BURNS — Kendra and Keith Scott’s family is so pure-hearted that after a load of bad hay killed 163 cattle in about three days, their reaction was to be thankful no one else was affected.
You gotta help people like that.
On Saturday, you can.
Some friends are hosting a benefit potluck, auction and dance at 4 Eagle Ranch.
“You can’t believe how gracious and generous this community is,” Kendra said.
Kendra and Keith’s children, Kurtis and Kensie, are the fifth generation of their family to ranch their land in Burns. Kendra’s great grandfather homesteaded the Eight Bar Ranch in 1893.
The family has seen good times and bad, but nothing quite like this.
Kendra’s father, Dale Albertson, approaches it like the lifelong rancher he is.
“We’ll pull through this,” he said.
And with a little help, they will. And that brings us around to Saturday’s party.
“It’s going to be an absolute feast. We’re looking at it as a celebration,” Kendra said.
The discussion about doing a benefit went as you might expect.
Some friends said “We’ll have a benefit for you.”
The Scotts said, “No thanks. We’ll make it.”
Their friends said, “Yup, we’re going to do this for you.”
And that, as they say, was that.
“It’s a potluck, so it’s like an old fashioned community event,” said Debra Batten, one of the event organizers. “They’re a treasure in the community.”
They’ve gotten donations from just about everyone within howdying distance.
A couple local bands are donating their time and talent, outfitters are donating guided hunts, they’ll auction high country cattle drives, horseback treks … all kinds of things.
Batten starts to tick off the things the Scott family has done for the community through 4-H and other general wonderfulness. It’s a long list.
“Their family given so much for so long. This is a chance for us to give back to them,” Batten said. “Their family homesteaded and pioneered here. Families like that are the foundation and backbone of the community.”
Because they live here, acquiring more ground is cost prohibitive, so they need to be as effective and efficient as possible, Kendra said.
They buy hay to supplement the feed for their herd of 400 head of commercial cattle. They bought nine truckloads of hay from a Wyoming farmer, had it tested and it was low in nitrates and high in feed values.
They trucked the first load home in mid December and began to feed it to their cattle.
The next day, 40 cattle died. The day after that, 50 more. In a few days, the death toll was 163.
Friends, neighbors and other ranchers did everything they could to help. Nine different veterinarians examined the cattle. They’ve sent the hay, cattle parts and water to various labs. They’ve been on numerous conference calls with veterinary experts. A toxicology lab in Logan, Utah, has a hay sample.
So far, no one has any answers. They know the cows’ livers were destroyed and their brains were affected. They’d charge aggressively and try to break through fences.
You can come back from something like that, but it’s easier with help from your friends.
Chris Emmer helps run 4 Eagle Ranch. When 4 Eagle was asked to have the event at their place, the primary synapse instantly fired that immediately had them saying, “Yup.”
You can buy elk and bear hunts in places no one ever gets to go. Master craftsman Ivan Stoltzfus is donating custom made chaps and a custom made knife sheath. A Savage 17HMR bolt action rifle with a 3x9 scope is on the auction block.
There’s a Cookie of the Month Club and a Casserole of the Month Club. You get a supply of each every month for a year. They’ll make it and deliver it.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.