How Now Vertical Blue Cow
The big Texas Longhorn billboard on I-70 at mile marker #200 has been flat on her face, but not any more. Ranch hands at Dickinson Cattle Co. Inc. (DCCI) have vertically launched the larger-than-life cow-shaped billboard up to it's historic prominence for thousands of travelers to view as they speed across Ohio.
In 1994 DCCI purchased the Belmont County reclaimed mine land for a Texas Longhorn cattle ranch. The existing sign, standing near the center of the northern part of the ranch, was owned by the Barnesville Antique Mall. A deal was struck, the sign was purchased, and with a few special design touches an abstract Texas Longhorn cow shape became the new look. A cow head shape with over ten foot wide horns and a twelve foot long tail was pendulously attached to become the hinder-most appendage.
From the very first raise it became a landmark of unique interest. Joel Dickinson, who formed the original components says, "Kids love it. We receive reports that kids who frequently travel I-70 with their parents watch for the cow to see who spots it first. It gives them a landmark clue to determine -- are we there yet?"
As simple as the original concept was, complications have been numerous. Over the past 18 years it has required repainting first to fire engine red, next to purple, then two different shades of blue over the last 10 years. It is located on a hill top which receives the most wind-blasts of the entire area. New braces have been added, but the tail has been the biggest problem.
The first tail had a large beaver-type lower switch. As it swished back and forth it started to bang the paint off the nearby sign letters. Finally the whole thing just broke off. The ranch received calls every hour from travelers who noticed the absence of this special rear part. Children called on cell phones. Long-haul truckers called, each thinking they were first to notice. It had to be quickly repaired to stop the calls. One alternate design had an ill-fated large steel hinge, once a heavy duty rubber hinge and finally a steel brace to keep it stable, eliminating any movement.
The major disaster came a few months ago when a high velocity wind snapped down trees in the area and the blue cow went flat to the ground. Nine huge electric poles were holding it perpendicular, and all cracked at once. It smacked to the earth, face down, in pieces.
Today the finishing touches are being completed on the blue cow. New beams, new braces and all the broken boards are replaced.
During the summer DCCI Texas Longhorn cows seem to enjoy the big blue cow. As motorists view the sign, real cows seem to hang out all around the fake cow. It is the popular meeting place in the whole pasture. Joel believes the hill top location provides the maximum summer breeze and the sign makes a cool shade for the calves. There, now you have all the ingredients for a modern Texas Longhorn cattle Feng Shui power position.
Caption: Dickinson Cattle Co. Inc. near Barnesville, Ohio, has just restored the I-70 mile marker #200 blue cow billboard that was snapped down by a storm a few months ago. The huge sign that has graced the Texas Longhorn pasture for 18 years is now up again for travelers to enjoy. Ranch owners report that phones rang daily with concerns about the downer "blue cow."