DES MOINES, Iowa — The butter cow sculpture has been a time-honored tradition of the Iowa State Fair since 1911. It's been shown to generations of Iowans, on proud display inside of the Agriculture Building at the fairgrounds. But on Aug. 20, the butter cow added a unique new chapter to its story, as two lucky Iowa lovebirds began their engagement right inside of its cooler.
Nick Buckton came up with the idea. A lifelong fan of the state fair, he had an idea to make his proposal one to remember.
"You 'butter' believe that I've had this idea for quite a while. I was 'dairy' nervous at first. But, you know, it ended up turning out all right," Buckton said.
Buckton and his now-fiancé, Mackenzie Burger, have been together for about two years. During an ordinary visit to the state fair, the couple stopped to take a look at the butter cow, where they met Sarah Pratt, this year's sculptor.
"I was pretty nervous. I was texting Sarah, the artist, frantically and making sure that everything was in place," Buckton said.
After that "chance encounter," the couple got to take a behind-the-scenes look at the 600-pound sculpture. Once they were in place, Buckton put his plan into action. It all seemed to turn out pretty well when Burger accepted his proposal.
"I just thought Sarah did a great job. I thought we just kind of hit it off. And she was like, 'hey, I want to show you guys the butter cows.' You can't expect this!" Burger said.
With the proposal a success, the Iowa State Fair can add 'great place for engagements' to the long list of reasons why it's so loved. Which begs the question—who knows what fair history will be made next year?
"It's always something to look forward to. There's always something new. You can get engaged at the Iowa State Fair, and it's pretty rad," Buckton said.