Tuesday, August 3, 2021

A Bovine Mix-Up


I love diving into research for the sweet romances I write. Recently, while I was combing through old newspapers from 1917, I happened upon an article that made me laugh as I pictured the story unfolding. 

Since 1910, the town of Pendleton, Oregon, has hosted the Pendleton Round-Up every autumn (except during World War II). Even back in the early days of the event, the rodeo committee contracted out the stock, meaning they hired people to bring in the horses and cattle used in the events. 

According to the article, the rodeo committee had contracted with a man named Jenks to purchase a train car load of  "long-horned, spider legged steers" from "the border."  

The animals were reputed to be the "real article" and better stock than previously used at the Round-Up. 

A few days later, another article ran on the front age of the paper. This one titled "Round-Up Given Wrong Steer - Milk Cows for Bulldoggers." 

See why that got my attention? 

I did a double-take and went back to read the article. 

It seems Jenks and a train car load of bovines arrived in Pendleton. Proud of his success in getting them there, Jenks had gone to the Hotel Pendleton where he was settling in when he received a telephone call. He picked up the phone to find the livestock director on the phone. 

"Say, were you crazy, or drunk, or asleep when you bought those steers?" Sam, the livestock director asked.

Jenks took slight offense at the opening line of the conversation, demanding to know what prompted the question.

"How in the name of Lucifer and Long Tom do you think we are going to hold steer roping and bull dogging contests with a bunch of milk cows, and muley cows at that?" Sam asked. (I think a conversation with Sam would have been incredibly fascinating!)

Reportedly, Jenks exploded with fury, swearing in three languages, and accusing Sam of not knowing the difference between a Mexican steer and a horned toad, if he couldn't see the train car load of bovines were the wildest, most rangy beasts to ever arrive in town.

At this point, I pictured the telephone operator who was likely listening to the heated conversation, perhaps even appalled by the salty language being used, but not disturbed enough to keep from sharing the story with a reporter. 

Anyway, Jenks and Sam went to the depot where there was, indeed, a train car full of docile half Jersey, half dehorned shorthorn cattle instead of the roughest, toughest steers Jenks could find. 

After some investigation, it was discovered the car load of steers ended up a few hours south of Pendleton where a dairy farmer had purchased the cows. Oh, I would have paid money to see the look on his face when they opened that train car door and out came the wild steers! 

Sometimes real life is far more entertaining than anything I could make up. I just love stories like this. And I love incorporating factual historical details into my sweet historical romances. 

You can read more about this little tidbit and others in my upcoming release Sadie

Inspired by the true stories of women who served in France during World War I, Sadie is a sweet romance filled with courage, hope, and lasting love.

She yearns for far-flung adventures. He longs for the home he’s found in her heart. 

Will a world at war tear them apart, or draw them closer together?

For most of her life, Doctor Sadie Thorsen has imagined seeing the world on grand adventures. When America joins the war raging across the world in 1917, it seems her dreams are about to come true. She travels overseas as a contracted physician, eager to do her part, and hoping to encounter the man she loves. Endless streams of wounded push her to the limits of endurance, then she receives word Harley John Hobbs, the man who owns her heart, is missing in action. Unable to bear the thought of life without him in it, she refuses to let go of her hope that he’s alive.

 The day Sadie Thorsen shoved Harley John Hobbs down on the playground was the day she marched off with his heart. He spent years doing everything in his power to become successful, determined to have more than himself to offer Sadie if she ever returns to their eastern Oregon town. Conscripted to join American Expeditionary Forces, Harley John answers the call and heads to France. Wounded and alone, he clings to the promise of seeing Sadie one last time.

Can deep, abiding love withstand the tragedies and trials of a world at war?

Pre-order Sadie today!


Julie Lence said...

Now that's funny! Like you, I can just imagine the looks on Sam and Jenks' faces during that conversation. Thank you for a morning chuckle!

Shanna Hatfield said...

You are so welcome, Julie! And thanks for stopping by to comment. I so appreciate you!

Jennifer Hibdon said...

What a comedy of errors!!! Thanx for the laugh!

Patricia B. said...

I can just imagine the shock the farmer got from the delivery. I wonder how long it took to correct the mix-up.

SEJOC68 said...

Oh my. I've received a lot of 18-wheeler loads of cattle in my days and had my dad have a few choice words for his buyer or the seller over the quality of said cattle or with the trucker or trucking company on a delay or the condition of the cattle when they arrived but never a mix-up like this before! I can just imagine the words yelled when the cattle came off at Pendleton! Oh can I! I can't wait to read this book & I need to read your prior Pendelton books! My reading has been very little since May. Ugh