Centered on “The Music Man” butter sculpture taking life earlier than her, Sarah Pratt of West Des Moines labored with a quiet confidence, including delicate butter to the statue’s face earlier than sculpting the construction and particulars.

The roughly 1,200 kilos of butter that go into creating the butter cow and its companion butter sculptures annually are extra than simply butter to Pratt. 

The Iowa State Honest butter sculptor has been utilizing the identical shortening for 17 years, she defined, as a result of older oleo is extra pliable and straightforward to sculpt. However there’s additionally sentimentality behind the aged butter.

The 2022 butter cow sits in its cooler in the John Deere Agriculture Building at the Iowa State Fair.

Pratt’s predecessor, Norma “Duffy” Lyon, initially used this butter for sculpting, and now Pratt watches as her twin daughters, 18-year-olds Hannah and Grace Pratt, use the identical butter so as to add particulars to their mom’s sculptures.

“I simply love the concept of all the fingers which have touched and molded this butter,” Pratt mentioned. “My household, but additionally Norma. The 12 months we bought all the brand new butter was her final 12 months earlier than she retired. So this butter has been touched and molded into a number of issues by lots of people. So there’s historical past and reminiscence in that butter.”

From a teenage apprenticeship to a household custom

Pratt, a local of rural Toledo, Iowa, lived on the town, however was at all times intrigued by farm life, she mentioned. When her buddy received the prospect to point out a dairy cow on the 1990 Iowa State Honest, Pratt, then 13, provided to assist prep the animal in trade for an opportunity to hang around within the barn.