Grady the Cow
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (November 2009)|
On February 22, 1949, Bill and Alyne Mach's six-year-old Hereford cow, Grady, gave birth to a stillborn calf in a small shed next to a silo. Since she was having trouble with the birth, Mach called a veterinarian, D.L. Crump, to help. Dr. Crump tied Grady to a post so she would hold still. When he was finished taking care of her, she was untied. She then whirled around and started chasing Bill, who jumped on a pile of cottonseed sacks to escape.
The only light in the shed was from the small opening to the silo. Grady dove for the light in the opening. Mach and Dr. Crump looked toward the silo opening and saw a few red hairs clinging to the edge of the heavy steel silo door, which was only 17 inches wide and 25 inches high. Grady was in the silo. They couldn't tear down the silo as it was too valuable and the opening could not be made wider because it was encased in steel.
Bill Mach asked for help through his local newspaper, and the response was overwhelming. People all over the United States offered solutions to the problem. Phone calls, telegrams and letters all flowed in; curious people started showing up in cars and even planes. Grady was featured in Life, TIME and newspapers all over the country.
One person suggested tunnelling under the silo. Another suggested bringing an attractive bull to the opening to lure her out. An Air Force officer said he knew of a helicopter that would lift 1,200 pounds (540 kg) but it was in San Marcos, Texas. Three days after Grady's leap, Bill Mach got a call from Ralph Partridge, the farming editor of The Denver Post, who told Mach he was coming to Yukon to get Grady out of the silo.
Partridge supervised while a ramp was built from the floor of the silo to the door. The door edges were coated with axle grease. Grady was then outfitted with two heavy halters coated with axle grease. Dr. Crumb gave her tranquilizers to make her relax. While men outside the silo pulled on ropes attached to her halters, Partridge and J.O. Dicky Jr., a Yukon vocational agriculture teacher, pushed. Grady slid through the door with only a couple of scratches along her back.
Grady went on to become a mother several times, and she was such a tourist attraction that Mach put up a sign on Route 66 noting her home. He kept Grady in a special pen by the road.
Grady the cow died in July 1961 and the old silo was torn down in 2001 to make way for a regional hospital.
Two children's books have been written describing and illustrating the story of Grady the Cow.
- TIME Magazine: Grady & the Postman (March 7, 1949)
- Grady's in the Silo (2003) by Una Belle Townsend (ISBN 1-58980-098-2)