Before last month, I had never chased down a long-horned steer.
And, when I finally had the chance, I didn’t do so in an attempt to check something off my bucket list.
But, if anyone asks if I ever tracked rampaging livestock through West York, I’d be able to answer, “Yes.”
Here’s what happened:
Getting stuck behind a slow-moving animal trailer as you’re leaving the York Expo Center is common, especially on the last day of the York Fair.
Moments after turning from Highland Avenue onto West Market Street, the trailer we were following shifted and its gate burst open sending a long-horned steer, which hours earlier had served as an attraction at the fair, into traffic.
After landing on his haunches, the massive animal was slow to rise.
Each shake of its head was amplified by the prongs protruding from its each side of its skull.
To the rear of the steer, a smaller cow gingerly exited the trailer into the street.
All this time, which was maybe 10 seconds, my wife and I watched the event unfold in disbelief.
And, we weren’t alone. By this point, traffic has come to a dead halt on West Market Street. Nobody blew their horns or yelled from their windows.
It was quiet. All eyes were on the the steer who had just recaptured his footing.
I fumbled for my cell phone. I know that, even though I wasn’t working that day, this was news and and needed to be captured on video.
Being a journalist doesn’t end when you leave the office or a scene. Technology such as smartphones and tablets have made it easier for me to do my job, regardless of the time of day or night.
And, thank God I married a women who understands that taking video of a long-horned steer trying to get its bearings in West York is a good excuse for this journalist to come home late.
Just as the bull got its feet, my wife turned to me and said,”you know, this car is red. He might charge.”
My first inclination was to laugh out loud. My wife wasn’t smiling. A police officer came to our window and told us to either stay where we were, or turn into a nearby lot.
I jumped out of the car just in time to record the driver of the truck trying his best to lure the longhorn back into the trailer by using a stick and an overturned blue bucket.
From the start, it was obvious that strategy wasn’t going to work.
My wife parked the car in the lot.
The bull didn’t waste time hanging out on West Market Street. The animal soon turned and headed into a neighborhood .
Myself and a growing crowd of amature videographers gave chase. I lost the steer a few times, listening for the sounds of dogs barking to guide me.
At one point, the bull had settled in under a tree.
The owner of the steer was trying to coax the animal from its spot. From my perspective, the bull looked calm.
One woman told me to keep back and turn off any flash. When she informed that she was simply a concerned citizen and not animal control, I resumed my video.
Moments later, the bull lunged and was once again on the run.
About 20 minutes later, the owner and the police secured the steer and packed him away inside of a trailer.
That day was easily one the most fun of my career, and I wasn’t even working.