Buffy the Cow finds new home

Published 7:26 am Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Buffy the Cow moved to her new home at the Mower County Fairgrounds Friday.

AUSTIN — Buffy the Cow has moo-ved again.

Austin’s famous bovine was moved Friday to greener pastures on the outskirts of the Mower County Fairgrounds near 12th Street SW, just in time for the Mower County Fair.

“We avoided the wires but clipped a tree,” said Mike Ankeny, owner of several gas stations in town.

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Ankeny sold his office building at 1111 Fifth Place SE to Chad Carlson of Austin Electric, who has rented the building for several years, last month. That’s why Buffy came down from her place at the top of Ankeny’s office on June 29, after about 42 years of watching the horizon.

Buffy is a fiercely beloved attraction to the town. People still remember when she was shot with several arrows back in the ‘80s as an homage to the “Dallas” TV show angle of who shot J.R. Ewing.

“I remember that vividly when I was a kid,” said Mary Burroughs, Austin Public Schools director of human resources last month.

No Buffy history would be complete without mentioning the mystery behind her missing horn more than 10 years ago.

When a bad wind storm knocked the heifer off the roof and caved in the office building, Buffy was largely unharmed except for a missing horn. Ankeny remembers getting a ransom note from someone claiming they had the horn. He’d heard the note came from friends who wanted to milk Ankeny for a donation to charity, but it turns out no one he knew had the horn.

Ankeny also heard a local girls softball team had the horn, but nothing was ever proven. After receiving a Polaroid of the horn, police eventually returned the horn to Ankeny. Ankeny was told the horn was returned to police, but he wasn’t sure by who. He said he was never mad or upset about the horn, but he was curious about what had happened to it. Ankeny said he asked then-detective Tom Stiehm, now Austin’s mayor, about the case but didn’t get any details. According to Ankeny, Stiehm told him the case was “an intense bovine investigation.”

There’s been light shed on the mystery, however. Ankeny said he got a call several weeks ago from someone who knew the person who stole Buffy’s horn. According to Ankeny, he hasn’t spoken to the alleged culprit, but he’s heard the horn was indeed stolen for charity.

Ankeny will move offices to property next to his Ankeny’s gas station on the east side of town. The office isn’t the first business Ankeny’s sold this year, however. Ankeny sold the Budget Oil gas station on Fourth Street NW and Oakland Avenue to the city of Austin in March and closed it down earlier this month. It was the first store Ankeny owned after he graduated from high school in 1976.