Iowa State University's College of Agriculture & Life Sciences has commissioned the Iowa State Fair's butter cow sculptor, Sarah Pratt, to create a life-size butter Cy to celebrate the university's 100th Homecoming "CYtennial," which is set for Oct. 22 to 27 on the ISU campus at Ames.
Pratt, who sculpts the famed butter cow each year at the Iowa State Fair, will be sculpting Cy in Kildee Hall on the Iowa State campus. It will take approximately 300 pounds of butter to create the butter Cy.
Viewing will take place by the public in Kildee Hall through a window that lets people see into an ISU Meat Laboratory cooler. Sculpting hours are October 22-26, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The viewing window will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and October 27 from 7:30 a.m. until kickoff time for the homecoming football game. "It will be neat to have people walking by and watching the process as I sculpt," says Pratt.
Public will be able to view the Cy butter sculpting daily from October 22-27
The ISU Dairy Science Club and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences ambassadors will be present from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day greeting guests, selling homemade ice cream and handing out "I saw Butter Cy" stickers.
The Midwest Dairy Association is sponsoring the butter Cy with a donation of butter and funds to market the project. After homecoming, Cy will be melted down and stored for future use in other butter sculptures at the Iowa State Fair.
ISU College of Ag alumna Norma "Duffy" Lyon, the previous Iowa State Fair butter sculptor, died in 2011. She served as the "butter cow lady" for 46 years. Pratt, a West Des Moines native, took over in 2006 after apprenticing under Lyon's tutelage for 15 years. Pratt has since sculpted Harry Potter, Shawn Johnson and, most recently, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the Agriculture Building at the 2012 State Fair.
This year is the 100th anniversary of "Homecoming at Iowa State University"
In 1912, Professor S.W. Beyer called out to alumni, encouraging them to return to Ames for the Iowa State College vs. University of Iowa football game for Iowa State's first "homecoming" celebration. Homecoming has since become a cherished ISU tradition – a time of reunion and celebration. Learn more about "CYtennial" activities online.
Pratt, who is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, says she became involved in butter sculpting as a teenager while participating in 4-H at the Iowa State Fair. Pratt was good friends with the great-niece of Duffy Lyon, and began helping Lyon clean her butter sculpting tools. Pratt's work turned into the long-time apprenticeship with Lyon.
Duffy Lyon and husband Joe Lyon raised their family on their dairy farm at Toledo, Iowa, which is still operated by the family today. She served as the state fair's "Butter Cow Lady" for 46 years until Pratt took over in 2006 when Duffy Lyon retired. In addition to the sculpture of Cy at this year's ISU homecoming, ISU will be honoring Lyon's work with a biography of her life. Lyon, a mother of nine children, first became interested in sculpting when she was an undergrad at Iowa State in the 1940s and took classes with legendary sculptor Christian Petersen. She sculpted her very first butter cow at the Iowa State Fair in 1959 when she was pregnant with her seventh child.