By DOUG GRAVES
RICHMOND, Ind. — Brian Banks, 42, never knew what hit him – but when he crambled for safety and was able to get to his feet with the help of others, he realized he was ambushed by a 2,200-pound Simmental Angus cross bull.
Banks, a full-time farmer in the Richmond area, was working as a cattle handler during a sale on April 11 at the Gerber Land & Cattle Sale facility at 5324 State Road 227 South in Richmond. Things were proceeding smoothly, but then he stepped out from behind a protective gate.
That’s when the bull charged, hitting him several times and hurling him into the air. Banks refused medical treatment at first, but was later taken to Reid Memorial Hospital in Richmond, where it was discovered he had a badly dislocated shoulder.
“It was an ugly scene to watch, it really was,” said sales proprietor Doug Gerber. “When a 2,200-pound bull hits you with his head and you’re backed into a corner, it can really hurt. Just about anyone who has ever handled cattle has been knocked down by a cow that’s had a newborn calf. You don’t know how they’ll react.”
Banks, who declined to be interviewed for this account, was dazed by the incident but able to walk away from the scene without a life-threatening injury. Dr. Tyler Fredenburg, a radiologist at Reid Memorial Hospital, was attending the sale and witnessed the incident. He summoned an ambulance for Banks.
“One has to appreciate a sales environment,” Gerber said. “We run animals in a ring one at a time. They’re away from other cattle and cattle like to be with other cattle of their kind.
“But when you separate them, then add an auctioneer with loudspeakers, they find themselves enclosed in a 16-foot square area with bright lights, they express themselves with a predisposed response right then and there. Some cattle are explosive when you put them under pressure, and this bull became aggressive.”
Gerber’s wife died a few years ago. Both he and Banks think she may have been the guardian angel watching over Banks that day, preventing him from being seriously hurt.
“I feel awful for Brian, because as a farmer this is a bad time to get hurt,” Gerber said. “In fact, no time is good to get hurt.”
According to him, Banks’ neighbors have stepped up the help with his spring planting.