Whether you have attended the Iowa State Fair or not, you have probably heard of the infamous butter cow.

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This buttery tradition started back in 1911 when J.K. Daniels sculpted the first cow. Daniels was succeeded by J.E. Wallace and then Earl Frank Dutt before Norma “Duffy” Lyon of Toledo took the reins in 1960 as the first female butter cow sculptor. Duffy was succeeded by Sarah Pratt in 2006.

On Wednesday, to honor Duffy’s 46 years of sculpting the cow, a bronze cow statue was placed at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

According to the Blue Ribbon Foundation, Duffy also created a fiberglass cow-calf sculpture in 1991 which could be seen on display in Toledo. Sadly, the 2020 derecho damaged this piece.

As a way to honor Duffy’s work, an Iowa State University alumna decided to recreate the fiberglass sculpture for the university’s campus.

The new statue is made of bronze so that this time, it can withstand weather- so future generations can enjoy Duffy’s work. Two additional sculptures were created as well- one to replace the damaged statue in Toledo, the other for the state fair.

The project was funded by BJ Baker an Iowa State Fair enthusiast, who donated $50,000,

So when you visit the Iowa State Fair this year, be sure to head over to the Agriculture Building to see the newly placed, bronze sculpture titled “Duffy’s Cow & Calf”.

Today, Sarah Pratt of West Des Moines is the current butter sculpturer. She took over the tradition in 2006 after apprenticing with Duffy for 15 years.

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