New Rockford, ND

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Eddy County Museum’s Two-Headed Calf Given New Identity

Two-headed calf naming contest winner Sandra Larson with Museum Board President Jessica Dillon, holding a photo of Anne & Rocky
Two-headed calf naming contest winner Sandra Larson with Museum Board President Jessica Dillon, holding a photo of Anne & Rocky

May 6th, 2013
– After 47 years, even the cutest cow could use a day at the spa. The Eddy County Museum is providing just that for what is fast becoming its most famous resident: taxidermied two-headed calf Anne & Rocky.

The calf was born Palm Sunday 1966 on the farm belonging to Charles “Nick” and Georgie Smith, about 7 miles southeast of Sheyenne. Nancy Ludwig of New Rockford remembers that day from her childhood, and her parents receiving the call from the Smiths. “This was back when there wasn’t much else for entertainment,” Ludwig told the Museum in a recent interview, “so when this calf was born, they called around to all the neighbors to come over and see it. All the kids piled into the car and we drove over. When we arrived, it was still warm, but had already passed on.” The calf was taxidermied and donated to the Museum, where it has resided for nearly five decades.

The Eddy County Museum has been working for years to increase visitor numbers, and has been considering new ways to bring people in to see the collection. After some initial uncertainty about bringing them down from their dusty shelf, the Museum board decided that the two-headed calf was a very unique item, with clear ties to the community, and something that had the potential to win the public’s attention. Plans for a new exhibit and marketing campaign were hatched and slowly grew over the winter.

The first component of the new exhibit was to hold a naming contest in March involving the students at New Rockford-Sheyenne School. All students grades 1-6 were invited to submit name suggestions for the calf, which brought in 114 pairs of names to narrow down. The Historical Society selected their favorite five name pairs, which were then brought to a schoolwide vote by every student and staff member.

The winning pair of names was suggested by 6th grader Sandra Larson of Sheyenne. Her name pair, “Anne & Rocky” was intended to represent Eddy County’s sister cities of SheyENNE and New ROCKford, a touching message that seemed to resonate with the voting public. Larson received a Barnes & Noble Booksellers gift card for her winning entry, and all five finalists will receive a special gift later this summer.

The delay is due to Anne & Rocky’s scheduled “spa day” with local taxidermist Jamie Risovi, who has taken the calf to his workshop for a cleaning and a tune-up. Once they have been restored, their likeness will be sent to the Stuffington Bear Factory in Phoenix, AZ, to be transformed into exact toy stuffed animal replicas of the famous duo, to be sold as souvenirs at the Museum. Upon their arrival, each finalist from the naming contest will receive their very own Anne & Rocky two-headed calf to take home.

Museum Board President Jessica Dillon, the coordinator behind the calf project, says, “Our beautiful museum facility and grounds house a truly remarkable collection, and what we really needed was a hook to get people to take the time to stop in and see what we have here. We hope that Anne & Rocky will be that flagship piece, where kids will want to come in and see them, have their picture taken, bring their parents in for a look, spend some time with us, and then go out and tell other people about what they saw at the Museum. Personally, I think Anne & Rocky are adorable. You just have to see them to believe it.”

The Eddy County Museum, located at 113 1st Ave. N in New Rockford, is open from 1-4 p.m. every Sunday between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Opening day this season will be Sunday, May 26. Admission is always free of charge, and guided tours are available. Contact Jessica Dillon at (701) 947-2205 with any questions, or find the Eddy County Museum on Facebook for exhibit and event updates.

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