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Mountain Echo Sports

Ron Mosher, Sports Editor

Unless otherwise stated, all photos are by Ron Mosher


If you’ve ever driven highway 89 through Hat Creek, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the rare cattle crazing at the Old Honn Homestead - black with a wide belt of white encircling the middle. These strange looking creatures are Belted Galloway cattle - affectionately called ‘Belties’. To many they are nicknamed The Oreo Cooke Cow, or Panda Cow or Highway Patrol Cow - take your pick.

The Intermountain Area has plenty of cattle grazing in meadows along our highways, with familiar Hereford’s, Angus and other breeds. However the Belties of Hat Creek really turn heads.

The Old Honn Beltie Farm in Hat Creek is owned by Paul and Nancy Sallaberry, and managed by Freddy Brixey and his wife Lois. The Sallaberry’s purchased the ranch in 2000 and the Brixey’s have been there since 1997.

The ranch began with just two Belted Galloway’s and currently has 26, all offspring of the original duo. They cattle are raised primarily for their quality marbled beef, which testing has shown to be low in total fat and in saturated fat.

“The Beltie has dark meat in front and back, and white meat in the middle,” Brixey joked, “It really is wonderful beef though,” he noted in a serious vein.

When the Old Honn Farm started raising Belties, “We began with two calves,” stated Brixey, “and our current herd is from the original two - with a lot of bad luck along the way with disease and broken bones.” But the herd is growing and generating revenue from the beef provided.

The Old Honn Beltie Farm is a member of the Western Belted Galloway Association as one of 13 California Farms along with others from Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Very few, if any, of the Beltie Farms sells beef through your local grocery store. According to Brixey, the beef is sold privately by owners. This is the case with the Old Honn Beltie Farm, who has contracted with a slaughter house and sells the beef privately.

“They have their own customers who regularly purchase the Beltie beef,” he related.

Belted Galloway cattle are currently listed with the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy as a “recovering” breed, which means there are fewer than 2,500 annual registrations in the United States and a global population of less than 10,000. To put how rare this breed is, consider than in 2014 Shasta county alone had a count of 23,800 head of cattle - more than double the worldwide population of Belted Galloway’s.

Members of the Western Beltie group frequently trade bulls, and the current bull at Old Honn is on loan from a farm in Nevada.

Beltie calves at birth normally weigh between 40 and 60 pounds, and their black coloring is tinged with brown as youngsters, “which turns completely black as they get older,” said Brixey. The cattle also have longer curly hair, which gets shorter and smoother as they age. An adult bull will weigh from 1,700 pounds to 2,300 pounds while cows weigh from 1,000 pounds to 1,500 pounds. Because this is a beef breed, cut ability is important to the breeder, and dressed weights are generally better than 60 percent of live weight.

Brixey noted that the breed is very docile, curious and friendly, “and they take care of one another.” Being of quiet temperament, they still maintain a strong maternal instinct and will protect a calf against perceived threats. On an outing over the weekend, the Old Honn Belties seemed very curious as to what the camera was, coming up to get an up-close-and-personal investigation.

Originating in the southwestern portion of Scotland, the Beltie is a hardy animal, used to colder weather and able to sustain themselves on “less than perfect grazing areas.” According to experts, they do well in the northern area’s of the US and Canada, where the climate is colder. They are well-suited for rough grazing land and will utilize coarse grasses other breeds would shun - according to one national article on the breed.

The heartiness of the breed came into play last fall, when the Eiler Fire came literally within feet of the Brixey home and barns - destroying a cabin, trailer and barn on the ranch as well as neighboring houses, but sparing the Old Honn Homestead for the most part.

There are several breeds of ‘Oreo cookie cows’ including some seen in Big Valley recently - but with brown and white coloring, indicative of the Dutch Belted cattle rather than Belted Galloway and its dis-tinctive black and white coloring.

The Old Honn Beltie Farm also has a pair of unorthodox Belties - after a cross with Hereford’s. These cows have white faces and are stockier than the purebred Belted Galloways. A true Belted Galloway has absolutely no white except for the wide belt around the middle.
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Local Bowler Second at US Bowling Congress Nationals
RENO, NV. - Debbie Haskell, a Burney bowler finished second in the United States Bowling Congress lady’s championship here in All-Events.

She finished the three events with a total pin fall of 1683, a mere seven pins behind the winner in Division III.

“What a difference a spare makes,” she said after receiving the news of her final placement in the tournament at the National Bowling Center here that covered three months of keglers from throughout the country participating.

She and her team of Colleen Penny, Traci Hinton and Theresa Babajan competed in the tournament June 22- 23.

Haskell rolled a 612 in team event (179, 225, 207), 576 in doubles (172, 184, 210) and 505 in singles (167, 175, 163). She will receive a prize check in the amount of $665.

The local kegler bowls in three winter leagues and one summer league and her highest career game of 290 rolled in January 2013 (a spare then 11 straight strikes).

Modoc Rotary Golf Tournament August 15
ALTURAS - Plans are gearing up for the sixth annual Alturas Rotary Golf Tournament set for Saturday, August 15 at the Arrowhead golf course here.

Sign ups will begin at 8am with a shotgun start set for 9 o’clock. Advance sign ups are recommended as the tournament is limited to 72 golfers - although advanced reservations are not required.

The cost of the tourney is $75 per golfer that includes a BBQ ribs and tri-tip lunch. Spectators who want only lunch can pay $20, with lunch set for approximately 2pm.

Prizes offered include $10,000 for a hole-in-one and cash prizes for teams ranging from $100 to $500, with additional prizes awarded for successful shots.

Funds raised from the event go toward Alturas Rotary club for educational and leadership programs for local youth.

For more information contact Matt Cruse (530) 519-5602 or Mike Mason at (530) 640-1316 or (530) 233-3499.


Carlos Escalante goes deep at shortstop to snare a pop-up (left) and turn to fire back into the pitcher (right) during Intermountain Softball League action last week.
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Hit-A-Thon Fund Raiser Set for FRHS Saturday
McARTHUR - A Hit-A-Thon for youngsters aged seven and up is set to begin Saturday at 10am at the Fall River high school baseball diamond here.

The event is being organized by Brian Smith as his senior project, and monies raised will go toward funding the future baseball program at the school.

Sponsors can either pay a flat fee, or pay by the foot of the longest fly ball hit by a player. Each hitter will get 10 swings.

Potential hitters or sponsors can get more information by e-mailing Smith at b.smith1022@hotmail. com.

Smith is the starting catcher for the Bulldogs, and has played his favorite sport his entire life. Hitters can sign-up Saturday before 10am.
Big Ball Tourney Set for August 8-9
FALL RIVER MILLS - A Big Ball softball tournament is set for the Lions Community Park here August 8 and 9.

Entry fee per team is $150 and the deadline for entering is August 5th.

Monies raised will go to improvements at the softball field.

For info, contact Nona McCloud 356-9442.

Eiler Fire Way Too Close for Old Honn Belties
A year ago this week, the Eiler Fire raged through the Hat Creek Area - coming way to close to the Old Honn Homestead for comfort. According to Lois Brixey, her husband and two friends stayed at the ranch and the cattle were in the lower meadow, with Andy (the bull) in the corral by himself. About eight Cal Fire trucks and crews had arrived and started a backfire at the edge of the structures. Everyone was fighting the fire behind the house when they heard Andy bellowing. When Freddy Brixey rushed toward the sound, he discovered the corral on fire and one very agitated Andy. The metal gate to the corral was so hot Cal Fire had to spray it with water in order for Brixey to be able to open it and rescue Andy. Once away from the corral, Andy rushed into the middle of Hat Creek that runs through the property and remained standing in the water with steam coming off Photo by April Thompson his body. It was a close encounter for the Belties.

A History of the Belted Galloways

The Belted Galloway originated in the southwestern part of Scotland, and have been found in pictures dating back to the 11th century, with the first actual documentation in the 18th century in the former Galloway district of Scotland.

The origin of the white belt is unknown, but generally presumed to come from cross breeding with Dutch Belted cattle, also known as Lakenveder, according to Wikipedia.

Belted Galloways were first imported to the United States by a Mrs. McLean of East Kortright, New York. The American Belted Galloway Breeders Society was formed on July 1, 1951.

The Galloway cattle are naturally polled. The most visible characteristics of the breed are its long hair coat and the board white belt that completely encircles the body. Its coarse outer coat helps shed the rain, and its soft undercoat provides insulation and waterproofing, enabling the breed to happily overwinter outside.

They are a rare breed to be sure.