North Texas Daily

Revisiting “Hump Day” helpers

Revisiting “Hump Day” helpers

Revisiting “Hump Day” helpers
January 28
09:26 2014

Olivia Sylvain // Staff Writer

Although their camels stole the show, it was Lorne and Patsy McMillian who made the “UNT hump day” buzz possible on the first Wednesday of the spring semester.

The McMillans started raising and breeding exotic animals in 1986 because of Patsy’s love and appreciation for animals, and in 2001, started Hiview Farms in Waxahachie to continue. The University Program Council and Syndicate services contacted them to bring the camels to UNT.

“We go to an exotic animal sale in Missouri every year,” Patsy said. “They sell everything from giraffes to bears. We knew a man who sold zebras so we started with those.”

A typical day at Hiview Farms begins at 4:30 a.m. when the McMillans start caring for the animals. They do everything from feeding and grooming to making sure the animals get proper exercise.

The McMillans own 25 acres of land and care for 100 animals, including camels, mini horses, pot-bellied pigs and zebras. In the early 90s, they were well known for their pot-bellied pigs, which won several competitions. Pot-bellied pigs are worth $5,000-$10,000 and are often bought and sold at exotic animal shows, Lorne said.

The camels, however, are prized possessions. There are 26 at Hiview Farms – a new camel was born not long after the visit to UNT – and they are frequently requested for special events.

“We’re booked during December all the way up until Christmas,” Patsy said. “People love to use the camels for nativities.”

The McMillans travel all over the country to have their camels featured at holiday events, nightclubs and conventions. The camels can be rented by the hour and can cost $2,000 to $15,000 depending on the distance the McMillans have to travel and the amount of help they need to supervise the animals. Because camels are herding animals, the McMillans always take them to events in pairs.

“We never take one camel by itself,” Lorne said, “They live in herds so they really don’t behave well by themselves.”

When a student from UPC Syndicate Services presented the idea of “hump day,” it seemed like a good way to promote the organization and get students talking. Marketing senior Adrian Pena said the lack of space once provided by the Union constrains UPC and the Syndicate..

“We try to get really creative because we don’t have a designated area to work with right now,” Pena said.

When the word about the camels spread throughout campus, students turned to Twitter and Facebook to share their thoughts and pictures. The hashtag “#UNThumpday” was popular among students and news about the event was even shared on NBC DFW’s twitter page.

“There was an extremely long line just to take pictures,” RTVF junior Andrea Whitlock said, “It was a great way to entertain people, but it wasn’t really my thing.”

Although there was a ‘no touching’ policy at UNT, the McMillans sometimes allow people to touch the animals if there aren’t large crowds or children in attendance. Camels are usually gentle, but male camels can present serious dangers when they become aggressive during breeding season, known as rut.

“We make sure no one goes near the males when they are in rut,” Patsy said. “They can be very unpredictable so Lorne keeps them away from the other animals.”

The McMillans care for the animals on their own and don’t hire any outside help unless they have to travel a long distance for an event. They hope to purchase more land in the future to start breeding more exotic animals.

Feature photo: Camels Farrah and Samantha stand in the library mall on Jan. 15 on the first “hump day” of the semester. Photo by Dana Pisciottano / Intern Photographer 

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