No surprise! Calf Scramble Posse puts in another successful season of ‘Hard Luck’

Tom Kennedy

The undaunted HPD Calf Scramble Posse – as it has for the past 75 years – once again got its man and TWO young ladies at the latest edition of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.

Posse members worked hard, had fun and delighted in determining this year’s “hard luck” honoree, Maddison Kreger, from right here in Houston. The Posse provided Ms. Kreger with the so-called “hard luck calf” at this year’s show.

HPOU 1st Vice President Doug Griffith, loved telling the story to the Badge & Gun.

“Nearing the end of the rodeo,” Griffith said. “officers noticed a young lady who had been very determined to catch a calf.  During the March 15 show, this young lady was drug around the three acres of dirt for approximately three minutes before another kid running for a different calf knocked this girl from her calf.

“She landed face first in the dirt and came up running trying to re-catch the calf, but was unsuccessful.  This young lady was broken-hearted, and it showed.  The officers of the Calf Scramble Posse could not allow this young lady to go home empty-handed.

“It did not take much convincing to get these officers to pony up their own money to get this young lady a Calf Scramble Scholarship.”

Besides Maddison Kreger there were two other top-notch calf scramblers, both of whom captured a calf sponsored by the HPOU.

On March 9, Melony Alvarez of Forney and Jacob Lindeman of Windthorst were two of the hard luck scramblers who caught calves that night.  Griffith said, “Little did they know it was the Houston Police Officers Union who provided the funds for those scholarships. These kids were super excited about being sponsored by the officers of Houston.”

The Scramble Posse also again held a raffle to sponsor a calf of their own but fell short of collecting enough to cover a full calf.  After much discussion, the officer decided to support a young man from Booker T. Washington High School.  Officers pitched in $1,000 to an account to help this young man with feed and other items that he would need to help with his FFA project.

Griffith was thrilled with this year’s success, saying, “Once again the Houston Police Department was well-represented at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.  Twenty days of rodeo went off without a single hitch this year giving Houston something to be proud of.  From Garth Brooks to Chris Stapelton, the rodeo put on a great show from beginning to end.

“And again, this year, the Calf Scramble was one of the favorites.  With over 600 kids a year fighting for a chance to catch a calf, only 320 have the ability to obtain that very important scholarship.

“For many of these kids, the ability to raise their own calf can be their only hope for a college education.  For others, it is just a fun project for their high school years.

“I cannot say enough about the officers who work every day to change the lives of kids across the state.  I am honored to be a part of the Calf Scramble Posse.”
The 10-member group always gets its teenaged protégés steering their calves in the right direction, going so far as to urge them to grab the calf by the tail if they need to before putting the halter over the animal’s head.

“We take the time to engage each and every kid on a personal level and speak with them throughout the evening,” posse member Doug Griffith explained.

“Each officer gets a natural feel for certain kids. There are certain things that will draw you to the kids.”

The idea of the Posse was brought forth 75 years ago by a then-HPD Sgt. Reno Kirby, who worked “the Rice corner” at Main and Texas at the site of the Rice Hotel. Kirby loved kids and felt Houston police officers could be a positive influence on teenagers through dedicated participation as Calf Scramble mentors.

And so the tradition continues!