Holy cow: Meet the cowboy who lassoed a runaway cow on I-75 in Oakland County

Wranglers chase cow on horseback, 4-wheelers

HOLLY TOWNSHIP, Mich. – It was like a scene from a movie: A cow somehow made its way onto one of the busiest freeways in Metro Detroit, running among traffic on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Then, a cowboy emerges on horseback from the side of the freeway, tailing the runaway cow with a lasso in an attempt to wrangle it.

The cow was reportedly stuck in a gravel pit on Belford Road in Holly Township on Sunday, May 21, and wranglers were trying to rescue it. Michigan State Police were called to the area around 2:50 p.m. just in case the cow escaped and ran toward the highway -- and it did.

The bovine escaped wranglers on horseback and four-wheelers, and made its way to northbound I-75. MSP troopers helped block off traffic, eventually halting traffic in both directions on I-75, as wranglers chased the cow. You can see MSP’s dash cam video of the scene down below.

The cow was eventually captured and led to the median. The animal was reportedly returned to its pasture, and traffic returned to normal.

Among those who helped safely capture the cow was local cowboy Ricky Littlejohn, who actually wrangles loose cattle for a living. He said he found out about the cow on I-75 after someone tagged him in a social media post.

“People tagged me in this lady’s post and were telling me this cow was on the side of I-75, so we gathered up our team and we decided to come over there and see if we could help,” Littlejohn said. “The last thing we wanted to do was see anybody hit this cow and potentially hurt themselves, or hurt the cow, or anything.”

Littlejohn, originally from the Jackson County area, says that business has been on the rise lately, with more and more runaway cows needing to be captured. When he started his business 10 years ago, he would capture “maybe five cows a year” -- but now, he says he and his wranglers will capture around 200-250 cows every year.

The cowboy says he started learning his skills in high school rodeo while living in Concord, Michigan, and has continued practicing since.

“... I practice roping, we practice tying down, and we dang sure try to have good horses and good dogs around,” Littlejohn said.

You can watch Littlejohn’s full interview in the video player up above.

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.