Cow Parade Fun in Houston, Texas: It was Moovelous!

Updated on April 30, 2020
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Cowdy Y’all created by Pershing Middle School
Cowdy Y’all created by Pershing Middle School | Source

Yippee Cow Yea! The Cows are Here!

This headline ad was in the Houston Chronicle for the "Moovelous" Cow Parade Houston, Texas 2001 exhibit that was on display all over the metropolitan area from September 6th to November 7th.

It was a fundraising event that was the largest ever at that time, benefiting Texas Children's Hospital. The goal was to raise $3.2 million for the hospital. Before the cows were on display, over half of that goal had been met.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Salvador Cowli Vaca PinataCow Parade cutie Waste Moover Mooscle Cow Paul MooCartney French Moodle Deep in the Heart of TexasLivin' La Vaca Loca
Salvador Cowli
Salvador Cowli | Source
Vaca Pinata
Vaca Pinata | Source
Cow Parade cutie
Cow Parade cutie | Source
Waste Moover
Waste Moover | Source
Mooscle Cow
Mooscle Cow | Source
Paul MooCartney
Paul MooCartney | Source
French Moodle
French Moodle | Source
Deep in the Heart of Texas
Deep in the Heart of Texas | Source
Livin' La Vaca Loca
Livin' La Vaca Loca | Source

Counting Cows

How many cows were individually hand-painted and put on display for this Houston CowParade? Three hundred and twenty-five is the answer

Just imagine the work and coordination that it took to organize an event like this one!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Moo Y’all Greener Pastures Picowsso’s Eyes MOO-ty Fruity Corn on the Cow Texas Landscape Cow Bird by Roberta Harris Heffertity by High School for the Performing Visual Arts Udderly Beautiful
Moo Y’all
Moo Y’all | Source
Greener Pastures
Greener Pastures | Source
Picowsso’s Eyes
Picowsso’s Eyes | Source
MOO-ty Fruity
MOO-ty Fruity | Source
Corn on the Cow
Corn on the Cow | Source
Texas Landscape
Texas Landscape | Source
Cow Bird by Roberta Harris
Cow Bird by Roberta Harris | Source
Heffertity by High School for the Performing Visual Arts
Heffertity by High School for the Performing Visual Arts | Source
Udderly Beautiful
Udderly Beautiful | Source

Bovine Placements

The scope of this fundraiser was humongous and the cows, once painted, were displayed in and outside of buildings all over the Houston area.

  • Some were in grocery stores.
  • Cows were on the grounds of our two major airports.
  • Bovines could be found in downtown parks.
  • One was in a car dealership showroom.
  • Another was in a jewelry store!
  • Several were on the grounds as well as inside hospitals.

Parks to parking lots...these colorful artistic expressions were around every nook and cranny of this city. From downtown to uptown to surrounding areas just outside of town, these colorfully painted cows drew crowds of people viewing them and photographing them.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Hill Country Cow Texas Hot Mama by Ann “Sole Sister” Johnson. Located in the Galleria Mall.Eiffel Cower MooZoo Love Me Tenderloinwww.ecow.com It's a Cowpuccino Morning Moondrian by Woodrow Wilson ElementaryMarilyn Mooviestar
Hill Country Cow
Hill Country Cow | Source
Texas Hot Mama by Ann “Sole Sister” Johnson. Located in the Galleria Mall.
Texas Hot Mama by Ann “Sole Sister” Johnson. Located in the Galleria Mall. | Source
Eiffel Cower
Eiffel Cower | Source
MooZoo
MooZoo | Source
Love Me Tenderloin
Love Me Tenderloin | Source
www.ecow.com
www.ecow.com | Source
It's a Cowpuccino Morning
It's a Cowpuccino Morning | Source
Moondrian by Woodrow Wilson Elementary
Moondrian by Woodrow Wilson Elementary | Source
Marilyn Mooviestar
Marilyn Mooviestar | Source

Friendly Exchanges

Cow mania had taken over the city! It created a reason to travel around the city and mark off the cows one had been able to see. The Houston Chronicle newspaper provided an official map and guide as to each cow's whereabouts.

Both Houstonians, as well as tourists that had come to our city during this event, were entertained by these wildly colorful expressions of bovine artistry.

Parents held their children on the cow's backs for photographic memories of this event. Smiling faces were seen and laughter was heard everywhere as people gathered around yet another cow.

Exchanges of information were often shared between cow aficionados. "Have you seen this cow yet? Be sure and go to this location!" Suddenly the people in our very friendly city had gotten even more friendly.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Mooisha The Moomaid by Shelley Busche at Water Wall Park Beef Stew Cozy Cow Cow Parade figure Moo-net UTopian Steer Texas Take Cow't Sea Cow by Valley West ElementaryBuena Vista Vaca
Mooisha The Moomaid by Shelley Busche at Water Wall Park
Mooisha The Moomaid by Shelley Busche at Water Wall Park | Source
Beef Stew
Beef Stew | Source
Cozy Cow
Cozy Cow | Source
Cow Parade figure
Cow Parade figure | Source
Moo-net
Moo-net | Source
UTopian Steer
UTopian Steer | Source
Texas Take Cow't
Texas Take Cow't | Source
Sea Cow by Valley West Elementary
Sea Cow by Valley West Elementary | Source
Buena Vista Vaca
Buena Vista Vaca | Source

Sponsorships

To accomplish this type of a massive fundraiser not only was long-range planning needed but sponsors had to be secured to help pay for all the expenses that would be incurred. The volunteers worked for two years in accomplishing this feat.

All of these plain white fiberglass cows were rustled into town and the sponsorships per cow ranged from $7,500 to $100,000. Sponsors ranged from all different types of business owners to school art clubs to individuals.

Artists had to be found to paint and decorate each cow and then they had to be delivered to a myriad of places for the 10-day show.

At the end of the show, there was a live auction of 60 of these cows that took place at the Cullen Theater at Wortham Theater Center. Amazon.com conducted an online auction of many of the other cows.

Merchandise sales of miniature copies of selected cows and all types of other CowParade souvenirs (like calendars) were displayed at various locations all around town. This all contributed to the final amount of money raised for this excellent cause.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Mooriachi by Familia MastersonInsuracow by Kermit Eisenhut. It was placed in front of the Gus S. Wortham Fountain. Georgia O’Beefe “Houston, You Have a Problem” Camp for Allasaurus Captain Hoof by Elkins High School stage COWchCowsmic CowlendarMoocho Colores by Cesar Chavez High School
Mooriachi by Familia Masterson
Mooriachi by Familia Masterson | Source
Insuracow by Kermit Eisenhut. It was placed in front of the Gus S. Wortham Fountain.
Insuracow by Kermit Eisenhut. It was placed in front of the Gus S. Wortham Fountain. | Source
Georgia O’Beefe
Georgia O’Beefe | Source
“Houston, You Have a Problem”
“Houston, You Have a Problem” | Source
Camp for Allasaurus
Camp for Allasaurus | Source
Captain Hoof by Elkins High School
Captain Hoof by Elkins High School | Source
stage COWch
stage COWch | Source
Cowsmic Cowlendar
Cowsmic Cowlendar | Source
Moocho Colores by Cesar Chavez High School
Moocho Colores by Cesar Chavez High School | Source

Artists

One artist that we knew who received one of those unadorned white cows was happy to pay for the privilege of painting it.

Most of the artists worked in their homes and studios but some that did not have the room were given an opportunity to use some empty store space in Uptown Park. All summer long one could look through the windows and see these creations being made. As one would be finished, another would take its place.

Each artist put their own stamp of originality onto these plain white molded bovines. In some cases, the cows were dismembered to create a new form.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Great Wall of NeheMOOah by Susan KutznerThe Earth Cow by Jackson Middle SchoolCow Power of HoustonFlaming Cow by Pearland Junior High SchoolHot Milk by Browning ElementaryDr. Moody Brown by Blackshear ElementaryCow Town by McNamara ElementaryTattooed BovineMoobonnet by MacGregor Elementary
The Great Wall of NeheMOOah by Susan Kutzner
The Great Wall of NeheMOOah by Susan Kutzner | Source
The Earth Cow by Jackson Middle School
The Earth Cow by Jackson Middle School | Source
Cow Power of Houston
Cow Power of Houston | Source
Flaming Cow by Pearland Junior High School
Flaming Cow by Pearland Junior High School | Source
Hot Milk by Browning Elementary
Hot Milk by Browning Elementary | Source
Dr. Moody Brown by Blackshear Elementary
Dr. Moody Brown by Blackshear Elementary | Source
Cow Town by McNamara Elementary
Cow Town by McNamara Elementary | Source
Tattooed Bovine
Tattooed Bovine | Source
Moobonnet by MacGregor Elementary
Moobonnet by MacGregor Elementary | Source

Naming of the Cows

Titles of many of the cows pretty much described their appearance. Let your imagination fill in the colors and style of these:

  • The Gumball Machine
  • Ice Cream Lover
  • IC Polo Cow
  • Holsteen Cowlajuwan
  • Deli-cow-tessen
  • Moogritte
  • Mooseum District Cow
  • Cowgirl
  • Cowboy
  • Houston Chronicow
  • Cowculus
  • City Cow
  • Country Moosic Star
  • Gulf of Mooxico
  • Elvis Cowsley in Grazeland
  • Metallicow,
  • Exploring the Mooniverse
  • Moo-iro
  • Moo-riachi, and on and on it goes.

The names were clever and when looking at each creation one could easily see what had inspired the artist.

While this is just a small sample of the photos that I took that year, you now have some idea of the fun we had while joining others and rediscovering our city while in this MOOving fundraiser mode.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Elsie's Udder MagicMoonwalking CowHaute CowtureCowalilliesThe Cowntessa Checks InMiss Cowsmoopolitan the Divine BovineChocolate Moo-seForecowddieDestiny Moo
Elsie's Udder Magic
Elsie's Udder Magic | Source
Moonwalking Cow
Moonwalking Cow | Source
Haute Cowture
Haute Cowture | Source
Cowalillies
Cowalillies | Source
The Cowntessa Checks In
The Cowntessa Checks In | Source
Miss Cowsmoopolitan the Divine Bovine
Miss Cowsmoopolitan the Divine Bovine | Source
Chocolate Moo-se
Chocolate Moo-se | Source
Forecowddie
Forecowddie | Source
Destiny Moo
Destiny Moo | Source

Many other cities have had similar fundraisers using different models. We know of pelicans, benches, Charlie Brown and Snoopy characters. Do you know of others?

Suffice it to say, we along with thousands of other people had fun following the guide and discovering the innovatively painted and bedecked cows in all parts of our fair city.

I hope you enjoyed this look at the Cow Parade that took place in Houston, Texas. It was truly "Moovelous!"

Click thumbnail to view full-size
StampedeBovineasaurusTexas Moo-bonnetsHibiscowUdderly GlazingThe Cultured CowScholasticowMooost ImmooovativeRunning of the Cows
Stampede
Stampede | Source
Bovineasaurus
Bovineasaurus | Source
Texas Moo-bonnets
Texas Moo-bonnets | Source
Hibiscow
Hibiscow | Source
Udderly Glazing
Udderly Glazing | Source
The Cultured Cow
The Cultured Cow | Source
Scholasticow
Scholasticow | Source
Mooost Immooovative
Mooost Immooovative | Source
Running of the Cows
Running of the Cows | Source

Have you seen similar fundraisers in your town or city?

See results

Sources:

CowParade

© 2020 Peggy Woods

Comments

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    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 days ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Patricia,

      I would enjoy seeing your painted horses in Marion County every bit as much as seeing the painted cows when they were in abundance all around Houston. They make for many smiling faces!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      4 days ago from North Central Florida

      Hi Peggy..what a great fundraiser. The moovelous cows are quite something. We have a number of painted horses in Marion County...they are a delite to see each time I pass. Take care and stay well and safe. Angels once again are headed to you..ps

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      11 days ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rajan,

      The Cow Parade was indeed a fun way to raise funding for the Texas Children's Hospital. The artists must also have had a good time in coming up with various designs.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      11 days ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      A wonderful initiative to raise funds for a worthy cause. Very attractively painted, dressed and presented cow models. Thanks for sharing.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      13 days ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Niks,

      There are a few of these cows that are still in evidence, but most of them were sold off in this charity event. It was so much fun to spot them at the time of the Cow Parade.

    • Niks007 profile image

      Niks 

      2 weeks ago from India

      Wow! This is something out of the world concept. These Cow models are so unique and attractive. If I happen to visit Texas, I'll definitely visit this creative place. Thanks, Peggy for sharing such a nice article.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ruby,

      This was one event that was so much fun to attend. It kept us entertained and on the hunt to see as many of the cows as we could.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      2 months ago from Southern Illinois

      This was a fun read, cleverly written. The cows were painted beautifully!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Bill,

      Viewing all of the many dressed up cows around our city was so much fun. Glad you enjoyed this.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi John,

      Thanks for telling us about the dragons, bulls, peanuts, pigs, and pumpkins that are celebrated in different places around the world. It is fun to see what artists do with these subjects. I am pleased that you enjoyed these images of the decorated cows.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi C E Clark,

      It surely was a fun to view fundraiser. Thanks for the visit. Stay safe up there!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Very cool idea! Love the cows in dresses. This would truly be a wonderful thing to see. Thanks for the share.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi FlourishAnyway,

      It would have been fun to see the pigs in your city when they had that fundraiser. Did you take any photos of them? It makes me smile just thinking about it.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      2 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Peggy, this was great. What wonderful imaginations the artists have and some of those cow creations are amazing. Thanks for sharing so many photos. Norwich in the UK has a similar celebration with dragons. Ann Carr wrote a hub about it.

      Two towns I have lived in Rockhampton (beef capital of Australia) and Kingaroy (the peanut capital) have parades celebrations with decorated "bulls" and "peanuts" respectively. Kingaroy now also has one with "pigs" at another time of year, and a town called Goomeri has a "pumpkin festival."

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      2 months ago from North Texas

      There are so many it's hard to choose a favorite! This does seem like a fun way to raise money for a good cause.

      Texas opens up tomorrow. Really, it's open right now, as it's 12:51 AM. I hope it doesn't turn out to be wishing Texas hadn't been in such a hurry. Like you, I think we still have some challenging days ahead . . .

      Stay well.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      2 months ago from USA

      This was absolutely adorable and so full or personality! I loved looking at all of the photos. What a wonderful way to raise money for a good cause. My city I think did pigs about 20 years ago.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Diana,

      I could have shown you many more, but I thought that you could get a good idea of what they were like with these photos. It was so much fun going around town and photographing them!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Liz,

      The people who live in that stately home must love cows to have one decorated and on display. (Smile)

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Pamela,

      These are just some of the photos of the cows, of which I took photos. We only missed taking the photos of a few of them. It was such a fun fund-raising event for our city.

    • Dianadee profile image

      Diana Carol Abrahamson 

      2 months ago from Somerset West

      I really love these cow creations. The colours and designs are amazing!

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 months ago from UK

      I once saw a decorated cow at Woburn Abbey, a stately home in the UK. These look amazing.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      What a great way to raise money! I have never been to a cow parade. I have also never seen so many cows dressed so well. I imagine the children sitting on their backs for pictures are just giggling. This is really a unique event.

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