Cattle drive along state highway is a Central Wash. tradition
SELAH, Wash. - It's a surprising sight - nearly 200 cows being herded along a Washington state highway by horse riders in the middle of the day.
But all the locals know this cattle drive along State Route 821 is a tradition that's been done for decades
"People seem to enjoy just the novelty of seeing something like this," said Jack Eaton, co-owner of Eaton Cattle Drive along with his wife Bemeitta.
With the help of friends and family, they've done the cattle drive for the past 25 years.
"Every year we do this, bringing pregnant cows from there normal grazing area to have their babies over here," said Rhiannon Whitlock, who helped herd the cows.
Horse riders herded nearly 200 cows from Burbank Road to Eaton Cattle Ranch. Eaton says it's easier than loading and hauling them over. It's also a safer place for the cows to give birth.
"Probably the first part of April we go back out onto the range land and start all over again," said Eaton.
Eaton's family bought the ranch back in 1949. He says herding cattle isn't as easy as it used to be.
"It's almost impossible now. You can't drive the cows down the freeway, and the ranges are being bought up or going under housing and other uses," said Eaton.
Now there are only a few cattle ranches in the area that still herd for spring pasture. After the mothers give birth, Eaton usually keeps them with their calves until the fall, when they're eventually sold.
In total, the herd traveled nearly seven miles. No cows were injured during the journey.