The holding and loading pens were right near the office and the main house of the farm. On a very warm summer day, we were playing in the yard, my Dad was loading the cattle liners to head south of the border. My brother, best friend, and her younger brother were playing nearby. My mom was on fence getting the animals onto the truck. Memory tells me there were two full pens, so maybe 50-60 head being loaded. For some reason the pen gates hadn’t been properly secured. A pick up pulled up outside the office and it backfired. The noise sent the herd into a frenzy and those gates let loose. All of us kids were literally 100m from the cattle and they were stampeding directly towards us. I will never forget those moments. My dad leaped up on the top rail of the shoot. He shouted ‘don’t you kids move! Put your arms out big and stand still and tall!’
As we stood there, the animals split around us like river water hitting a stone. I can still feel the heat from them, the sound as they pounded by and the dust in my eyes and mouth. It was scary and exciting. My Dad's immediate and powerful response made us feel like we had nothing to fear. His reaction was instinctual. I can see him so clearly in his worn-out wranglers, brown leather belt, red striped shirt and grey cap; smoke hanging out his lip, cattle prod in hand.
Within a few minutes, the men had the animals rounded up. There was a calmness in the air, filled only with the low bellering of the cattle and the odd dog bark.
Us kids went on with the rest of our day as if nothing happened. Mom and Dad finished their work and went home for grateful toast to a near miss.
That day was a lesson for everyone about safety. And for me that was the day I got to see my Dad be a hero.
Kristina Sweet is the CEO and Founder of SKED. She is Canadian, living and working in Finland. For more information on SKED visit www.skedglobal.com or call Kristina +358443034203.
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