Not even the real-life cowboys can get Betsy out of Anchorage's 4,000-acre park.
Last June, a cow named Betsy disappeared from Anchorage’s annual rodeo. Nobody is quite sure how the three-year-old slipped away, but sure enough, the sly girl slinked off and headed to Far North Bicentennial Park. And she's been there ever since.
According to a story in The Washington Post, as soon as Betsy's owner realized she was missing, the real-life cowboys at the rodeo hopped on their horses and headed for the park, but to no avail. The evasive Betsy was gone. And all these months later, she’s still on the lam, despite efforts by her owner and local law enforcement’s attempts to find her.“I’m just totally exhausted from looking day in and day out,” Frank Koloski, Betsy’s owner, told The Washington Post. “She’s a go-getter, that’s for sure.”
If your first thought is to wonder if she has even survived in those snowy woods, the answer is yes, indeed she has. Koloski says he has received dozens of tips from park users who have seen her "calmly meandering down the park’s snow-covered trails." Koloski gets regular calls from the Anchorage Police Department alerting him to sightings, but each time, no luck. “I go out there, I’m standing in her tracks and she’s nowhere to be found,” he says.
Koloski had just purchased Betsy and was planning to use her for educational demonstrations and to let kids ride her in junior rodeo events – but who knows if that will ever come to pass. Her new home in the park encompasses some 4,000 acres with hundreds of miles of trails. Even if they did find her, lassoing a wary cow isn’t an easy task, says Koloski, and luring her with food hasn't worked. The next plan, if and when Koloski finds her, is to bring other cows to the location, to whom Betsy will naturally flock.
Until then, however, Betsy appears to be doing well (despite the fact that she must be lonely, cattle are pretty social). Koloski says that Alaska cattle are "tough and accustomed to the area’s harsh winters." Since the park is within city limits, predatory wildlife is likely not too much of a threat. There is still unfrozen water, and while there is also green to be found, Koloski is leaving bales of hay and salt blocks near her sightings. He told The Post that if anything, the problem in finding her has been that she is eating so well that she hasn't been slowing down because of hunger – and given the park's vastness, finding her may prove impossible.
“It’s a cow’s dream,” he says.