Cattle drive across Tower Bridge promotes Farm to Fork Week

Published: Monday, Sep. 23, 2013 - 12:23 pm
Last Modified: Tuesday, Sep. 24, 2013 - 12:40 pm

No, you weren’t imagining things – there was a cattle drive across the Tower Bridge and down Capitol Mall on Monday morning.

“I’ve always wanted to do this,” said Cotton Rosser, 85, of Marysville. “I love it.”

Rosser is the owner of the Flying U Rodeo Co., which provided the 50-plus Texas Longhorn and Corriente steers and 10 cowboys for the drive, the first ever across the Tower Bridge.

In the ’60s, he led cattle drives to Cal Expo, then located off Stockton Boulevard.

The cattle drive was held to promote Farm to Fork Week, which runs through Sunday. It features farms, restaurants, wineries, and craft breweries coming together to promote the Sacramento region as the nation’s Farm to Fork capital. A dinner on Tower Bridge will be held Sunday to cap off the week.

“The Tower Bridge is the region’s most recognizable icon,” said Mike Testa, senior vice president of the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau. “This is Farm to Fork Week in Sacramento, and people automatically think vegetables and produce, but it (the cattle drive) recognizes the protein – we have a lot of cattle raising in Sacramento.”

Testa noted that the owners of the Lucca and Roxy restaurant and bars also own the Lucky Dog Ranch in Dixon. “They not only supply the beef for their own restaurants, but (also) Taylor’s Market in Land Park,” he said.

Mary Carbrey, 54, of Rancho Murieta and her dog, Sophie, made a point to be on the Tower Bridge for the cattle drive. She was among two dozen or so spectators waiting on the bridge.

“It’s the first time it’s been done,” said Carbrey, who teaches fifth grade in Elk Grove. “It’s something different and something exciting, and I want to tell my kids all about it.”

She said she was aware of the city’s efforts to promote Farm to Fork Week. “This is a great way to market Sacramento,” she said. “We’ve always been considered a cow town, and now we’re proud of it.”

Sally Ware, 61, of Sacramento and her husband, Donald Ware, 65 staked out a spot about 100 yards past the Tower Bridge, setting up canvas chairs on the sidewalk. They brought their 1-year-old great-granddaughter, Leah Quant, for the event.

“We wanted her to see the cows,” said Sally Ware. “To have them cross the Tower Bridge – that is something to see.”

Colleen MacDonald, 30, of Elk Grove and her family were eagerly waiting for the drive to begin on the Tower Bridge.

“Here they come,” she said, drawing the attention of her 8-month old daughter, Lily, in her arms. “Look at the cows.”

But it wasn’t only the sight of the steers that drew the MacDonalds. “We came to see the cowboys and the horses,” she said. “I never thought the city would do something like this.”

Ed Arnheiter, 52, of Davis and his wife were standing across the street from the Drexel University building, where Ed works. He received an email from Drexel University telling staff members about the event. “It’s not every day you get to see your food moving on foot,” he said.

The steers on the cattle drive are not sold for beef, according to Rosser. Instead, they are considered “show cattle” and used in cattle drives because they are accustomed to being herded in public places.

Janet Arnheiter, 50, said she was impressed on how orderly the drive was. “They did a good job by having the horses keep the cattle away from the people,” she said.

Steve Fehrenbacher, 49, of Sacramento had walked over from his apartment just a block from Capitol Mall to see the steers. He used to ride horses and participate in cattle drives in Puyallup, Wash. “I’m used to seeing over 100 head,” he said, while his service dog, Blue, a 10-year-old blue heeler/pitbull mix, sat patiently on the sidewalk not far from the Capitol.

Jessica Lavin, 34, of Sacramento decided to follow the cattle drive from the Tower Bridge to the Capitol building. She had her 2-year-old daughter, Valentina Carey, in a stroller.

Lavin said she saw one of the cowboys rope one of the steers during the drive and enjoyed watching the riders herd the cattle into a makeshift pen. “It was exciting to see so many in one place,” she said.

She liked the idea of the city promoting Farm to Fork Week, and hopes to see future cattle drives in the city.

“It would be great for Sacramento to continue to celebrate this tradition every year,” she said.

Call The Bee’s Tillie Fong, (916) 321-1006.

Read more articles by Tillie Fong

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