. More cows. Higher speed.
A scream escaped my throat. I darted through the oncoming stampede and headed to the truck, which Matt was now steering to me, because even he noted the perilousness of the situation. Headline: Sedan Stampede Leaves Pregnant Woman Paralyzed; Husband to Blame.
After girlishly scampering across the field, tricking the cows into thinking I wasn’t running, obviously, I hopped in the truck, just ahead of the herd, and hyperventilated as quietly as possible. I checked the flipcam to review the footage, knowing it would be a bit wobbly. Annnnnd there were only seven seconds of video. Someone had neglected to set the camera to record to the memory card. Omg.
Matt, being the compassionate soul that he is, said we would try another technique. This entailed me staying extremely close to the truck while Trevor threw cow food from the flatbed. After my hands stopped shaking, we ended up with a couple minutes of acceptable video for the internet auction, and we remain married to this day. Success.
All to say, this week we went to Throckmorton, Matt’s hometown, for the annual RAB Bull Sale, in which Matt sold some heifers and bought some bulls. This sale is a big deal in the ranching world, and it’s part of the result of 119 years of work in Matt’s family of ranchers. Literally.
If you’ve never been to a bull sale on a ranch before, let me tell you what goes down at the RAB every year. 600 of the most well-bred bulls in the universe are brought to headquarters, where they intimidatingly stare at you from the comfort of their pens. Tons of ranchers from all over the continent bid on these animals in an auction that lasts forever, and then they have themselves nice big bulls to take home and breed to their cows, who in turn have small calves that grow fast and bring lotsa dollas. We are now the proud owners of a few RAB bulls and Matt is pumped about it. Me, too, of course. Me, too.
The best part of the RAB sale is visiting Matt’s family and the sandpile for kids to play in behind the barn. The worst part of the bull sale is the outrageous 100-degree October temperatures we endured this year. What is your problem, Texas? Cool off already.
It takes so much work and so many people to put on a sale that you wouldn’t believe it, and we appreciated the opportunity to sell our heifers this year. Thanks, Donnell and Kelli. Also thanks, God, for air conditioning, 70-degree October days in New Mexico, and that I’m not a cowboy.