COVINGTON -- The cow may not have jumped over the moon, but he apparently made it across woods, highways, parking lots and a few yards.
Roscoe, a 5-month-old Angus Simmental Cross steer, broke free from his tether, leading his owner, Newton County Animal Control, the Porterdale Police Department and other area residents on a 21/2 day chase before a professional roper was able to bring him back to his home at the Newton High School stables.
Jesse McCord, 16, is a member of the Newton High School FFA Show Team. He purchased the steer about a week prior to Roscoe's April 15 escape.
McCord said he and a fellow classmate were walking Roscoe out of his stable when the 450-pound steer started to jump. McCord said the animal broke free and started to run toward the woods behind the high school.
"He started running, and he was just gone," the high school junior said.
McCord spent his second period class searching for Roscoe, but to no avail. Ryan Talton, NHS agriculture teacher and FFA sponsor, contacted Animal Control about the loose steer.
Sometime about 8:30 p.m. the following day, Animal Control contacted McCord to tell him a resident on Crowell Road saw the steer grazing in her yard.
McCord, Talton and some friends drove there to try to capture the wayward animal, but the steer became skittish and ran off again.
About 45 minutes later, an officer with the Porterdale Police Department called McCord to say the steer made it across Ga. Highway 81 to Elm Street in Porterdale.
Sgt. Jason Cripps with the PPD said he responded to Elm Street and saw the steer with a cord on him, and that he looked angry.
"We had three officers and two police cars trying to chase him down, but he kept running toward (Ga.) 81 and I thought, 'Oh my God, we're going to have filet mignon,'" Cripps said.
Roscoe then made his way toward a home near the Yellow River and headed toward the back of the house where there was a pool. Cripps said they got the steer corralled, but by the time the fire department responded, the animal ran into the woods.
"Then he came back out of the woods and was coming at us," Cripps said. "We all took off running."
McCord's mother, Patty McCord, said they received calls all night from the police that the steer had been sighted in various places.
"People called the Porterdale Police that night that the steer was in the parking lot behind Burger King, he was going down (Ga. Highway) 162, he was everywhere," she said.
Jesse McCord said he got a call about 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning that Roscoe had been seen near the woods on Ga. 162.
"He was playing games with us," McCord said.
He said they tracked the steer as far into the woods as they could, but finally Talton called a professional roper, Wayne Allen, to help. Allen, riding on horseback, used tracking dogs to find Roscoe. Once they found him, Allen roped the animal and brought him back to his home at Newton High School.
Now, McCord is working hard to prepare Roscoe for the state FFA show that will be held in July at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry.
Roscoe continues to be skittish, McCord said, which is natural for young steers.
"They're separated from their mother and they have to get used to you," McCord said.
For McCord, the experience has been valuable.
"I have definitely learned to be more responsible," he said. "You just got to keep holding on tight and try not to ever let go."