Slowing down around cattle drive could save a cowboy
February 7, 2012
OK, straight to the point. Tony, the cowboy next door, needs your help. So decide right now if you are willing to take on one more thing, or is your plate full enough already before you read further.
Tony is seriously trying to save his own life, and those of other’s that work in agriculture. It has been coming on for a while, but things have gotten so bad these past weeks that Tony is real upset and needs help. He is a real independent, capable guy, but this is something he can not do alone.
If you see cattle crossing or traveling along side the road, do not assume the cattle, especially calves, know, understand, or would even obey the rules of the road if they knew them. They will, and have run into the middle of traffic. What you need to do is simple. If you see animals or farm implement, tractors, backhoes, swathers, rakes, harrow beds, or anything you don’t recognize as you drive down the road, slow down for equipment or stop for animals.
Nevada is an open range state, meaning cattle in open range have the right of way with motorist. Douglas County, while not so much open range, has a Right to Farm policy that aims to conserve, protect, enhance and encourage local agricultural operations. But for some reason people in cars are trying to kill or get killed by animals or farm equipment operators.
Tony says that recently while driving the tractor from one field to the next with drags hanging from the lifted tow bar a car passed him on the right and nearly drove itself into the ditch. Other cars passing on the left drive into oncoming traffic forcing drivers in the oncoming lane to pull out of their lane.
Please, if you drive, give the equipment driver a few extra minutes as needed. Know they are not oblivious to you. If you have family members, relatives who drive and for some reason don’t read Fencelines tell them about Tony’s concern.
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If you have friends out of the area come to visit please tell them about the agriculture operations in the Valley and to give animals and Ag equipment space and time. If for some reason you don’t have any friends or family please tell complete strangers about the importance of promoting caution around cattle and farm equipment.
And whatever you do, do not drive fast up to and pass cattle on or along side the road. There are usually cowboys on foot or horse-back working those animals, trying to move them out of harms way as bad as you want them out of your way. But you have to go real slow or better yet stop.
Tony, a man who ropes cows, shushes bulls and wrestled steers, says that he is afraid now to stop in the road when moving cattle because people do not slow down, show caution, or any care for a cowboy’s life or cattle’s safety.
An exact quote from one man in a sports car who was impeded on his way down the road by a herd of cattle moving across the highway, from gate to gate, of say about 100 feet was, “If you want to play with cows on the road you should move to Montana.”
No we shouldn’t have to, and the cows don’t want to. So please, slow down, stop, and save a cowboy’s life. As Tony would say, “‘ppreciate that.”
Marie Johnson is a Carson Valley rancher.