I am involved with a boys college in Brisbane that offer a Cattle Club for extra carricula activities for country and city borders and day boys. The club has an arrangement with ‘Chudley’ a red Brahman cattle stud just north of Gympie, Queensland. I am a member of the club as an adult volunteer and mentor and yes; I do have a blue card. Coming from the land myself I have some understanding of cattle and can generally make myself useful.
This “Showing” cattle is no small deal. We are talking about boys as young as thirteen and cattle as big as 800 kilos. To be able to groom, lead, control and show cattle takes a lot of knowledge and a lot more courage.
This weekend we concentrated on introducing the novice boys and young cattle to each other. With both parties nervous and in unfamiliar circumstances there was ample opportunity for things to go wrong…and they did.
I was standing in the cattle pens trying to soothe a young bull and at about the time when I thought we had developed a meaningful relationship two young calves with small boys in tow skidded past, just behind the flanks of my new friend.
Cattle are lowing, boys are yelling and instructors coaxing. “One Eye’ the cattle dog is trying to direct 20 head in four pens and a yard all at once with the head stockman yelling ‘get in behind, you bitch” and I’m left with no where to go as I’m penned in with a lot of young and not-so young Brahmans.
I turn back from the mele to see the young bull, the same guy I had a meaningful relationship with only minutes ealier, rising up on his hind quarters with evil in his eye.
For a quadraped weighing about 4-500 kilos he showed amazing speed, dexterity and determination and accurately head butted me on the left side of my face. I was stunned and showered with about a litre of saliva and whatever in my hair, on my face and shirt. My reading glasses went flying and landed under the hooves of three other young excited Brahmans giving rise to my first note of alarm. The glasses were only a month old as my previous pair had been eaten by my young black Labradour pup and stirred on by visions of having to spend another $400.00 plus I leapt to save them.
Glasses saved, my superannuant budget secure and my hat back on my head in a matter of seconds I look to my physical needs in response to everyone panicking about how hard I might have been hit. Everone but me had seen that whereas the bull headbutted me, what he was trying to do was rake down my chest, and ……mmmm, lower, with his front hooves.
A sore neck and slight headache was a small price to pay for not controlling my space so the day went on. That night we had a country band in residence and we sang along with Slim Dusty, Johnny Cash and others untill almost midnight. The wife of the guitarist/singer had her own home brewed bourbon and this, along with some 4X helped to relax my stiff body.
Of course the bourbon and beer produced a hangover that pretty well replicates any symptons of concussion so it wasn’t until today that I can say the only thing hurt was my dignity.
The boys have a “bush Poets” society at school and during the evening one young lad recited “Turbulance” If you haven’t heard it or read it, go read it now. Light hearted and very ‘Outback’ ish it’s a story of a Rodeo rough rider handling the turbulence in a aircraft.
The young bull is now living in a fools paradise as he thinks he and I have battled and he won but the last thing I saw before he hit me was his yellow NLIS tag number (2156). I now have a trace in place on this number and the day he is converted to beef, I’m going to the town where it happened and shout myself a bloody big Brahman steak.