A herd of goats occupied Airport Manager Shelley Humble’s office last week, after the airport staff was greeted by six Nigerian dwarfs on the airport runway. PHOTO PROVIDED/SHELLEY HUMBLE
It was business as usual last Wednesday afternoon for Viper Aviation Mechanic Darrin Humble.
That is, until it wasn’t.
Maybe the goats were curious about getting their pilot licenses.
Maybe they heard a rumor that goats fly free.
Or maybe they just wanted directions to the new Tractor Supply Co.
Whatever the case, about 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 1, Humble spotted a herd of six goats sauntering along the Creswell Hobby Field Airport runway.
Bewildered by the sight, he called on his wife and Airport Manager Shelley Humble.
”We’ve got a problem,” he yelled into his wife’s office.
”We’ve got a GOAT problem.”
And so began an adventurous afternoon for the Airport crew.
Goat, Spot, Flower, Gimli, Madrick, Comet and Bambi are the curious Nigerian dwarfs of Hoagland Lane.
They’ve been seen with their little snouts protruding out of the car window at the Dairy Queen drive-thru, soaking up sun at the beaches in Florence and sophisticating themselves at the Springfield Art Walk.
Goat, 3, is the ringleader and mom to six kids – a herd of 1-year-olds and 8-month-olds.
Goat’s a bonafide escape artist, capable of maneuvers that would put Harry Houdini to shame.
The herd’s owner, Karen, thought if she got Goat a boyfriend, she’d no longer feel the need to mosey.
But several babies later, Goat is still full of wanderlust, and is inspiring her babies to follow in her hoofsteps. That afternoon, Goat managed to wiggle her way out of her pen and her furry little minions followed.
Cue the theme song for the movie ”Homeward Bound.” Off to Hobby Field they ventured.
City Administrator Michelle Amberg was meeting with Shelley in her office, and just so happened to be present when the excitement began to unfold.
Looking out the office door, goats were seen meandering along the airport field line, unphased by the loud machinery around them.
”Ahh, life in a rural town,” Amberg said. Nothing quite like it. Humble can recall other airport visitors of the past, including sheep, a young bull and some huskies – though goats were a first.
What do you do with a herd of goats on an airport runway?
After the laughs died down, Airport and City staff scrambled around to corral the herd goats off the runway and into a safe space. An airport user came to the rescue with a rope, which staff used to tie onto Goat’s orange collar and lead her into Humble’s office.
Once Goat was taken inside, the rest of the herd followed her into the office with relative ease.
The herd was a friendly, tame bunch and enjoyed hopping up on the furniture and exploring the flavors of office life.
Humble offered the herd some cat food on behalf of Tigger, the office cat, but the herd turned their noses up to it; they were more interested in fine office dining.
The first casualty of goat nibbling were dried flowers in a vase in Humble’s office.
Paperwork was the next on the menu, which is simply delicious – especially if it is important.
They were just cute as the Dickens, but after about 45 minutes in the office it was time to relocate the herd to a space more conducive to grazing.
With the owner unknown at the time, Humble planned to take the goats to a pasture on Dillard Road to graze until the owners were tracked down. The airport crew led the goats into the back of Humble’s vehicle and they hit the open road.
After Karen noticed Goat and her gang were missing, she set off to locate her rogue pets.
They’ve been known to visit BETST LLC on Melton Road in the past, though she’s not sure why because there’s not much grazing to be had there.
The first goat to be reunited with Karen was Bambi, who was scooped up by a neighbor a short time after he got disconnected from the herd.
Karen collected Bambi and continued down the road, when no sooner did she see Humble coming down the street in a Volvo – a Volvo stuffed with goats.
And so the mystery of the runway goats came to a close about 3:30 p.m. They passed by each other, in hysterics as they saw one another’s adorable cargo through the windows.
The exchanged more laughs and transferred the goats from Humble’s vehicle to Karen’s. They went back home, unbeknownst to all the chaos they’ve caused and the entertainment they’ve supplied for what would’ve been a typical Wednesday afternoon.
When she got back to her office, Humble finally got to use the ”a goat ate my homework” excuse.
And it worked.