Midwest Highland
Cattle Association

Midwest Highland Cattle Association

The Story

While out in Denver in January of 2013, I was approached by a woman named Judy Shehigian; she informed me, (as I stood in front of our cattle and farm sign with the address prominently displayed) that she was originally from Michigan, and had some information concerning a Highland steer that had been purchased at the Kansas City Stockyard in1935 and brought back to Ionia Michigan to live out his life.  She had been looking for someone from Michigan with whom to share this information.  I informed her that there wasn't really anyone better to share this with than me, (other than perhaps Ginnah, at the AHCA) because I do play webmaster to the Midwest HIghland Cattle Association, and I could get this on the website, to share with our members, as well as anyone else who browses through our pages.

So now that my taxes are finished, I have done as promised;  please read on. Some of the photos I left a little larger than usual so they can be easily read.

Scotty the Highland


 Located in Noble County, near Ponca City, Oklahoma and now a national historic landmark, the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch was a 110,000 acre ranch that was the headquarters of one of the most famous Wild West shows of the early 1900s.

"Their show business career began in 1905, when the Millers invited the members of the National Editorial Association to Bliss, Oklahoma, and entertained them with a large exhibition, which they called "Oklahoma's Gala Day." The event showcased the skills of their ranch hands and American Indians, including the famous Apache Geronimo, who killed a bison from the front seat of a car. The show also featured Lucille Mulhall, George Elser, and Bill Pickett. The affair's success led the Millers to take the enterprise on the road. It toured seasonally beginning in 1907. The show had a hiatus from 1916 to 1925, initiated by World War I, before it mobilized again and ran until 1931. In 1924 the production again performed in Bliss for the National Editors' Association. The brothers took the show throughout the United States and worldwide, traveling to Mexico, Canada, Europe, and South America. In 1914 the cowboys and Indians performed for King George V and Queen Mary of England. In Mexico Bill  Pickett aroused the ire of bullfighters and the crowd by trying to bulldog one of their famed prize bulls." (see Miller Brothers 101 Ranch)

Judy thought that Scotty had probably been purchased in Scotland while the Wild West Show was doing a performance in Great Britain.

"During the 1920s the 101 acts began to draw smaller crowds, which eventually led to financial losses, because the show competed with the burgeoning movie industry, circuses, and other venues including rodeos for audiences. In 1926 the Millers lost $119,970. The onset of the Great Depression drastically impacted the ranch, causing the family to fall deeper in debt. On October 21, 1927, Joe Miller died. Two years later, on February 2, George Miller passed away. Zack Miller could not pull the operation out of its financial woes, and in 1931 the 101 Ranch went into receivership. In 1932 a large amount of the land was divided and leased, and most of the personal property was auctioned."

It must have been about this time that Scotty was sold to one James Teeter, who reportedly purchased Scotty after the break-up of the ranch.


Scotty comes to town

 A brief article in the local newspaper from August 1985, the Ionia Sentinel-Standard, notes that 50 years prior, Scotty had arrived at the Harwood Farm and was going to be displayed at the Ionia Free Fair. 

I would venture to guess that some of this might just be a little exaggerated.  Photos of Scotty will show that it seems unlikely that he "came charging" at them unless perhaps he was looking for a handout. Unfortunately, part of this article is missing and you have to fill in the blanks, but I believe this documents that a decision was made to purchase Scotty, but he was already on the road back to Eldorado Kansas, presumably in a stock trailer and not on foot.  Fortunately the state police were dispatched to catch the trucker and return the steer to the stockyards so that he could be transported to Michigan from there. A shame this was before the inventions of the cell phone (or is it?)

Life in Michigan

 Judy sits on Scotty's back:  Judy is 2,Scotty is, shall we say, "aged." 






The Horns and the Hide Please


 The first letter inquiring about Scotty's pieces parts.


Of course, it is easy to see why the interest. Mr. McNichols wrote again 5 years later when he moved to Idaho.  Another inquiry came from Mr Warren Hunter.




 It is my belief that Scotty's existing remains are still in Ionia Michigan.  I was shown  those prodigious (and prestigious) horns and the huge tanned hide.  Although this was a number of years ago. I bet he can still be found at Harwood Farms



Apricot Lane Farm in California was featured as a video short on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday March 24th. The filming is lovely, and the video includes shots of both TwinFlower Wesley, Grand Champion Bull at the 2011 NWSS and LEA Firefly, both purchased from Midwest members at the National Sale in 2011.

See the video here.