Cow couture: Bessie statue fine as good idea goes bad

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Friday, June 27, 2008
— It started with a simple idea: Dress up Bessie the Cow to mark the grand opening of the cow’s nearest neighbor, the Del Taco restaurant.

Janesville is the first Wisconsin location for the nationwide Del Taco fast-food chain, so the idea was to emphasize the restaurant’s Mexican cuisine, said Vicki Damron of the marketing company Damron Communications.

Damron was hired by BLM Land, the developer of the Menards-anchored complex off Milton Avenue near Interstate 90/39.

BLM owns the fiberglass cow, a longtime Janesville landmark that now stands next to the Del Taco, Damron said.

So, what kind of hat would say “Mexican?”

Damron said in retrospect that it should have been a sombrero.

But Bessie is obviously a female, so Damron thought of a mantilla, a traditional woman’s headpiece that migrated from Spain to Mexico centuries ago.

The mantilla, with its black lace and a spray of red roses, big enough for a 16-foot-tall cow, went up Saturday.

People thought it was a sign of mourning. Others thought it was vandalism, said Tom Lasse, one of the franchise’s co-owners.

Someone even called the police, Damron said.

“I feel very bad about that,” she added.

Actually, great care was taken to fasten the mantilla to Bessie without damaging her, Damron said.

Damron and Lasse freely acknowledged that the mantilla was a mistake, and it’s destined to disappear soon, if it’s not gone already. It always was intended to be temporary, and Damron has been working on future adornments.

Damron said one idea is to dress up Bessie with the colors of the two Janesville high school teams. Of course, they’ll give Craig and Parker equal time.

Last updated: 9:15 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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