Charles Oats with Longhorn Steers

Chris Davison with 4 up hitch in Mayflower Ark

Morgan with Red and Jim

Joyce heading the Parade of Tartaus, Maumelle, Ark Scottish Festival





Joyce and Morgan and son Clay (in kilt) with Red and Jim, the first oxen.

Mack and Pappy and Buck at the Ft Smith Rodeo Parade

"Oxen" are not a special breed of animal, but simply a working bovine (neutered bull).  Technically, and  "Ox" is a mature individual age four years or more.  Prior to reaching maturity, they are called "working steers."  A single animal is an ox, and the plural is "oxen".  A pair of steers is called "a yoke" of steers and four or more are a "team of steers".

Oxen were the primary draft animals on farms all across America until they were replaced by mules in the 1930's.  In Canada and in the northeastern United States, oxen are still a common sight today.  They still skid logs out of forests in an environmentally friendly manner.

Oxen work by pushing against a "yoke", or wooden beam, which is placed either behind the horns (head Yoke) or on the back of the neck (neck yoke).  The item to be pulled is attached to the yoke.

The Midsouth Ox Drovers Association was formed about five years ago by Joyce Hetrick, who had trained a pair of Scots Highland steers to work a yoke.  Joyce got in touch with several Arkansas folks who also had trained oxen; Jerry Bradford of Mayflower, Charles Oats of Russellville, Mack Hackworth of Pocahontas, and Ronnie Hendricks of Center Ridge.  A gathering was planned at Heifer Creek to get together and "play with" the steers.  Joyce started sending a newsletter around to everyone to keep them in touch and The Drover came to be a semi-regular newsletter with about fifty subscribers.

Mid South Members (left to right) Jerry and Sarah Bradford, Jean and Charles Oats, Celestual and Mack Hackworth, Joyce Hetrick.

Over the years, the core group has expanded to about fifty folks from nine states who exchange information and ideas about working cattle and get together when they can, once or twice a year for "meetings," as well as display the working steers to thousands of school kids and adults all over the South during the spring and fall.


 Pappy and Buck Preparing to Pull




"Pappy and Buck," a pair of 10 year old Jersey steers, trained by Mack Hackworth of Pocahontas, Arkansas, and now owned by Tim and Sharlene Richardson, now live at Heifer Creek Farm and are frequently demonstrated to large groups of the public at various events all over the state of Arkansas.  They are a hit at the Living History Displays.

For more Pictures from Living History click here.

Using the donkey to teach calves to lead

Babe and Blue at Waldron Ark Rendezvous



Jerry and Sarah Bradford's date at Log a Load Benefit with Ben and Barney.