Equine Rescue

Oklahoma cowboys ride in to save hundreds of animals from unprecedented flooding

By Hollie McKay | Fox News

TULSA, Okla. – For the past two weeks, farmers in Oklahoma have been gripped by unprecedented floods, forced to watch the decimation of decades of history, their ranches, their livestock, their livelihoods. But a group of four longtime friends and cowboys have set aside their own day jobs and joined forces to voluntarily save as many animals and signs of life as possible.

From right to left: Casey Thomas, Hunter Webster, Shane Olson, Cory Conley (Fox News/Hollie McKay)

“When we realized how bad this flooding was getting, and knowing many people didn’t have the means to get the help they needed to get animals out, we made a Facebook post and offered to help free of charge,” Cory Conley, 31, from Catoosa, told Fox News. “This is the heartbeat of America. We weren’t going to sit back and do nothing.”

“When we realized how bad this flooding was getting, and knowing many people didn’t have the means to get the help they needed to get animals out, we made a Facebook post and offered to help free of charge,” Cory Conley, 31, from Catoosa, told Fox News. “This is the heartbeat of America. We weren’t going to sit back and do nothing.”

In one incident, Hunter Webster, 24, from Claremore noted how he moved a herd up from submerged waters. But as disaster reigned and the water level rose, the second area also flooded and he again had to move the same livestock.

Some rescue endeavors have entailed pulling out horses that were belly deep in water and stranded for days. Others have consisted of dragging out hundreds of cows and sheep, and even a cat helpless on a pole as rising waters surrounded it.

“The cat’s owner was a lady who had died a few weeks earlier and now her daughter was taking care of it,” explained Casey Thomas, 29, from Coweta. “So, it was of extra importance the cat be saved.”

According to Thomas, they have saved more than 350 cattle, seven horses, four donkeys and of course – that one special feline.

Oklahoma cowboys have rescued hundreds of livestock in the Tulsa region over the past two weeks

The cowboys have had to shoot a pistol through fences that pliers couldn’t cut, used red solo cups to mark a makeshift trail through the woods as only the treetops were visible in the deepening floods, and roped cattle to boats.

“I had never roped a cow off the front of a boat until this week,” quipped Webster.

While the group estimates that they have managed to save scores of animals, it evidently cuts at the core knowing what couldn’t be saved.

“Thousands of cattle lost. For some, it’s millions of dollars and it is all they have,” Shane Olson, 33, a native of Verdigris, lamented.

Given the value of one cow alone hovers around $1,000, each animal lost and saved bears a significant impact on the lives of every rancher. And in the counties caught up in the chaos, issues are slated to abound for some time when it comes to “mixed cattle” and deciphering what livestock belongs to which owner.

Now, with even more rain predicted in the coming week and months of unknowns ahead, the impacted Oklahoma communities are bracing for increased hard times. Endless acres of corn and crops have been destroyed, meaning a hike in the cost of everything from hay to feed to food will likely ascend in coming months. It remains to be seen when the farmers will be able to plant again. Moreover, the swaths of folk who make ends meet fishing have also suddenly found themselves unable to make money as the swollen lakes are still firmly closed.

But the cowboys insist they are in it for the long haul – aiding friends and strangers and taking no money – with their goal to inspire others to give back to their communities in desperate times of need. Subsequently, over the past week, they have also become something of regional celebrities – fixtures on local news and across social media, their rescue footage watched and shared thousands of times within minutes.

“We will continue until this is all over,” Conley added. “It’s a fine line whether these animals live or die, and we all would feel too guilty if we didn’t at least try.”

5 replies »

  1. “Yes, there are plenty of heroes and heroines everywhere you look. They are not famous people. They are generally obscure and modest people doing useful work, keeping their families together and taking an active part in the health of their communities, opposing what is evil (in one way or another) and defending what is good. Heroes do not want power over others.” Edward Abbey

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  2. Thank you all for saving so many animals. So proud of you heroes out there working every day and night to help others. You really are true heroes and give from your heart. That is what America is. We must do the same to save our wild horses and burros. Also help so many animals survive.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. REAL Cowboys
    We’ve all seen too many of the other kind being paid to capture Wild Horses & Burros

    From MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
    Robert Staffanson (1921-2019) Reflects On What It Means To Be A Real Cowboy

    by Robert Staffanson

    Real cowboys also chose to work for good ranchers who didn’t abuse the land, for nature is unforgiving to those who believe they are not beholden to the constraints of soil, grass and water.

    Men who earned reverence in the communities I knew, like Sidney along the lower Yellowstone River and later in the Deer Lodge Valley where we ranched, were not ever the loudest in the room. They did not strut with spur-jingling swagger, nor did they bully or intimate others.

    https://mountainjournal.org/in-time-of-trump-what-it-means-to-be-a-real-cowboy

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    • I remember reading that article in the Mountain Journal – just re-read it. Boy, he said it all! Someone else I wish I had been fortunate enough to meet & visit with.

      Like

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