By Bob Spiwak
Across from Kelly’s at Wesola Polana restaurant on Highway 20 is Kumm Road. It was named for Roy Kumm, now long departed to that big cattle drive in the sky.
Roy was a fine older gent who among other talents was an artificial inseminator of cattle. How we came to require his services began in Wyoming.
When I married Gloria and imported her from California, we had several discussions about what to do with the five acres I had cleared during the preceding 10 years. We wanted a farm or ranchette on the limited acreage and came up with getting longhorn cattle or a bison. On a road trip we stopped at a place I had been before, a ranch in the Hoback Canyon south of Jackson, Wyoming, where the rancher acquaintance raised both animals.
(As an aside, it may be of interest that on his ranch was the site of the first Protestant church service west of the Rockies. It was outdoors and the congregation was mostly Indians and trappers and the service was halted when a herd of bison was seen and the attendees galloped away to shoot them.)
Back in the Methow, we bought a pair of longhorn heifers from the Judd Ranch at Carlton, branded and named them, and later decided to have them artificially inseminated. We were referred to Roy Kumm.
Being ignorant of the logistics of this process, I had no squeeze chute for the cows. Roy checked them out. Having been raised pretty much as pets, they were quite docile. Roy noted that a chute would have been better, but he felt he could do them without one, their being so gentle. He had everything he needed to do the job.
At the far end of the pond stands a huge fir tree, which was big even in the early 1980s. Roy said he’d simply tie the cows, one at a time, to the tree and proceed. I was impressed.
We got some heavy rope and haltered Sobrina, the red one, and Roy led her to the tree and tied her, leaving a lot of slack because he thought she would try to get away. He was correct — she tried to flee as he made contact. She reached the end of the rope and could go no farther, so she reversed and Roy jumped out of the way. He tried again and this time she ran around the tree. This all lasted about five minutes before Roy gave up. I asked him if he wanted to try with the black cow, Curly, and he decided I needed to build a chute after all.
Over the next few days I downed some trees and put together a primitive chute. We led a reluctant Curly to the entrance, me in front holding the rope and pulling her, Roy behind. She blitzed through the tacky chute, the rope came out of my hands and after about 20 yards she stopped. The chute was destroyed. Roy was out of breath and decided it might be better to move the critters to an established chute.
I decided to call the project quits. Even if it worked, I would be stuck with four, instead of two cows.
The cows ultimately were traded back to Barb Judd in return for a half of beef. The insemination site became the first hole of the golf course, and the whole incident was a source of laughter every time Roy and I got together.