When I was driving out to North Dakota for the first time, I remember Blake’s family mentioning that we should make sure we stop and see the world’s largest buffalo as we pass through Jamestown, ND. Obviously I was intrigued. In my mind I pictured a massive buffalo roaming the plains of North Dakota. “I wonder how big it really is?” I questioned. “I wonder how much it eats?” I questioned. As we approached Jamestown and began seeing billboards urging us to exit and catch a glimpse of the buffalo, my anticipation only grew.
We pulled off I-94 towards where the billboards directed us, and my face was glued to the window scanning the horizon for a giant buffalo grazing the hillside. Before I knew it, there it was. The world’s largest buffalo. How big was it? Huge. How much did it eat? Well… nothing. For in fact the world’s largest buffalo was not a living, breathing animal. Instead, it was a 40 foot fiberglass statue of a buffalo. Now, don’t for a second think I was disappointed. This was still great! A giant buffalo statue was the perfect photo op. As we left Jamestown and the world’s largest buffalo behind, I asked Blake, “Why do you think they have a statue of a giant buffalo?” “Why not?” he replied.
I soon learned that the world’s largest buffalo was not the only large, man-made, creature that stood proudly throughout the towns of North Dakota and Minnesota. In fact, the buffalo is accompanied by a whole stampede of giant animals. And according to roadsideamerica.com, apparently North Dakota and Minnesota have the densest population of largest animals (and a few other random large objects) than anywhere in the world. Here are a few I found while Googling:
- world’s largest holstein cow (named Salem Sue) in New Salem, ND
- world’s largest sandhill crane in Steele, ND
- world’s largest catfish in Wahpeton, ND
- The Enchanted Highway in Regent, ND has an entire host of giant animals including a giant pheasant family, a giant deer family, giant grasshoppers, and giant flying geese
- a giant walleye in Garrison, ND
- a giant turtle in Bottineau, ND (named Tommy the Snowmobiling Turtle) as well as Dunseith, ND and Turtle Lake, ND
- a giant otter (named Otto) in Fergus Falls, MN
- a giant octopus in Minneapolis, MN
- a giant prairie chicken in Rothsay, MN
- a giant cod statue (named Lou T. Fisk) in Madison, MN
- a giant viking name Big Ole in Alexandria, MN
- a giant muskie in Bena, MN
- the world’s largest stucco snowman in North St. Paul, MN
- Babe the Blue Ox and Paul Bunyon in Brainerd, MN
- the world’s largest corn cob statue in Olivia, MN
And while I now have a new goal before leaving the Northern Plains of visiting as many world’s largest creatures as possible, I still have to ask, why? Why are there so many large statues spotted across North Dakota and Minnesota? Maybe the best answer should simply still be be, why not?