As Joe Young led Big Red out of his tent into the night air Thursday, the crowd at the Columbia County Fall Fair gasped and stared.
Taylor Herndon, 4 (from left), Trey Mock, 10, Maggie Hightower, 7, Regan Mink, 3 and Savannah Cox, 8, sit on Big Red, a giant steer at the Columbia County Fall Fair. Big Red, owned by Joe Young of Eufaula, Ala., stands 6 feet 5 inches tall, is 11 feet long and weighs 3,100 pounds.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"Wow, he's huge," several people whispered to one another as the steer marched back to his tent.
"He's the Shaquille O'Neal of cowdom," said Young, the owner of the giant white steer, who weighs as much as two Volkswagen Beetles. "He's just a freak of nature like a 7-foot-tall person."
Big Red, named for the red tuft of hair between his horns, stands 6 feet 5 inches tall, is 11 feet long and weighs in at about 3,100 pounds. An average-size cow weighs about 900 pounds.
The 14-year-old Brown Swiss steer, who is one of the main attractions at the Columbia County Fall Fair this week, might be larger than his peers and a little more intimidating with 2-foot-long horns. However, Young says the steer is a gentle giant.
"He's unreal," Young said, adding that the steer frequently allows children to climb a ladder and sit on his back for photos. "You can't believe how docile and gentle he is, so well-mannered."
Young bought Big Red from a dairy farm in New Hampshire, where the steer was born to two normal-size dairy cows. Young heard about him and convinced his owners to sell the steer.
"I told (his owners) that he is so unique and unusual that people would love to see him," Young said.
Young said as many as 4,000 people, some visiting from 100 miles away, come to see Big Red each day.
Young and his overgrown pet will be at the Columbia County Fall Fair through closing Saturday. After one more stop, Big Red will return to Young's 25-acre farm in Eufaula, Ala.
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