BUSHYHEAD — When he was sworn in this year as Rogers County sheriff, Scott Walton likely never envisioned his job would include animal husbandry.
But today, Walton will play trail boss to a 12-mile cattle drive, overseeing the movement of 66 longhorn steers along a highway. The drive from the community of Bushyhead to a rodeo arena in Claremore, trailing historic Route 66, is a tribute to state political and rodeo announcing legend Clem McSpadden. A great-nephew of Will Rogers, McSpadden died of cancer in July at age 82. Starting about 7:30 a.m. at the McSpadden Bushyhead Ranch, the roughly four-hour cattle drive will usher in the final day of the 63rd Will Rogers Stampede Rodeo in Claremore. McSpadden served as that rodeo’s announcer for more than 45 years. "Longhorn cattle was a passion in roping for him,” said his widow, Donna McSpadden, adding that the idea for the drive originated with former Stampede Chairman David Petty. "They thought getting a cattle drive from his ranch into the rodeo grounds would be more meaningful than a plaque.” About eight drovers will guide the cattle. For $15 a pop, riders can enter the rodeo, eat and accompany the drive, which will start along a portion of State Highway 66 known as the "Clem McSpadden Highway.” Among those assisting the Rogers County sheriff’s office will be the Claremore Police Department, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the Rogers County commissioners’ office, Walton said. The animals will be driven primarily along the right-of-way, Walton said.