Head 'em up, moooove 'em out in Pawnee County

Tuesday, August 9th 2005, 9:55 am
By: News On 6

More than a hundred years ago cattle were taken to market by cowboys on long cattle drives. Every year some Oklahoma cowboys and cowgirls celebrate those bygone days with a five day drive in Osage and Pawnee counties.

News on 6 reporter Rick Wells met up with them as they entered Pawnee County.

Calvin Buchanan is tail boss for another cattle drive into Pawnee ahead of the annual rodeo. There are about a hundred head of mostly longhorns, 150 riders, some working the cattle, the rest along for the experience. Tom Schick thinks this annual drive is important. "This is just the way they used to do it; it's helping preserve that, it's a dying deal."

Because many think this is historically important, people come from all over the country to be a part of it. For some, it's a weeklong summer vacation. Calvin Buchanan: "We've had guys from California, Massachusetts, Washington and Florida."

They even let a city slicker, like me, sit in the saddle for a few minutes and see the sights from atop a horse.

This year Benjamin Pouzadaux is here from southwestern France. "I wanted to make the cowboy job that I have saw in the movies." His cowboy job started Sunday morning.

The big event on day three to get the herd safely across the Arkansas River on the Belford Bridge in northeast Pawnee County. It is important to keep the animals calm and moving forward. If they get a little spooked, there's just no place for them to go on the narrow bridge. They move about 10 miles a day and with afternoon temperatures well into the 90's that's probably plenty for everybody.

The cattle drive started in Osage County on Sunday and will end in downtown Pawnee on Thursday morning. The Pawnee Bill Memorial Rodeo begins Thursday evening at 8 PM.