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Iowa History Daily: July 29 -

Iowa History Daily: On July 29, 1929, Iowa farmer and artist Norma “Duffy” Lyon, better known as ‘The Butter Cow Lady’ was born. From 1960 until 2006, Lyon crafted a buttery bovine for the Iowa State Fair each year.

After a childhood in Tennessee, Lyon arrived at Iowa State hoping to study Veterinary Sciences, however, but instead studied animal science due to the university not allowing women in the vet sci program at the time. While in Ames she studied sculpture with Christian Petersen.

In 1960, Lyon took over carving the annual creation of the Butter Cow at the Iowa State Fair. Although the tradition dates to the original butter cow creation of J.K. Daniels in 1911, Lyon became well-known to Iowans for her annual work crafting a bovine out of US Grade AA salted butter at the fair for decades.

Eventually Lyons expanded to creating other sculptures out of butter: Garth Brooks, Elvis Presley, John Wayne, the popular Peanuts cartoon gang, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, American Gothic by Grant Wood, and the Last Supper. She even once made a cheese bust of David Letterman. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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