Lee Pitts: Famous Cows
February 25, 2015
When I grow up I want to be curator of the Cow Hall of Fame. The only problem is I don't think there is one. There's a Hall of Fame for roadkill, roller derby, croquet, fish, bowling, robots, polka, hot dogs, candy, mascots, dogs, even insurance, for gosh sakes. Yet no Hall of Fame for cows! Sure, there's fantastic Hall of Fame for cowboys but there'd be no cowboys if there were no cows. So where is the cow's Hall?
This is a pet project of mine I've thought about for years. It's not right that for most Americans their only interaction with a bovine is when they eat a Whopper. A Cow Hall of Fame would change that. And when I say Cow Hall of Fame it's just because it sounds catchier than Bovine Hall of Fame. My Hall would be for all cattle regardless of sex. Heck, I'll even take Holsteins.
I'm thinking lots of hides on the wall, a gift shop that sells cow mugs and plenty of interactive displays that sing the praises of the common cow. Or uncommon, in this case. There'd be an exhibit of things found in cow stomachs, weird cattle tools like burdizzos, and one on the evolution of the squeeze chute. (I'd donate mine as the oldest known.) I'd include a petting zoo of the American breeds and a display of all the things that come from a cow, from oleo to prophylactics. There'd be photos of the 800 breeds of cattle in the world, a live Longhorn with huge horns and a team of oxen pulling tourists around the grounds in a Conestoga wagon. For humor there'd be great cow cartoons from Ace Reid, Jerry Palen, Mad Jack, Earl, Rubes and the Far Side.
For the kids there'd be a collection of cow mascots including Benny, the mascot for the Chicago Bulls, and Bevo of Texas Longhorn fame. Oil paintings would line the walls, only instead of people like you see at the Saddle and Sirloin Club, these paintings would be of cows. There'd be a section for make-believe cows like Ferdinand the Bull, the Cow that Jumped Over the Moon, the Wall Street Bull, the Laughing Cow found on cheese, Babe the Blue Ox, Clarabell (Minnie Mouse's best friend) and Elsie, the Jersey spokescow for Borden whose real name was You'll Do Lobelia. By the way, I met Elsie one time, or at least a cow pretending to be Elsie. But the experience left me cold. If you've seen one Jersey you've seen them all.
My first class of Hall of Fame cows would include Mrs. O'Leary's cow who DID NOT start the Chicago fire as we've been led to believe. (That idea was popularized in a movie.) Daisy the Limousin who gave birth to live quadruplets would be in the Hall as would Little Witch who holds the world's record for fastest time in the mile in the World Wide Cow Racing Association's Udder Race. (A race for guys who get a kick out of big swinging udders.)
There would be cow royalty including Maudine Ormsby, a cow elected Homecoming Queen of Ohio State in 1926, and Pauline, the last cow to live at the White House. Ella Farm Ollie, the first cow to fly in an airplane would be hanging from the ceiling and we'd have five copies of Amy, the first cloned cow. There'd be a counterfeit painting of the "Angus" steer that won Denver who turned out to be a Charolais when the dye faded. I think one of the most popular features would be Holsteins with interesting color patterns including "Hi" Cow, so named because that's what it says in black and white on one side of her hide.
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Our Hollywood section would feature Norman the steer who starred in City Slickers.
The only problem I see in getting my idea off the ground is where the Hall should be located. When the Cowboy Hall of Fame was built the contest boiled down to Colorado Springs, Dodge City and Oklahoma City, and some sore losers complained that Oklahoma oil millionaires paid a ransom to hijack the Hall. I see nothing wrong with that. In fact, I'm willing to sell my Cow Hall of Fame concept to the city who will pay me the most cash. Let the auction begin.