Greeley, CO – “Cattle Murder Capital of The World” – KUNC – November 18, 1998

I drove to Greeley yesterday morning. I think maybe it’s the cattle murder capital of the world. Black & white pierced and branded cows line every fence along the highway. They watch me speed along, in my little purple car, like unwitting spectators at a marathon. Their eyes are huge and soulful and hopeless. I wish I could open the gates and set them all free. Notice to all cows: “STEER CLEAR OF GREELEY.”

I did a radio interview at KUNC which oddly, turned out to be a classical NPR station.  They had me uncork my guitar and play my little folky tunes between Beethoven and Vivaldi (not bad company to keep if you’re a dead musician but probably not a station reaching the ears of my potential audience).  When they asked me to come in, did they think I was a classical guitar player? I wondered as I packed my guitar into the back seat of my Rav.

A college student with a basketball under her arm caught up to me in the parking lot and, out of breath, asked me to sign her Tomboy Bride CD.  It’s amazing that this music exists without me.  It’s like watching a child I’ve nurtured and raised, go off to college.  I was humbled and honored my music and my autograph meant something to someone besides me.

I ate Pringles on the drive home. I got lost twice down dead-end roads. Each was lined with barbed wire threaded like an angry necklace with crows.

Reader interactions

6 Replies to “Greeley, CO – “Cattle Murder Capital of The World” – KUNC – November 18, 1998”

  1. Marianne Cancelleri March 4, 2024 at 11:40 am

    On one of my many trips to rural Virginia from NYC I would see docile beautiful cows in the same predicament. That particular trip was when I decided that I can’t love them on my plate and in my eyes. I became a vegetarian that day and have been now for 24 years. For the record, I have no feelings in my heart and soul about broccoli and tofu! Love these tales Sally! Thanks!

    1. I am completely with you Marianne. I don’t judge anyone for eating meat. But I can’t love cows with my eyes and on my plate either.

  2. Our daughter moved to Greeley a few years ago to get a Masters in jazz from UNC…apparently one of the best jazz programs around. At the time that surprised me. CO? Jazz? Anyway, we became very familiar with the “Greeley Smell” driving out there to visit. Still don’t have the words for it. Haha

    But yes I could hardly stand to see the cattle wedged in….

    So enjoying your tales in part because I can picture the surroundings. She lives in Ft Collins now and jazz is alive and well there. Do you ever go back and visit “old haunts”?

    1. Hey Becky,
      Thanks for following along and for refreshing the scent of that drive to Greeley. I haven’t made it back to CO since Covid but my best friend Laura still lives out there and my heart belongs to her and the mountains.

  3. Hi Sally,

    I grew up in Denver, but my grandparents lived in Fort Collins so we made that trip on I 25 every few months. I tried to hold my breath every time we drove through Greeley – sadly, it was impossible! Also, “back in the day”, there was NOTHING for miles and miles between Denver and Fort Collins. Lots of car games trying to spot something with an “A”, then a “B”. I’ll bet all of that has changed…

    1. Hey Cindy,

      I love all these recollections about that stretch of highway. Thank you for recalling a time when even less was there to be seen!

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