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These Boots Were Made For Stealing
FARM SHOW readers of a certain age may recall The Andy Griffith Show episode when a cattle thief put shoes on a cow. While it appeared that there were three thieves, wise Sheriff Taylor cracked the case noting that there were no cow tracks.
The show may have been a humorous twist on real-life cow thief Crazy Tex Hazelwood during the 1920’s. He was a little smarter and rigged his boots with boards and two hoofs to lead cattle away from Utah Construction Company Ranches in northeast Elko County, Nev. Ranch hands realized that the herd was thinning, two at a time according to the tracks. But they were confused because there were never any human tracks left by a rustler.
Eventually, a couple of hands followed a pair of fresh “cow” tracks and discovered Hazelwood, wearing his hoof boots and leading a cow. According to an article by Howard Hickson for Nevada Magazine, the beef thief bragged that he had practiced taking long strides with the foot-long, 6-in. tall shoes and had been stealing cattle for 6 mos.
After spending a couple of years in prison, Hazelwood moved back to northeast Nevada and “remained a nuisance for several more years.” In 1953, a feuding neighbor shot Hazelwood, 72, who was sitting in his pickup.
The cow rustling boots can be seen at the Northeastern Nevada Museum in Elko, Nev.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, (www.museumelko.org).

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #2