A drive along Interstate 94 through North Dakota doesn't feature a ton of eye-catching man-made attractions. But there is one that's a huge indicator, letting travelers know they are in the territory of one of the nation's unique high school mascot names.
New Salem (N.D.)
is just off Exit 127, and up on a small hill lives Salem Sue. She's the world's largest holstein cow, and she's a larger-than-life marker letting people know that New Salem is the home of the Holsteins. No other school in America can make that claim.
And when we say big when we talk about Salem Sue — we mean big. According to the Real North Dakota Project
, Salem Sue posts some prolific stats: 38 feet tall, 50 feet long and 12,000 pounds. She was "built" in 1974 and is made of fiberglass. Word is that she can be seen from 5 miles away.
So why is New Salem so fascinated with Holsteins, when no other town in America decided to go with that type of cow as its high school mascot? History tells that story.
The dairy industry took root in New Salem in the late 1800s, and the Holstein Circuit was formed in order to bolster the budding industry through education, cooperation and innovation.
It was the purpose of the Circuit to encourage better breeding and
increased production, resulting in growth of the industry in New Salem.
College professors from North Dakota Agricultural college would come to the Circuit each year to tour all the area's dairies, and it became somewhat of a celebration, according to the New Salem Lions, who estimated that some years there would be 750 people as part of the tour.
So it only makes sense that New Salem-Almont High School (the official name) would be the Holsteins. After all, it is the home of the "Cow Town Hoe Down" and other agriculture-based events.
A holstein cow is a dairy cow, almost always black and white, and 90 percent of America's dairy cows are of the holstein variety. They weigh on average about 1,500 pounds and they can be found from coast to coast.
It's not the most fierce mascot name — and it certainly isn't the most popular.
What the Holsteins mascot name is, though, is uniquely New Salem.