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Wild Bull Story

The ranIMAG0024ge out at the robbers roost is quite unique. It’s basically high desert, with big flats that disappear into big slick rock canyons. When A.C. Ekker ran cattle out there, they ran year round.

The cattle in the big flats, were what A.C. considered the gentle cattle. You could coral most of these cattle. However out on the outskirts, where you get into the canyons the cattle were real wild. There were places out there where small bunches of wild cattle lived, and never mixed with the other cattle. Some of these cattle lived their whole life there.

One of these places is called The Spur. This is a large strip of land that runs between Horseshoe Canyon, and Millard Canyon. Both of these canyons drain into the Colorado River. The Spur is 27 miles long. In places you can almost see off both sides, but in other places it’s several miles wide. There are a few little springs located on the spur where a few head of cattle can get enough water to live.

The first fall that I worked for A.C. we went down on the end of the spur to try to gather some of the cattle down there. Some of the cattle in this area had never seen man before. A.C. had told me that he only went down there once every couple of years because it was so far, and the road was rough. This was about as far out of town as you can get.

A.C. had been watching a few maverick bulls down there from his plane, and decided we were going to go get them. There had been a little storm in the area which makes the sand easier to drive on. Less chance of getting stuck.

A.C., Ben Pace, and I loaded up some horses and headed down there early one morning. The main road went along the top of a ridge, then there was a smaller road that headed down on to another level. That’s where the spring was, and where the cattle were. A.C. gave us instructions that the two biggest bulls were top priority.  If we could catch some of the calves that would great also. We got the two bulls, and one calf caught before they got too far from the road where we wouldn’t be able to get to them.

One bull was tied to a cedar tree, the other bull and the calf we tied down by tying a front leg to a hind leg.The first thing we did was get the bull and the calf that were tied down loaded in the trailer. Then we got the truck and trailer closer to the bull that was tied to the tree. Just as we rode up to untie the bull from the tree and load him, he ran and hit the end of the rope. The tree wasn’t strong enough, and he pulled the tree out of the ground, and took off out across the flat dragging the tree.

We were trying to rope him again, but couldn’t get our horses up to him since he was dragging a tree which was spooking the horses. Finally A.C. rode around in front of the bull and got a rope on it. I roped his back feet, we got him down and Ben got the other rope and the tree off of him. Then we headed to the trailer with him.

We had the other bull and the calf in the front of the trailer with the center gate shut, and the end gate open so we could load the other bull. Just as we got to the trailer, the bull that was in the trailer jumped the center gate in the trailer, and got out.By then the bull that was in the trailer was mad enough, he didn’t care about getting away. He just wanted to get somebody. He ran right around the trailer and caved in the drivers side door of A.C.’s new truck.

A.C. was leading the bull that was tied to the tree. Him and Ben were working on getting him in the trailer, so I caught the bull that had jumped out and just held him until they got the other one loaded. I was pretty busy just staying out of the bull’s way. After they got their bull loaded, and in the front with the center gate shut, they came and helped me with the one I had. I had my hands full.

We finally got them all loaded. Ben and I had to ride our horses, and lead A.C.’s a couple of miles to the other truck and trailer. We got our horses loaded and headed for the house. We were staying at the roost house, at Crow Seep. It was well after dark when we got there. Cattle like these were always a challenge for A.C.  Sometimes I think that was what he lived for.IMAG0033


  1. Suzie Day says:

    What a great story Don! The summer I turned 12, I spent a couple of weeks with my grandfather, Arthur, and AC riding and gathering cows at the Roost. Arthur and I went down into the Maze and gathered up a little bunch of wild things to bring out on top. Your stories of trying to get those wild ones loaded into the trailers brought a smile to my lips. It’s been a long time since I’ve ridden the Gordons and the Spur country. I have lots of family memories of working in the branding corral on the Spur with Arthur, AC, my mom, Gaye, and my cousins. Your story brought back many memories and near “wrecks” as well as plain disasters. Thanks for sharing!–Suzie

    • Thanks Suzie for your interest and your comments. Working for A.C. was the most exciting time of my life. Many good memories.