Cow Queens

This time of year, the school football team has found its rhythm and, with it, the school spirit appears. Spirit Weeks begin as students plan homecoming festivities, including picking a royal court.  

While this tradition is usually left to humans, there have been some cows who took a break from their studies to become the cow belle of the ball. If you’re feeling nostalgic for past royalty, below are two well-known royal cows to remember this year. You’ve learned about 3 cows in American history, so now it’s time for 2 cows making history at college.

Homecoming Queen, Maudine Ormsby 

In the fall of 1926, students at Ohio State University cast their ballots for Homecoming Queen. Rosalind Morrison won, but there was something strange. Though the school only had 10,000 students enrolled, 12,000 votes had been cast in the election. Due to apparent voter fraud amongst some students, she quickly stepped down. But the school still needed someone who would accept a compromised win, and so runner-up Maudine Ormsby was named Ohio State University’s Homecoming Queen.

There was something strange here, too. Maudine Ormsby was nominated by the College of Agriculture, but there were no records of a student with that name. The mystery was quickly solved: Maudine Ormsby was a Holstein cow owned by the department.  

Nevertheless, Maudine Ormsby was crowned and participated in the homecoming parade, but she couldn’t attend the dance that was past her curfew. She had work in the morning. 

Miss Auburn, Bessie the Cow 

In 1979, “The Plainsman,” Auburn University’s student newspaper, launched a campaign for an unusual Miss Auburn write-in candidate: Amelia “Bessie,” a cow at the vet school. 

When voting concluded, Bessie won in a landslide victory, with voters believing in her platform. Unfortunately, Bessie released a statement that she regrettably could not fulfill her duties. Students were not letting the humble winner miss out on the celebrations. The runner-up, Cindy Murphy, graciously covered the duties of Miss Auburn and, because Bessie tried to turn down her well-deserved crown, Bessie was instead awarded a cowbell with the following inscription:  

Bessie –  

Miss Auburn 1979-80  

A Moo Beginning 

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