Wednesday was a beautiful day at the Lake County Farm Bureau and its newest and greatest attraction was naturally the center of attention.
The 14-foot beauty of a bovine’s name was revealed.
The bureau’s executive director, Greg Koeppen, first announced the runner-up.
“In third place, it was Milkshake, and in second place, it was Elsie,” he said.
It was Koeppen who conceived of the idea of commissioning the public art in front of the bureau’s headquarters in Grayslake after seeing a similar one in Wisconsin’s Door County some 20 years ago as a nod to German immigrants who brought the Holsteins over in the 1800s.
Like many places, there aren’t nearly as many dairy farms in Lake County these days.
Koeppen and the bureau board agreed that a cow sculpture would be the perfect way to draw attention to the county’s history and teach kids about the cows and farmers of yesteryear.
Several months later, the masterpiece of Americana was completed. It was 14 feet high and 23 feet long and weighed 1,000 pounds. She can be seen at the Lake County Farm Bureau office at 70 US Hwy 45 in Grayslake.
After being trucked in and put in place, the public was asked to weigh in as part of a naming contest.
“It’s been overwhelming,” he said. “We knew it was going to make a big impact because she’s such a big girl, but we had no clue. We had over 1,000 submissions over the past month and it’s blown us away. It just shows you how important agriculture is and how people want to be connected to it.”
So the biggest, baddest, most beautiful bovine in this neck of the woods will forever and always be known as Gracie Bell.
“Gracie Bell is our new bovine here. She’s a beautiful cow,” Koeppen said. “We wanted to give her a nice big man and make it part of this community.”
Watch the reveal on WGN’s Midday News in the video player below: