The running of the 'bull'

Headshot of Bob Garnant
Bob GarnantThe West Australian

A runaway prime beef bovine was the talk of this year's Perth Royal Show.

Elders livestock trainee Chad Golding said he was guiding the animal through a fenced laneway towards the auction sale ring when it reacted to the noises and screams from a nearby thrill ride.

"The beast jumped a fence and I instinctively gave chase," he said.

Mr Golding said the escapee took fright-flight down sideshow alley looking for an immediate exit from its strange surrounds.

Also hot on the trail of the runaway was a swag of other concerned cattle people who understood the priority was public safety through a quick and unharmed recapture.

Their efforts helped turn the beast into the direction of a parking lot exit where, still unsettled, gatekeepers ushered it from harm's way - out of the crowded showground and onto Graylands Road.

Still in tow, Mr Golding sensed the animal was all out of puff as he took hold onto its horns and, with a rodeo style take-down called bulldogging, laid it to ground on the soft lawn of a private property with the assistance of others.

"I been around cattle all my life, although this is the first time I have drafted an unled animal through a crowd of show-goers," he said.

The 21-year-old was raised near Katherine in the Northern Territory, where cattle stations were the playgrounds of his youth. "I learnt some very good cattle-handling skills at an early age," he said.

This paid off for the brave drover who was the hero of the day.

Royal Agricultural Society president Rob Wilson commended Mr Golding for his actions.

"Chad's quick response led to the heifer being secured quickly and safely," Dr Wilson said.

"Every care is taken to make sure these animals are well looked after, although it should be understood they are on grounds with unfamiliar sights and sounds.

"As a result of this incident the RAS will review livestock protocols to minimise the risk of the same occurrence happening in the future."

Narrogin agriculture teacher Jackie Bellotti, who attended the prime beef competition with her students, said the event was a valuable source of education.

"Many of the State's agriculture students were in pursuit of the heifer and did a good job of taking control of the situation," she said.

However, broad media coverage of the incident cracked a whipful of tall tales. Some inaccurate reports labelled the runaway as a bullish steer with attitude.

Cattle exhibitor Kevin Yost, of Toodyay, said news journalists wanted to know why the animal went wild when most in view looked so tame.

Mr Yost explained that the one that got away was from the unled section and was not broken-in like the cattle that were housed near the cattle lanes.

"The show offers opportunities for greater participation in the prime steer and heifer competition which, includes exhibitors who don't have time or resources to break in their cattle," he said.

_Countryman _ spoke to a carnival operator who said the heifer's surprise appearance on the crowded pathway sparked a lot of curiosity.

She said some people thought it was part of the show until they noticed it was being chased by a large group of cattle handlers.

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