By Matt Kroschel
SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Traffic halted north of Silverthorne on Tuesday morning, but it wasn’t the usual traffic jam. Cowboys and girls steered a herd of cattle across Highway 9, proving the Old West is alive and well in Colorado.
It’s not every day that a bunch of cows close down a major highway in Colorado, but you can count on it every fall as ranchers move their cattle to new pastures.
Silverthorne resident Ed Ozark showed up as the traffic crews closed down the road.
“Cows are going to come right down the middle of the road… it’s pretty unique,” Ozark told CBS4’s Matt Kroschel as the cattle drive headed his way.
“It’s a hoot,” he added.
The cowboys moving the cattle weren’t all seasoned horsemen. They included 10-year-old Rudy, his 6-year-old brother, their dad and uncle all on horseback to keep the cows moving.
“We had some cows grazing up there at the other ranch. Now we’re going to bring them here to separate them,” Rudy said.
For Rudy and his family, this is how they make a living.
The young cowboys are learning the traditions that have stayed well alive even as Summit County has changed.
“I like to move cows, it’s my life” Rudy added.
Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons and some animal control officers joined the drive. They seemed very comfortable on horseback while helping make sure the operation went smoothly.
“It’s not something drivers encounter every day. It’s something that lives in state law that speaks to the tradition in Colorado that ranchers are allowed to move their cattle,” FitzSimons said.
In all, the entire operation took less than a half an hour and the highway was closed about 20 minutes.
Those traveling through the high county can expect more brief closures as other ranches move their herds.