Monday, February 18, 2013

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Sounded like a plan

by Julie Carter

This isn’t your usual kind of cowboy story except for the part about roping something that wasn’t meant to be roped and a cooler of beer as part of that equation. 

Two cowboys, Mark and his buddy Jim, decided to drive from home to somewhere in Texas to watch Mark’s wife compete at a rodeo. On one of many long, lonesome stretches of highway common to that part of the world, they saw that someone had turned an emu loose to roam the roadway.

Likely due to the cooler of beer they had been taste testing, the cowboys decided it would be quite humorous to catch the emu, put it in the trailer they were pulling and then turn it loose at the rodeo when they arrived. Sounded like a plan.

They pulled over to the side of the road, and so as not to rush into anything, they drank a beer for inspiration. When inspiration arrived with it came their determination to rope the “overgrown chicken.” What they discovered was they couldn’t build a loop small enough to stay put on the emu’s skinny neck and then there was that part about how fast an emu can move. It’s a fact they can outrun a cowboy in the mesquite brush of Texas.

Back to the pickup for more inspiring beer.  The next plan of action was to corner the emu between two mesquite bushes. This was such a good idea they had another brewski to celebrate.

The good news was that they did indeed corner the emu. The bad news was that “cornered” does not mean “outnumbered” by two cowboys. Mark grabbed it around the neck and tried to snub it down. Jim was supposed to grab a foot which works somewhat well with cattle but apparently not with an emu. 

Jim was kicked in the belly by a clever bird foot and sent flying. Mark, never one to let something like that discourage him, held on for dear life as they traveled rapidly into and through the mesquite. At one point they even danced briefly on the pavement while Mark was bit, pecked in the face and generally mucked out. He finally had to turn loose but even that didn’t stop the attack. 

The bird continued to kick him and while he was holding his belly, lying in the dirt in the fetal position, the emu "pranced on his body." At that point, he admitted, he just wanted away from the bird. 
Again returning to the pickup for more liquid inspiration, Plan C was born. They would again attempt to corner the emu in the mesquite and put a piece of baling wire around its neck in hopes they could "lead it into the trailer."  

So back into the brush they went, wire in hand, where somehow they managed to get it on the emu's neck. This sent the emu in a repeat performance of dancing through the mesquite and across the highway -- kicking, biting and pecking. 

In the melee, Mark's hand got wrapped up in the wire trapping him to the bird.  But as luck would have it, the emu again got off a really good kick to Mark’s middle section nearly tearing off his hand. Luckily, the strain on the wire released him.

 The emu, now fighting mad, went on the peck (pun intended) and chased both cowboys back to the relative safety of the pickup. Passers-by on the highway stopped to watch, but no one offered any roadside assistance.  

Sorely defeated and physically beat, the cowboy duo had another beer. By this point, they were mad enough that shooting the bird was the only future plan they could conjure up.

For reasons not quite clear in the telling of this story, they were unable to hit the bird. Mark, an excellent marksman, gave his only defense as “the emu's head is about the size of your fist.” 

They arrived at the rodeo with bloodied faces and arms, torn clothes and the obvious effects of intoxication. 

When Mark’s wife saw them, instead of rushing over to ask what happened, she shook her head in disgust and rode off pretending not to know them.

 Marks final summation was, “You know? It did sound like a plan."

Julie can be reached for comment at

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