CLINTON, Mo. - A father and professional cake chef who jokes that he considers himself the farthest thing from a cowboy in his rural Missouri town saved three calves' lives on Wednesday, using an improvised lasso to haul them out of a frozen pond.
Mike Elder, who lives in rural Clinton and is something of a culinary celebrity across the metro, said he was driving near his home on Monday when he spotted something strange on an iced-over pond near his home.
"We thought it had like beavers or otters or something playing on it. Because there was these black things," Elder said. "So we stopped and actually backed up and that's when could see it was four cows that had fallen through the ice."
When it became clear to Elder-- and his three upset children in the backseat-- that the cows were in trouble, he raced home for a length of rope left over from a sailboat he had recently sold.
Elder tied a sailing knot to make a crude lasso and began pulling the calves to shore one by one.
"I made a couple loops, it kind of helped them keep their head up anyway," Elder explained with a shrug. "They were kind of slipping in and out of the water a bit."
Joined by the farmer who owned the cows, Elder used his lasso to pull the cows and an axe to break up the ice-- all in subzero temperatures.
"I mean I was there in my dress shoes. I was not dressed for it. I had a pair of gloves that had the tech fingers on them," Elder said.
He and the farmer successfully rescued three of the four calves, who are now warm and safe away from the pond.
Elders posted pictures of the incident on Facebook and has been pleasantly surprised by the reaction they have received.
"My kids are proud of me," he said. "It's made a good story."