APRIL FOOL’S: Bar stool elk is lost, Vail-area owner says
Vail Trailer Park Gazette
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado ” Vail, Colorado-area landowner Buddy Flinders’ heart leapt when he saw a photo of an elk with a barstool around her neck.
“That’s Bluebell!” Flinders shouted to his wife, Emmylou, when he saw the photo. “But how’d she get way the hell over to Brush Creek?”
Flinders is one of Eagle County’s most reclusive wealthy residents. He owns a large ranch near Copper Spur in the northeastern part of the county. In addition to wildebeasts and the largest flock of emus in North America, Flinders also has nearly a dozen trained elk, and all of them wear barstools to follow Flinders and his pals around his private, Alfred E. Neumann-designed golf course at the ranch.
“They took right to it after a while,” Flinders said.
It’s really no different than putting a saddle on a horse.
“They’ll follow us around the course, and whenever we want to stop and have a few beverages out on the course, we’ll just pull up an elk-stool ” that’s what I call ’em, elk-stools ” to the big cooler I’ve put on one of the wildebeasts. It’s the most amazing interaction with nature a fella could have.”
When Bluebell vanished several weeks ago, Flinders mourned. Bluebell’s the first stool-elk he trained, and would come to either his whistle or the sound of a beer can phooshing open.
“I was sure as anything a mountain lion had got her,” he said.
Then he saw the picture in the paper.
At first, Flinders was reluctant to come forward. He values his privacy, and was afraid people might think an elk with a bar stool around its neck had been abused.
He was right, as it turned out.
“This may be the most inhumane thing I’ve seen,” said local animal-rights activist Furiss Merder said. “Why not just hook up a pair of jumper cables to her privates and try to jump-start your truck?”
In fact, Merder tried to have Flinders prosecuted, but, as it turns out, there’s no law against putting a barstool around your own elk’s neck.
“I’m glad the law backed off,” Flinders said. “Mostly, I just want my Bluebell back. It’s kind of like leaving a saddle on a horse ” it’ll rub ’em raw if you leave it on too long.”