MILFORD, NE --- For three months, Nebraska's cattle industry robber barons had been able to keep a lid on their smelly secret. And if it hadn't been for one of TV's top rating reality shows, no one except the residents of Seward County would have known about the 2,000-ton mound of burning cow manure.
Catheryne Wong, a producer for NBC's reality show Fear Factor explained, the contestants were supposed to race across the burning cow-manure wearing snow shoes and volcano suits and recover three flags.
But the owner of the three-acre lagoon of blazing excrement will have nothing to do with it.
"I don't appreciate being made fun of in that way," Richard Davidson said. "I got enough problems as it is. That damn government agency is trying to bust my chops. I got neighbors calling me on the phone and putting crap-bombs on my door every day for the last two months. The local paper is writing editorials about the you-know-what hitting the fan. No, I'm not gonna put that on TV, you know."
But Wong said, making fun of Davidson's flaming three-acre manure lagoon was the farthest thing from her mind.
"Fear Factor is about good, clean fun," she explained. "We were prepared to offer Mr. Davidson a generous contract. As the subsidiary of a major television network, we certainly would not engage in any dirty dealings."
Davidson, however, smells a rat. For the last three months, he has been on the receiving end of every childish joke imaginable, and he is not sure that a show like Fear Factor can deal with his delicate problem with the sort of sensitivity he would like to see.
While the Milford City Council is happy with Davidson's reluctance, residents of the small Nebraska town are incensed over what they feel is obstinacy on his part.
"Dick Davidson's being a pansy over his pile of flaming cow pies really take the take," one resident said. "For three months, all we've been smelling is burning cow crap. People are getting sick. EPA agents are buzzing around all over town. They can't put it out with out with water, and there's not enough foam in the world to put out a three-acre manure lagoon. You know, that money he could have gotten from that show? He could have used that to pay someone to figure out a way to do something about it."
Meanwhile, black columns of smoke continue to billow from the 2,000-ton mound of refuse, while property values in Seward County plummet and Fear Factor producers look for other contestant challenges.