RENO, Nev. – The “Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West” is churning up something extra special – the state’s first butter cow sculpture, carved by renowned artist Sarah Pratt, will be on display in the Double R Marketplace at the Reno Rodeo from June 15–24, 2023.
The history of butter cows traces back over a century — the first buttery bovine made an appearance in 1903 at the Ohio State Fair. In 1911, J.K. Daniels sculpted the Iowa State Fair’s first butter cow and was succeeded by a select roster of famed sculptors, including Norma “Duffy” Lyon, also known as the “Butter Cow Lady.” Duffy crafted the illustrious butter cow at the Iowa State Fair for 46 years until her retirement in 2006 when she passed the reins to her long-time apprentice, Sarah Pratt. A Des Moines native, Pratt deftly chisels pure-cream Iowa butter into uncanny sculptures, including replicas of Superman, wild bison, the Apollo 11 mission, and of course, the beloved butter cow.
Pratt is bringing her moo-ving artistry to the Silver State for the 2023 Reno Rodeo where she will sculpt a butter cow to be admired by thousands of visitors. Her creamy creation pays homage to farmers and producers across the nation, including Nevada’s 20+ dairy farms.
The unorthodox medium calls for special considerations — Pratt will apply over 600 pounds of low-moisture butter to a wood, metal, wire and steel mesh frame. Butter’s propensity to melt makes it ideal for drizzling over popcorn at the fairgrounds — but not so ideal for sculpting. To keep the butter cow from withering under the Nevada sun, Pratt will carve the sculpture in a 40-degree refrigerated room over the course of several days to transform the salty, creamy goodness into a bonafide bovine.
Visitors can head to the fairgrounds at the Reno Livestock Events Center to gaze upon the glory of the butter cow in its refrigerated display case. Access to the grounds is $10 per person or included with a Reno Rodeo ticket. Plus, enjoy a thrilling selection of carnival rides, western-themed shopping at the Double R Marketplace and a mouthwatering array of concessions at the food court before the main evening performance.
The completed sculpture will be available for viewing in the Double R Marketplace at the Reno Rodeo from June 15–24, 2023.
For more information about the butter cow and other events and attractions at the Reno Rodeo, visit RenoRodeo.com.