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Fiberglass bison spur no stampede in Davis

Only 3 cities have bought the $3,000 ‘tourist lures’

SHARE Fiberglass bison spur no stampede in Davis

CLEARFIELD — Chicago did it. Toronto did it. Cincinnati did it. But many Davis County cities are failing to see the magic in fiberglass livestock.

Clearfield's decision at a recent City Council meeting not to buy a life-size buffalo replica highlights the lukewarm reception Davis County has given the Utah Buffalo Roundup — a collection of bison statuary dressed up by local artists and sponsored by the Davis County Council of Governments as a potential tourism lure for Olympic visitors.

Early estimates by Rick Mayfield, buffalo project manager and a consultant for the Davis County Council of Governments, predicted between 100 and 150 buffaloes would be sold by the end of the year.

So far, only 26 have sold.

Farmington, Syracuse and Fruit Heights are the only Davis County cities to buy a buffalo thus far. Other sponsors include Friends of Antelope Island, the Utah Transit Authority, the Utah Travel Council, Lagoon and Chevron.

Chicago had success using fiberglass cows to highlight a city festival two years ago, and Cincinnati's use of pigs last year brought in tourists and money.

"It's an arts project," Mayfield said simply of Davis County's buffalo promotion.

Mayfield is betting Games-goers will venture to Davis County to see the buffalo. People all over the world associate the buffalo with the American West, he said.

But they won't find a fiberglass one in Clearfield.

After three City Council meetings of debate, leaders decided against buying a bison to decorate and display in the city.

For most, the $3,000-per-buffalo price tag was too hefty.

"I have a severe problem using taxpayers' money" to buy a fiberglass buffalo, Councilman Curtis Oda said.

Council members also seemed unconvinced that a herd of fiberglass bison can lure tourists to the county.

"I can't see someone coming to Clearfield," Councilman David Monson said, "to see a buffalo."

E-MAIL: rrogers@desnews.com