Reno Rodeo 100: Caring For A Hurt Calf

Jun 27, 2019

The Reno Rodeo 100 is a multimedia storytelling series wherein people connected to the event have shared intimate, up-close tales from the rodeo during open mic events and as part of more in-depth interviews with rodeo documentarians. In this excerpt, one former rodeo director, Dr. Joseph Eberle, recalls a time when a hurt calf got some very special medical treatment.

While working as a veterinarian near Susanville, California, Dr. Joseph Eberle once got a call for care that was not necessarily in his wheelhouses. The phone call indicated that there was a calf with a broken leg. Eberle told the caller to bring the hurt animal into town and to meet him at Washoe Medical center (now Renown Health).

Eberle phoned a friend, Jerry Dales, an orthopedic surgeon, to also meet there to assess the animal. Once at the hospital, the staff readied for this unique medical case.

“The nurses brought out a gurney, and we put the calf on the gurney and covered the calf with a sheet,” said Eberle.

Watch him tell the story in full below.

The Hurt Calf - Joe Eberle from Jessi LeMay on Vimeo.

Nurses at the hospital doted on the baby animal, petting it as it awaited x-rays and letting other patients come check out the newest patient. The staff rolled the animal into the ER as a cowboy that had been injured separately in the rodeo arrived around the same time.

“So, we’re wheeling it in the emergency room, and he saw this calf going through there, and he says, ‘This is my kind of hospital!”

After snapping an X-ray, the duo of doctors splinted the animal’s leg. The aftercare for the animal was as unconventional as his path to healing: Eberle took it home and let it rest and recoup in his own pasture. 

The Reno Rodeo 100 project is a community partnership with several funders including the Reno Rodeo Association and their charitable foundation. It’s content is produced by Jessi LeMay. To see KUNR's coverage of the 2019 Reno Rodeo, visit Spurs and Mud: A Century of Rodeo.