By Scott Bidroski
The message read to make sure you bring a vehicle with four-wheel drive on a cool March day in southwest Sheridan County.
The roads leading out to the Reimann homestead were indeed muddy but the reward of the trip were well worth the need of four-wheel drive.
Megan Reimann, along with her cow Ghost, were the stars of the show that day in March, as the duo attempted to accomplish a task that is of high air.
A spot in the Guinness Book of World Records was that task at hand, with Ghost attempting to perform the most tricks by a cow in one minute.
With a slew of friends, family, and volunteers to help meet all the requirements, Ghost performed 10 tricks officially in one minute to accomplish the feat.
The tricks were: stay, come when called, spin, roped herself, bow, stood on her pedestal, fist bump, head down (lower head on cue), kiss, ring bell, and nod yes.
How Megan Reimann and Ghost got here though is quite the journey.
Reimann grew up outside of Omaha but has always owned horses and held the motivation to get out of the city.
She did just that following graduation from high school, moving away from the hustle and bustle to get back to her roots.
Reimann has been starting colts for over twenty years now, with the last decade here in Sheridan County on her husband’s families homestead.
Reimann, along with her husband Larel and their children, run cattle and still own horses.
Megan began teaching trick training for equines via online courses with her ranch horses helping teach the lessons. You add in raising some bottle calves from time to time, well you can do the math. The two worlds have collided and opened new doors with Ghost.
“I got Ghost as a bottle calf in 2019. She stood out because of her beautiful white color in the herd of otherwise black cattle,” said Reimann.
“The kids named her Ghost and from the beginning, I knew she was special,” she added.
Reimann originally thought the cow would be a good candidate for riding. But to get to that step, they first had to work on learning tricks.
A fun fact for all the readers at home, the same methods that are used to teach horses tricks, works the same on the bovine species.
“We train using positive reinforcement, rewarding the behaviors I want to see more of using range cubes, cake, as a reward,” said Reimann.
Ghost learned to spin and wear a halter as a young calf and just built from there.
“When she got older, she went to pasture with the rest of the herd. I would go play with her in the pasture and she would, and still does, come running when I call her. Now, so does the whole herd,” said Reimann with a smile.
Reimann and Ghost continued to put in the work until the idea came about to try to earn a spot in the prestigious Guinness Book of World Records.
Little did Megan know, the training of the cow would be the easiest part of the process. The details and checklist of items to accomplish to fulfill the requirements for the United Kingdom based organization would be strenuous.
“The application process and the paperwork involved in the attempt was the hardest part of the whole thing,” said Reimann.
The record attempt request was the first item needing approval, followed by getting the list of tricks approved. Reimann noted there was a two-week wait between asking a question of the organization and receiving an answer.
Once all the legwork was approved and completed, Reimann then readied herself and Ghost for the big day.
Another list of rules were also needing to be followed to make the attempt legitimate. Ghost was not allowed to be touched and a halter was not allowed either. Even her ear tag and bangs tag were not allowed; both were removed prior to the attempt.
A passport was also required, something that all animals have in the UK. Luckily for Reimann, her vet was kind enough to oblige the odd request.
“I’m lucky to have a good vet who didn’t laugh me out of the building when I asked for such weird things,” said Reimann.
Two individuals with timing credentials were required along with two witnesses who had to be upstanding members of the community needed to be present.
More volunteers to record the attempt and also take pictures were necessary and help keep everything lined up.
“My best friend and husband were wonderful. They helped all the way through reading the instructions and telling me all the things I was missing, helping me make sure I didn’t miss all the rules and paperwork,” said Reimann.
“I never would have managed without them,” she added.
It was a cool, spring day in the Panhandle on the day of the attempt, with clouds and sun taking turns in the sky. Of course, a cool breeze was also present for all in attendance.
And when the bright lights turned on Ghost, she shined. The ten approved tricks were performed with the official stopwatches being stopped at 59 seconds, meeting the criteria.
“It was hard to keep Ghost ready and fresh to do her tricks. She was very pregnant at the time and there was no way to force her to do anything she didn’t want to,” said Reimann.
“Once she settled down, she performed perfectly. Once we finished though, she said she was done and wanted to go back to her pasture,” she added.
All the paperwork and documentation was collected and then sent to the UK and the Reimann’s could only wait.
And wait they did.
It took almost three months until this past week, the good news made its way from across the ocean.
Reimann and Ghost had officially done it and the record attempt was approved. The Sheridan County resident and her bovine were now in the Guinness Book of World Records.
“I was excited! I couldn’t believe we had actually managed to do it and not mess up some bit of the paperwork,” said Reimann.
“I knew Ghost was capable of doing the tricks in the prescribed time. Getting them all done at the right time, with all the people and added requirements was the hard part. It was good to see that she was getting the reward she so well deserved,” she added.
Needless to say, one special cow makes it home here in Sheridan County.