They came. They mooed. They didn’t escape.
This year’s Washington State Fair Western Rodeo Parade and cattle drive drew laughter and cheers from spectators, but unlike years past when the livestock got loose, this year went as planned.
That was good news to John Growney, stock contractor for the Washington State Fair Rodeo.
"When you start relaxing around livestock that’s when something bad happens," Growney said before the parade.
Admitting he was probably more skittish than the animals, Growney said whether the herd of 40 Corriente cattle stayed together was dependent on there being no gaps along the parade route.
That’s where volunteers come in, he said. He estimated nearly 100 people from the senior activity center lined the route to keep the cattle from running amuck through downtown Puyallup.
They also had to keep spectators on the curb.
"They’re going to be running for those horses. Kids love horses," volunteer Lois Maass said before the parade.
Maass joined Pat Callinksy on a bench along the parade route before the cattle arrived. Wearing a straw cowboy hat, Callinksy said she wouldn’t mind a little excitement for this year’s event.
"I’d like to see a little ruckus," the Puyallup native joked.
At least twice before the animals have deviated from the designated route. In 2009 the herd went different directions and two cattle found themselves inside a convenience store.
Another time one wandered into an antique shop, said the herd’s owner Gerald Bruhn.
That didn’t’ happen this year, although there were a couple of "frisky" moments between the steers that drew muffled laughter from parade spectators.
And as the herd neared its final turn one steer stopped to nibble on some grass before being quickly rounded up by one of the six cowboys in charge of keeping the animals in line.
Once the animals turned the corner from Seventh Avenue to Second Street they ran alongside a line of cheering students from All Saints Catholic School.
Located two blocks from the parade route, it’s a school tradition to attend the parade and cattle drive each year, said teacher Julie Kelly.
The students cheered as the cattle neared their final destination: a green pen across the street from the fairgrounds.
For those hoping for a little exitement there’s always next year.