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Teenage cowboy who helped herd cattle out of burning semi truck honored with special ceremony at Sheriff’s Office


A 16-year-old cowboy was honored in a special ceremony at his local Sheriff’s office this week after lending a hand to a livestock hauler that caught fire. 

16-year-old Austin Spies was on his way home to Elmore County, Idaho after a rodeo back in July when he saw a semi truck and livestock trailer on fire. 

“It was about 3:00 when I was coming through Hammett and saw the fire,” he said to Fox. “I was three or four miles back and I could see the smoke flying, and I was going to get off at the first exit and miss it all, but I decided to go see what was happening. The whole front of the trailer was on fire and cows were on the interstate. I had a horse and didn’t have anywhere to be so I may as well help.”

There were still cattle in the trailer when Austin pulled up, so he and his horse hustled to get the cows unloaded before herding them off the highway. 

“I think there were thirty-five of them on the truck, and twelve on the freeway and the rest ran back down the highway,” Austin said. “So, I jumped out in a halter and bareback and rode Dewalt across the bridge. I ended up tying him up and helping jump cows out the back of the trailer, so nothing was getting burnt too bad. Once everything was out and the driver was safe, I jumped back on and went and got cows off the freeway and tried to gather the rest of them that were spread across Hammett.” 

After hearing about Austin’s quick thinking and help, Elmore County Sheriff Mike Hollinshead decided to honor the young man in a special ceremony and presented him with a certificate, lots of gratitude, and even made him a “special deputy” for Elmore County. The Sheriff even invited Austin to come back and join his team when he was old enough. 

“It’s our opinion the world certainly needs more Austin Spies,” Hollinshead said. 

While proud, Austin’s mom says she is not surprised by her son’s good deed. “Just because that’s the kind of kid he is,” Blakie Spies said. “He always had a rope in his hand. Always, and still does. I was very pleased that they honored him. He deserves it. Very much.” 

“It was unneeded, I would have done it for free any day,” Austin said of the ceremony. “But it’s an honor to help and to have that opportunity.”


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