Beyond Your Backyard - World's Tallest Moose Once More
By Kimberly J. Epp
After a summer without antlers, Moose Jaw's Mac The Moose grew a new and larger set of antlers.
Every year as moose bulls in the wild age, their antlers grow in size. Generally, the larger the rack, the older the bull.
These antlers fall off between mid-December and the end of January. In Autumn, the antlers stop growing and they harden.
So, it was almost fitting that it was autumn when Mac got his new, stronger and larger rack. The fact that his old antlers lay shed at his feet was not lost by me.
Three of us headed to Tourism Moose Jaw for the big reveal of Mac's new antlers on Thursday morning.
There was an impressive crowd, and a free barbecue was ready to serve following the program.
Mayor Frasier Tolmie had a lot of energy, and his energy was infectious. He mentioned that the moose should be Canada's National animal because it is so majestic and proud.
After several months of media coverage, spurred by a social media video made by Regina social media stars, Justin and Greg, it was finally time for the big reveal.
Earlier this year, Justin and Greg made a video which revealed that Moose Jaw no longer had the tallest moose, but that a town in Norway (Stor Eldval) now had that title. And it was a difference of just 30 centimeters.
Well, Moose Jaw just couldn't have that! So a campaign began to regain the title of tallest moose.
Mac received international attention, especially following the visit from Linda Henrikson Deputy Mayor of Stor Eldval, and even Stephen Colbert did a clip about Mac.
Moose Jaw was put on the map with this campaign, and as Mayor Tolmie said at the reveal, Moose Jaw received free advertising and coverage with the value of at least 7 million dollars. You literally could not buy that kind of advertising!
For a city built on tourism, this will generate economic revenue as more visitors will come and see Mac and spend their dollars within the community. According to Tourism Moose Jaw, Mac brings in 100,000 visitors a year. Now who knows how much that number might grow!
This whole "Moose War" and "Moose Truce" was more than just giving Mac a bigger set of antlers. It was many factors combined, including a chance to get Moose Jaw put back on the map, which it did.
It was also about helping our economic situation with more tourists and tourist dollars, which it will.
It was about the silliness and jest together with Norway and giving both cities a boost in the media, which it did. It was about bringing the whole community together to help make this project happen, and that it most definitely did. AND of course, it was our chance to regain our title as having the world's largest moose. That also, we once again did.
It should be noted that this entire project was funded completely by donations, volunteer time and labour from local businesses. The largest donation however came from Moosehead Breweries, which totalled $25,000.00.
Those tasked at creating the antlers were Rion White of Orion's Taxidermy and Brysen Bert of Steady Metalworks, both of Moose Jaw. They did a fantastic job!
Mac is part of our community.
People drive by him everyday, and he is the first thing tourists see when they pull in off the highway.
A highway sign for Tim Hortons doesn't say what street to turn onto from the highway. It merely says turn right at the moose!
If you tell people you are from Moose Jaw, it is more than likely they have now heard of it. So be proud. Hold your head high, just as Mac holds his new antlers high. Moose Jaw is back in business, and we don't plan on shedding our antlers for many years to come!
Epp is an Environmental Educator and writer and is also Past President and Field Trip Coordinator and Director of the Moose Jaw Nature Society. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. *Join us on Friday October 26th at 6:30 pm at St. Mark's church for our October meeting and presentation by our new President, Rich Pickering on "Saskatchewan Animals That Suck Blood". For more information, follow the MJNS Facebook page at; https://www.facebook.com/moosejawnaturesociety/.