For law enforcement officials, tracking runaway offenders is just another day at the office. But for two separate lawmen thousands of miles apart, the job required a new set of skills: horse wrangling.
In Colorado, four horses escaped the Eagle County Fairgrounds after one of the critters kicked down the makeshift corral. The rodeo horses took off into the night. What made the situation worse was that the horses galloped onto the I-70 freeway. “That’s a worst-case scenario for us,” Colorado State Patrol Trooper Jacob Best told a local news outlet, “having livestock on the interstate.”
As luck would have it, a few professional horsewomen who were driving away from the rodeo grounds not only saw the horses loose and called 9-1-1, but one of them was conveniently hauling her empty horse trailer.
One of the women, DeDe Dickinson, described the scene: “They’re standing in the roundabout… There’s no halters. There’s no bridles. There’s no people riding them.” She said another vehicle inadvertently caused the horses to head onto the freeway. Dickinson’s friend Reini Winter, who was a few vehicles behind. had the trailer and the 9-1-1 dispatcher asked Winter, who volunteered her trailer, to help out.
Another spot of luck was that up ahead the highway was closed due to a mudslide, keeping traffic minimal in the area. “I think our saving grace was that we didn’t have a lot of traffic because of that canyon closure,” Best said. “No commercial motor vehicles.”
Then in what can best be described as a western movie scene, a cowboy who was competing at the rodeo and saw the escaped horses appeared on the highway at full gallop, intent to rope the horses one by one.
“As I’m going down the right shoulder, there’s a cowboy on a horse going down the interstate trying to rope them,” Best added. “So that was one of the biggest shocks to come across.”
The cowboy in question was Dwight Sells of Arizona, a member of the winning team roping event at the rodeo. By the time he reached the horses they had already been roped by other rescuers including Dickinson and Winter. Sells and his horse, who was exhausted by the end, were given a lift back to the grounds.
Fortunately, all the horses were rounded up and reported in good condition.
Meanwhile, in California, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s deputies had to capture a miniature pony who went on the lam. Details of the how and why of this sweet pony’s daring adventure are scant, but the photo says it all: the fugitive pony was apprehended and escorted home by a deputy who apparently has some decent roping skills, too.