More Cowbell

After my sheep parade post really set the comment board afire, I got thinking about another peculiar animal procession from my past. This one I witnessed several years ago while participating in the USU Summer Design Academy in Switzerland.

In the sleepy mountain resort of Leysin where we stayed, it was not uncommon for the still of dawn to be pierced by the clank of cowbells from a nearby pasture. But one morning, while making my daily pilgrimage to the local bakery for a warm chocolate-filled croissant, the cows got all gussied up with their finest decorative cowbells and floral headpieces and marched right through town. I'm sure there was a reason for this, I just don't remember what it was.

The following video, taken with my old digital camera, will give you a small idea of what this cow cavalcade sounded like. I'll give you a hint—it ought to wipe out any fever the Bruce Dickinson may be suffering from.

But this cow parade wasn't the only bit of bovine business I witnessed whilst in Confederation Helvetica—I was also able to take in some good old fashioned cow fighting. Not content to let bulls get all the glory, when the Héréns breed of cows in the Swiss canton of Valais are released from their barns each Spring, they lock blunted horns "without provocation" to establish the hierarchy within the herd. And the Swiss spectators that congregate on the mountainside are kind enough to bring along some cans of spray paint. Cows are very poor record-keepers after all.

A typical cow fight goes something like this—two cows butt heads, pushing back and forth for a few minutes until one backs down and is eliminated. Eventually the "last cow standing" is declared the leader of the herd and greatly increases in value. It's just about as awesome as it sounds, as you can see in another video.


Hali said...

You know Dave, I envy some of things you have got to witness over the years. Jealous, I believe would be a better word for it!

ScottBoomer said...

Cow fighting is awesome.
That may be the best video you have ever put on your blog.

Cheeseboy said...

It seems a little like cock fighting, but without all the blood, violence and genuine excitement.