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Butter Cows, Butter Tractor, Butter BiCentennial: Iowa Sculptor Does It All

An Iowa artist is busy this summer creating special sculptures for the Iowa and Illinois state fairs.

Michelle O'Neill reports Sarah Pratt has been sculpting the butter cow for the Iowa State Fair since 2006.

Credit submitted / Sarah Pratt
Sarah Pratt
Sarah Pratt and Norma "Duffy" Lyon sculpt "American Gothic" for the 1996 Iowa State Fair.

Sarah Pratt says 2018 is the 100th anniversary of Deere and Company's Waterloo Boy tractor. And the Iowa State Fair asked Pratt to recreate it in butter. As a 14-year-old in 4-H, she learned how to sculpt from Norma "Duffy" Lyon," Iowa's "butter cow lady." Pratt took over in 2006 when Lyon retired.

The Illinois State Fair asked Pratt to create something unique for the state's bicentennial. But she can't reveal what it is before the unveiling at the fairgrounds in Springfield.

Butter sculpting is a family affair at the Pratt household. Her dad, brother, and husband help her by welding frames together.

Credit Michelle O'Neill / WVIK News
Deere & Co. display floor (Moline, IL) with Waterloo Boy tractor at the bottom and other tractors (file)

The Iowa State Fair worked with Deere and Company which sent Pratt photographs of the 1918 Waterloo Boy. She also visited the John Deere Tractor and Engine Museum in Waterloo to study one of the iconic tractors.

At the Iowa State Fair beginning August 9th, Pratt will answer questions and put the finishing touches on her butter sculptures.

But she'll complete her works of art for the Illinois State Fair before opening day, also August 9th.

Officially, Michelle's title for 28 years was WVIK News Editor. She did everything there is to do in the newsroom and whatever was needed around the radio station. She also served as Acting News Director from September 2023 - January 2024.
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