I snagged this interview some years ago when I was in college and fulfilling a journalism requirement. Here's the 411:
How Now Brown Cow?
The biggest celebrity at recent fairs in
Elsie the Cow, Borden’s 850-pound public relations mascot, had her own booth at the Central Florida Fair and the Winn Dixie Festival of Foods, both held last March in
At the Festival of Foods, people stopped when they saw her. Some argued whether she was real or not, and others said they didn’t know cows had horns.
“A lot of kids like to touch her,” Lewis Rayburn, Elsie’s handler, said. “Lots of old-timers who’ve all milked cows like to see her.”
They needn’t worry.
“She lives a penthouse life,” Rayburn said.
Elsie is bathed and soaped down everyday, according to Rayburn. Her hooves are painted with black shoe polish and her horns sanded and painted with clear lacquer. She wears a golden chain around her horns, travels in an air-conditioned trailer, and takes about two month off each year.
Her home is in
But don’t get the idea that Elsie is a cow of leisure. According to Rayburn, Elsie makes more than 300 appearances a year—visiting hospitals, walking in parades, and appearing at fairs and festivals.
There’s only one thing Rayburn doesn’t really enjoy about working with Elsie.
“I usually catch it with a bucket or a shovel,” he said.
“Then I spray Lysol.”