After five months of wandering, Patty — known locally as "the Moon Boom cow" — was found (along with her new baby bull) and returned to her owner, Ray Wilson of Marietta.
By Guest Writer Karen Holmes:
SLATER-MARIETTA, S.C. — Some may remember when the bull got loose at the 2015 Slater-Marietta Rodeo — he wandered the countryside for two days before he was found. True to form, a cow got loose a few short months later during the Slater-Marietta Moon Boom event.
Was this going to be a trend? Perhaps, but in the case of the cow, finding her was not as easy (or timely) as finding the bull.
Patty’s adventure began on July 3, 2015, at the inaugural Moon Boom celebration, a fireworks and BBQ event in Marietta when Ray loaned her out as the "production manager" of the Cow Patty Bingo fundraiser, sponsored by the Slater-Marietta Lions club. (Patty’s job was to make a "deposit" on one of the 500 numbered squares that corresponded with the purchased tickets.)
Set free to gallop and let loose, Patty decided that she preferred to jump the fence and check out the sights after making a small deposit on one of the squares. People shrieked and scattered as Patty made her way over the fence, up the hill and headed in the direction of Slater-Marietta Drugstore, possibly for one of Vassar’s mouth watering double chocolate malted milk shakes!
All night long Slater-Marietta Fire Chief Marion Cruell heard from residents that "The Moon Boom Cow" was grazing in their back yard. To relieve Chief Cruell, Karen Holmes, vice president of Slater-Marietta Lions Club gave out her personal cell phone number hopeful that someone would actually spot Patty and not some look-alike. More than 100 calls later (some at 3 am.) to report a cow sighting or to offer an opinion ("She's hamburger in somebody's freezer.") of Patty’s demise.
The Lions Club put up a $500 reward for the lost animal, but when no one earned the reward the group gave the money to Ray.
What no one knew is that for several weeks, area resident Betty Heckman had been watching a cow and a calf grazing on her family farm. She would watch them come into her yard and nibble on the beautiful green clover and drink from the springs and pond. Betty had no idea where the cow came from since no other livestock were on the open pasture.
Betty asked family members and friends about the ownership of the cow and her calf, but it was her neighbor, Cheryl Waldrop, who helped solve the mystery. Cheryl had read about the Moon Boom cow and that the cow was pregnant when she went missing, but it had been months ago when she had read the story.
After contacting the Lions Club and explaining the find, a small search party was formed to track down the missing cow who was somewhere on the 186 acres of fields, streams and hardwood trees. Patty was located relaxing with her beautiful baby bull on a narrow ledge at the edge of the woods. The first day the cow was gingerly corralled but the calf, not used to humans, was a little more difficult to catch.
The Slater Marietta Lions Club and the Wilsons are so thankful this story has a happy ending to the five-month journey for the Moon Boom Cow and her baby bull calf who is now being called "Saluda" — he was conceived on one end of the Saluda River and born along side of the other.
The story might end now, but here’s a postscript that demonstrates the character of a lot of people who live in the Slater-Marietta area. Betty Heckman and Cheryl Waldrop were officially eligible for the $500 reward but declined it, instead asking if it could be used to help in another way. The Lions Club, grateful for this show of generosity, chose two charities to receive the money and awarded Cheryl and Betty with Good Citizenship Awards for their outstanding assistance of bringing the cow and calf back home.
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