Entertainment Images DuffywithcowBig, BIG news out of the Iowa State Fair this year. After 45 years, world famous butter carver Norma “Duffy ” Lyon (pictured) is stepping down, and apprentice Sarah Pratt will take over as Lead Butter Carver, Pratt’s first subject? Iowa native Brandon Routh as Superman.

Pratt has some big, possibly slippery shoes to fill: Lyon was world famous for her life sized, sensitive depictions of such subjects as cows and the Last Supper. The latter piece weighed 2000 lbs. Plus butter carving has been a grand tradition at the Iowa State Fair for nigh on 100 years — the first dairy cows were carved in 1911.

However, Pratt seems well on her way to upholding the proud tradition, after having served a 15 year apprenticeship to the master carver. Her comments as she faces the mighty task of sculpting Routh’s heroic proportions show that she is no dilettante, but a true artist.

“(Superman) will be standing upright, cape fluttering,” said Pratt. “With the weight of butter, it’d be hard to have him flying.”

If anyone finds any pictures of this great event, please, we beg of you, send them to us!


  1. As a comics fan and a ex-Midwesterner, I love this. But, more specifically as a ex-Minnesotan (and devotee of the *Minnesota* State Fair), I hope this inspires some Minnesotan butter-carver to an even greater project! Come on, folks! Our dairy neighbors to the south are doing Superman! What you got? ;-)


  2. My wife reminded me that not only is Brandon Routh an Iowa native, but also worked at the Iowa State Fair for a few summers as a kid. (My wife remembers him telling an anecdote about making corn dogs or something…)

    So, fine, it’s a native son’s homecoming in butter. I still want the Minnesota State Fair to step up! ;-)


  3. Enjoyed your posting. I just spent a part of my Saturday with Norma Duffy Lyon, as you’ll see from my posting. We could probably easily arrange for you to get a photo of the Brandon Routh sculpture.

    Duffy has actually achieved some ironic degree of pop folk superhero status herself well beyond the confines of Iowa “fly-over” country. Whlle she has indeed made life-sized sculptures out of butter for nearly 50 years at the Iowa State Fair, she’s also been featured on everything from NBC’s “Today” show and David Letterman to “To Tell The Truth” way back in the 60s.

    It was during that first television appearance some 40 years ago that regular guest panelist Kitty Carlisle Hart correctly guessed who she was after asking, “Which type of cow is the only one to have brown eyes?” Duffy Lyon answered, “Jerseys.”

    The best thing about Duffy Lyon is that she’d probably get a kick out of your column! Maybe if you provide your likeness, she’d even memorialize you in butter!