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Prize Bull Preserved For Posterity
You may feel a little sentimental when it comes time to send a favorite bull, cow, steer or other prize animal to the stockyards, or rendering plant. Why not keep a little of the animal's memory right there on the farm by stuffing and mounting its head for display?
That's what cattle breeder Wesley Ervasti did with his prize Hereford bull, Rusticana, when the bull's usefulness for breeding ran out. The carcass went into the usual hamburger, but the head was saved for mounting. For the past year the popular bull has looked out on customers of the First National Bank, of Menahga, Minn., where Ervasti does his banking.
Ervasti displayed the head in the bank of the farming community just for something different. But Rusticana's head has become so familiar, and such a conversation piece, that Ervasti may never get it into his home.
The head of Rusticana was mounted by a taxidermist in nearby Bemidji, Minn. Total cost to Ervasti was about $350. Taxidermist Wilson Naegeli has mounted a lot of fish, bear, deer and other wildlife over the years, but he'd never been asked to stuff and mount a domestic animal. "It's a great idea. There's no reason why livestock producers shouldn't have the heads of their favorite bulls, cows, horses, or even pigs mounted and displayed," he says.
"I put four days of labor into Ervasti's bull. I had to saw off the horns and bolt them back on, send the leather out for tanning, 'then do the actual stuffing and mounting," he says. "Besides labor, there was the cost of a head form, glass eyes, and ear liners."
Naegeli says that the cost today would probably be about $400. There's a delay of several months, too, while the hide is cured and tanned. When it comes back, it goes through the same procedure as for mounting a deer or any other wild animal.
Ervasti farms about 800 acres in northern Minnesota where he raises Hereford cattle. His mounted bull head has received wide publicity in newspapers across the nation and was recently featured on Minneapolis television.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Wesley Ervasti, Rt. 1, Sebeka, Minn. 56477 (ph 218 564-4212).

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1982 - Volume #6, Issue #1