Horn again: Workers reattach part of Bessie the Cow statue
JANESVILLE — A city icon was restored to her former glory Thursday.
Bessie the Cow stands 16 feet tall on the north side of town near the Arby's parking lot, but she had been looking a bit out of sorts since her horns were reported missing in late May.
Al Utzig, owner of Utzig CARSTAR Collision Service, said because he'd do “anything” to keep Bessie looking her best, he accepted the challenge of reattaching her horns.
The bolts affixing the horns to the 46-year-old statue were nearly rusted through. Although it's still unclear how the horns were removed, they later were anonymously turned in to police.
The unauthorized removal of the horns followed the theft of Bessie's milk bucket and stool.
Police have no suspects and closed their investigation May 30.
Repairs Thursday took only about an hour, but ahead of the repair date Utzig spent time researching the cow's construction and consulting with Sculptured Advertising, the Sparta business that built the massive cow.
The project took Utzig and his team out of their element. Although the collision center routinely paints and repairs fiberglass on cars in the shop, fixing Bessie required a bucket truck supplied by Janesville's LP Tree Service.
Utzig and LP Tree Service did the repairs free of charge.
Utzig said working on the city's decades-old icon was nerve-wracking, but everything went as planned.
“I've been in the repair business all my life, and some things don't always go perfectly … I had serious concerns,” he said.
After Utzig gave the cow a fresh coat of paint at his garage in 2007, he said he's received requests to work on similar projects.
But he's only interested in working with Bessie.
“I would be a fool not to be involved in keeping her restored,” he said. “Ever since she was placed here, it's been a landmark for the community.”