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The Herald August 18, 1989
Life's different all over
The 13th day of my ride to Utah had shaped up to be less than stellar. I had ridden 72 miles through Ozark hills and had not spoken with a soul in the process. I checked into a motel in Stockton, Mo., and walked across the parking lot to eat.
At the restaurant, I picked up a copy of the local weekly newspaper. The Cedar County Republican and Stockton Journal. A story on the front page caught my eye - WANDERING COW CAUSES COMMOTION ON TOWN SQUARE.
I asked the waitress if she had been a witness to this newsworthy episode. "Yes," she laughed, "That poor cow had everybody in town chasing her. It was so funny!" I knew right away I had to go downtown and see the scene of the crime.
The cow in question was a big Black Angus that escaped her owner, Charles Henley of Stockton. One of the first places she visited during her tour of the town was the hardware store.
Here's the report
Hopkins True Value Hardware has big double doors that are usually propped open, providing an open-air environment. The wandering heifer strolled in through the front door, made a hard right and squeezed into the cookware section., She then clomped toward the cash register, apparently intent upon making a purchase. This caused great alarm from Robyn Beindorf, who was working up front in the store. She yelled, "Clete! There's a cow in the store!" The store's owner, Clete Hopkins, was in the back of the building and gave this account: "I felt the walls vibrate and then heard a 'moo.' That's when Robyn yelled."
What happened next is the most remarkable part. When Robyn yelled and Clete came running, the startled cow left the store. She carefully backed down the cookware aisle and somehow negotiated the tight corner by the door in reverse. You'd have to visit the hardware store to appreciate what a delicate maneuver a big cow would have to perform just to enter the store, let alone leave in reverse.
In the end, she didn't touch one single object on the crammed-to-capacity shelves. It wasn't quite the proverbial bull in a china closet, but it was a great piece of work by a heifer in the cookware section.
Clete took it lightly. "We were lucky she didn't break anything, and lucky she didn't raise her tail."
After the Angus left the store, she was chased for 30 minutes by a number of men, including the police chief and the cow's owner. Everyone on the square provided a rousing cheering section as the antics continued. The cow was finally lassoed in the city park.
A lone cow provided all the excitement Stockton could handle. The people will quickly tell you there's not much to do in town, but they say it as though they are glad. It's a slow, relaxed atmosphere.
When I reached the populated areas of the Rockies, I found the approach to be much different. The city streets teemed with mountain bicycles, and the running rivers were a haven for brightly-colored kayaks. Every lake was dotted with windsurfers and I saw more than a few hang gliders being transported on cartops. I was amazed at all the activities and wished I had time to linger at some of the ski resorts.
A day in Utah
At my trip's end, I was waiting for my plane in Salt Lake City, trying to put it all into perspective. There was a story in the Salt Lake Tribune that described the area's offerings far better than I could.
Five men from towns around Salt Lake, all over 30 and holding professional jobs, decided to get together and see how much fun it is possible to have in one day. They formed a team and planned an all-out Saturday assault on the area's entertainment.
At sunrise they played a high-speed nine holes of golf. They teed off two at a time and ended up with scores from 41 to 54. After golf, they roared around on dirt bikes before hopping onto snowmobiles. They skied an area slope and made three trips down a waterslide in a human chain. Then they parachuted out of an airplane (all survived). Back on earth, they water-skied and zoomed around on a jet ski. They paddled awhile in kayaks before riding horses. They then went bowling, where one of the guys rolled a 204. They finished up by shooting pool.
They stopped at 1:30 a.m., having enjoyed 13 activities in one day. One of the guys said, "We could have done more, but we figured that was enough."
Mike Gorrell, a staff writer for the Salt Lake Tribune, noted, "On Sunday they rested."
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