Miss Madison Comes to Life at Expo

As you plot a strategy for making the best use of your time at World Dairy Expo (WDE), be sure to leave a few minutes to visit the event’s newest icon—a life-size bovine sculpture known as Miss Madison.

The sculpture, located on the outer northeast corner of New Holland Pavilion 1, was unveiled on the opening day of last year’s 50th anniversary celebration. The idea came from a team of World Dairy Expo staff members, and the project was headed up by Dairy Cattle Show coordinator Laurie Breuch.

“Staff wanted to make a unique gift for everyone who has come to Expo in the past and will be coming in the future,” Breuch says. “The basic idea was to do something similar to the giant globe that the organizers of the very first Expo (called World Food Expo at the time) donated to the grounds back in 1967.”

“We started brainstorming, and the idea of a dairy cow sculpture that would be a composite of all seven breeds shown at Expo each year came up. It seemed to be a natural fit. The focus at Expo has always been on all things related to the dairy cow,” she says.

The staff contacted Quarra Stone Company, a Madison firm with experience creating monuments and other large structures for high-profile events throughout the U.S. “First, we wanted to know if it would be possible to create a substantial structure supported by four legs,” Breuch says.  

“Once we established that, there were all kinds of details to work out. What kind of materials would work? What color should it be? What kind of engineering considerations would come into play?” she says.

The WDE team selected Dakota Mahogany granite as the base material. A South Dakota quarry furnished the granite in a single block measuring 10’x6’x3’ and weighing 47,000 lb. When the cutting was fi nished, the original block had been whittled to 6,900 lb.

The completed sculpture was moved to the Alliant Energy Center in late September. After several rounds of polishing, the sculpture was covered with a tarp to await unveiling. “Very few people knew what was under the cover until the offi cial unveiling,” Breuch says.

The sculpture was an immediate hit. “It was fun walking by during the show,” she relates. “You’d hear people ‘oo-ing’ and ‘ah-ing’ and talking about the sculpture. And you’d see them taking pictures of their friends and family members with Miss Madison.”

“That’s what we were looking for when we started. She represents all the hard work our dairy cattle breeders and the dairy industry have done to improve the dairy cow. Fifty years from now, Expo-goers will have the opportunity to look at her and have an appreciation for that (hard work),” Breuch says. 


Note: This story appears in the 2017 World Dairy Expo program.