On his second trip to my veterinary clinic in Lamesa, Texas, Hall of Fame cutting horse trainer Dave Stewart got a taste of how weird things can be over here. He grew up in the Carolinas and has trained cutting horses in Georgia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and all over east and central Texas. However, Dave has never lived anywhere quite like West Texas—until now.
He and his family recently moved to Midland, Texas (about 50 miles from Lamesa), and we have become good friends, but on this visit to my clinic I didn't know Dave very well at all. Honestly, after what happened that day, I wondered if he would ever come back.
Dave pulled into the parking lot with a trailer load of cutting horses and began walking toward the clinic just as the mayhem was beginning to unfold. A 350-pound, full-grown miniature bull had escaped from the trailer and was running around between the clinic and the cattle pens with a look of bad intention on his face. Ten or twelve people were gathered around trying to direct the critter back to the gate and get him back under control.
It didn't help that my clinic was located on Highway 87 right where the cars pick up speed after slowing down for town. We were all trying to keep the mighty mini from heading toward the highway at all cost. We had formed a line of people—like a bunch of kids playing Red Rover—when Dave entered the picture.
Setting the scene
I watched Dave assess the situation as he approached. I knew he had been in on many wild cattle escapes. He was prepared to respond to the bull like cutting horse riders do, only this time he was on foot. And then I noticed a look come over his face. It was a mix of surprise and confusion.
As he sized up the escaped bovine, I could see him trying to figure out just what the heck kind of animal it was. Then he began to size up the help. Now let me point out that the family members who owned the bull were on the shorter side. I've know these people for a long time, but if a guy like Dave walked into a situation and saw six people about five feet tall running around in a parking lot chasing a tiny Angus bull, it might be a bit startling. Anyway, Dave fell in to help like he worked at the place and began telling people what to do to correct the disaster that was unfolding.
Soon the bull made a cut and headed right for Dave, who was now standing next to me—we were by far the tallest people in the Red Rover line and the bull charged for us like it was a dare. Dave and I immediately went into action. I hollered for someone to open the gate to the alley. Dave grabbed the tiny bull's tail and spun him around toward the direction of the open gate.
We managed to avoid the kicks of the little turd by pushing his butt from side to side as we pushed and guided him to safety. Problem solved—the bull was back in confinement and the owners were all happy again.
After the dust settled, Dave and I walked back to the clinic. On the way, he looked at me and asked, "What the heck happened back there? What was that thing we just corralled? It looked like a full-grown bull only the size of a weanling! Is that normal for West Texas? You guys raise doggy cattle over here? I never seen anything like it."
Then he started laughing. And he didn't stop for a long time. In fact, he still laughs about it. And I laugh remembering the look on his face when he first walked up to the crazy scene. Good thing Dave has a great sense of humor. Now he tells the story of the tiny bull at every cutting.
Dr. Bo Brock owns the Brock Veterinary Clinic in Lamesa, Texas.