Source: Sherman Publications

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Local cattle get their 15 minutes

by CJ Carnacchio

June 15, 2011

Oxford resident Dave Parks (right), owner of Parks Show Cattle, and his farm manager Jon Dahlke, of Leonard, pose with the two Maine-Anjou cattle that were recently filmed as part of an episode of the HBO series "Hung." Photo by C.J. Carnacchio.
The film and television industry is so popular in the state of Michigan these days that you don't even have to be human to snag 15 minutes of fame.

Just ask Dave Parks' cattle. Actually, they can't speak, so it's better to ask Parks.

Last week, two of his cattle were used to film an episode of "Hung," an HBO television series about a suburban Detroit high school teacher whose financial woes lead him to become a male prostitute. The cattle episode, part of which was shot on a 5-acre hobby farm in Dryden, will be included with the show's third season, which has yet to air.

Parks and his wife, Katrina, own and operate a 10-acre farm at 3200 Bayliss Drive in Oxford Township, plus another 75 acres in Metamora. Their business is called Parks Show Cattle (www.parksshowcattle.com).

"They must have seen our website," Parks said. "I don't know how else they would have got my name or number, being from California. We're in horse country, so there's not a lot of cattle farms around."

Two of Parks' Maine-Anjou cattle will be featured in this episode of "Hung," which involves them being stolen to satisfy a debt.

There were approximately 20 other wild cattle used as background in the scene, but Parks believes his were prominently featured as the stolen ones because they're so tame.

"They couldn't have any wild cattle because in the scene, the actor and actress basically throw a rope around them, then lead them out to a trailer to haul them off," he explained.

"Ours were old, retired show heifers," Parks noted. "It's nothing for someone to walk up to them, throw a rope around their head and walk them around like a dog."

Parks and his wife have been in the show cattle business since 2006. They breed and show Maine-Anjou and crossbred cattle.

They have a cutting-edge genetics program in which they develop and breed cattle that are phenotypically correct, predictable, functional and marketable for the show ring or production.

In addition to showing and breeding, Parks Show Cattle sells all-natural beef no artificial hormones that's been fed grass and hay, and raised in a stress-free environment.