QUIMBY - The aura of the Old West permeated Cherokee County last week when the Cowan Cattle Company organized a 12-mile cattle drive from the Cowan farm west of Quimby to the Adamson farm pasture grounds south of Cherokee, where the 120-head herd of cows will spend the winter.
In carrying out the dream of his late father, Butch, Wade Cowan of Cowan Cattle Company and his foreman Nate Lewis organized the drive, which included nine drovers on horseback and several four wheelers helping direct traffic, watch gates, and keep the cows moving to their winter destination.
The cattle drive started on Thunder Mountain east of Quimby and drovers steered the cows down county road C-60, then north along the River Road, and finally east over the Little Sioux River Bridge by the Cherokee Rural Water Plant and across U.S. Highway 59.
There were 25 friends and neighbors of the Cowans helping with the cattle drive that started at 9 a.m. and finished at 2 p.m.
The cows needed a little coaxing by following the feed wagon across the Little Sioux River Bridge, but the large herd followed the wagon religiously across U.S. Highway 59, with traffic there directed by the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department and the four-wheeler crew.
The cattle drive was also an emotional one for the Cowan family and friends. Wade and his late father, Butch, worked together to build the herd and a cattle drive was always something Butch wanted to do.
"He was definitely with us in spirit all along the trail and would have been smiling all along the way," said Amy Cowan, the daughter of Butch and Monica Cowan, who photographed and accompanied the cattle drive. "Dad always liked to do things the 'Cowboy Way' and definitely instilled that way of life in Wade and his family.
"It was pretty neat to have nine on horseback and see everyone work together to move cattle along a 12-mile stretch of gravel roads, highway and pasture."
After the cattle drive ended and the cows were secure in their winter destination, the Cowans had a party back at the farm and the workers were served a fine country meal and refreshments prepared by Monica and Amy.
Because the Cowans and friends know how to organize and manage it to work effectively with few problems, and especially as a tribute to Butch, the Cowan cattle drive will become an annual affair, according to Amy.