The hidden years in Canada 58, wild cow milking

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Sunday 14 June 08:30

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Wild cow milking competition

After some strolling around a bit and discussing the blessings of throwing a horseshoe iron, it was almost time for the wild cow milking. ‘What do you like about it,’ I asked Beverly? ‘It's so macho,’ she said, ‘have you never seen it?’ I had to admit that I had never felt called to go to a wild cow milking competition. ‘It's really fun,’ she continued, ‘you must of course be good to win, but in addition there is also a bit of luck that comes into play.’ ‘It makes sense,’ she said, ‘to go there early and find a place otherwise you’ll have to stand there all those hours.’ ‘It takes hours,’ Richard asked, surprised. ‘It's ready when it's ready,’ said Bev. We made sure we bought an oversized carton cup with coke and looked for a place to sit near the 'gate' where the wild cattle would be driven from. ‘We can last for a while now,’ laughed Bev, taking a sip in an agitated voice, ‘if you go to get something to drink later your place is gone.’

I could hardly imagine it because the stands were half empty, but as time passed all seats were occupied and the latecomers in the big boxes stood as you would later see in European soccer ball. ‘What do you like,’ Bev asked, her cheeks reddened by the excitement? ‘Oh,’ I said, 'I ‘d like to see the chuckwagon races, ‘it has something to it, wagons with a six team of horses there, racing against each other.’ ‘I like fairground fun,’ laughed Don, 'Shooting air rifles and such. ‘ We looked at him in astonishment and I realized that Don really came from another planet. ‘I find showdowns fun,’ amongst the cowboys, Richard said, ‘it is a bit like Gunsmoke with sheriff Dillon on TV and the free fight with Archie the stomper.’ ‘Our day is still long,’ Bev laughed relaxed while she looked into the program. ‘There are many free hours in between major events, it is because, like the wild cow milking you never know when it's finished.’

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‘How does that work with that wild cattle,’ Richard asked, ‘what is to be done and how do you win?’ ‘Every ranch inscribes three cowboys,’ Bev began, ‘the Anchor, the mugger and the milker. These are three very specific roles. The mugger is called the mugger because he has to grab the wild cow with a lasso,  the anchor must stop the beast by functioning as an anchor, he braces and if the 500 kilos of the cow is too much for his modest weight then he is dragged over the grounds. The mugger and the anchor attempt to anchor the cow. Meanwhile,  the milker tries milking her. That goes into a bottle that each team gets to the jury as fast as  possible.‘

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‘Why would you want to join the team, 'asked Rico? ‘Because the prize money is very high,’ said Bev ‘and for the honor.’ ‘Every team puts $ 250 into the kitty, 6 teams and that makes it.’ ‘That's uh .. $ 1500 per round,’ said Don. ‘You're a genius, a real mathematician, Don,’ laughed Richard. ‘There are three rounds,’ continued Bev .. 'Don help us out, ‘Richard chuckled,’ how much can you possibly win? ‘ Don looked at us as if we were retarded, ‘$ 4,500,’ he said, ‘surely everyone sees that?’ ‘That's right,’ Bev said, ‘that's a lot of money for being kicked by a cow black and blue.’ ‘Additionally, the winning group cowboys get their names on a plaque.’

Cowboy teams now entered the field and each group stood by a set of gates. ‘You can only milk the cow assigned to you,’ said Bev, while she chuckled. The anchor and the mugger from each team stood ready, waiting for the starting gun. The milkers came walking away from the jury table with a bottle in hand, the middle juror stood up and pulled a revolver and shot in the air. Suddenly much happened at the same time. Milkers drew a spurt and joined their team and the gates were thrown open.

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The mugger held his lasso ready. The cows were wild with excitement and came charging from the chute. The mugger got close to us now and threw his lasso around the neck and was almost pulled out of his boots, the Anchor jumped to his aid. The cow stumbled and fell. ‘No milking there,’ called Bev and she explained to us, 'the cow should be milked standing up'. Meanwhile, chaos broke out in the arena, the 6 cows hurled the 18 men from left to right. A team had an anchor man hanging behind a cow and the mugger held the animal by the horns and was tossed about like a toy doll.

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The milker stooped to milk and got a sideways kick that made him roll around, a loud cheer went up. There is no better entertainment than malicious pleasure,’ I thought. Another team had a milker who ran along with the cow and got a trickle here and there, pulling the udders. He took the bottle and ran to the jury, but on the way he was tackled by a cowboy from another team, he fell face down and the bottle was empty again. 'Milk tackle, ‘laughed Bev,’ a team can do that twice. ‘ The team that had milked their cow ran and sprinted to the jury with their bottle and meanwhile the man eluded would-be milk tacklers. The man put with a last effort the bottle  on the jury table.

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The head judge held the bottle out at arm’s length and turned it over. ‘What the heck is he doing,’ cried Richard? ‘It only counts if the milk is visible from the bottle to the ground,’ said Bev and looked at us as if we were stupid. A second runner was tackled, another milk tackle but the cowboy got to his feet and belted his opponent. The team members of the cowboy forgot their cow  and started beating up the tackled farmer. A group of men walked up through the gates, preceded by someone with a whip and they removed the combatants of the field.

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‘Disqualified, 'said Bev,’ they should never have hit him, he had no milk in his hands. ‘ Eventually a muddy cowboy reached the jury table and set a bottle down. The head juror took the bottle and held it stretched out in front of him and turned it over. The milk was one line from the bottle neck to the ground from where it splashed back. He pulled out a revolver and shot in the air and everything stopped.

‘That was pretty good,’ I said, ‘you were right Bev.’

San Daniel 2015

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