For Howdy Doody, a nine-year-old Watusi bull, going for a ride with his owner in their 1996 Ford Crown Victoria isn’t a big deal. He just calls shotgun, climbs in, and assumes his position across from Lee Meyer, owner of both car and cattle. They were cruising through the town of Norfolk, Nebraska, on Wednesday when some busybody took issue with a giant bull sticking out the front of a car and called the cops. The police dispatch reads, “Vehicle with a cow inside.” Since that probably doesn’t much narrow it down in Nebraska, the following line clarifies, “Vehicle is a white car appears to have been modified.” Yes, it certainly has.
How does one transport a one-ton bovine in an automobile, you ask? Well, lending new meaning to “bull riding” and really shutting up everyone who told him he should buy a truck, Meyer reinforced the frame and suspension on his 1996 Ford Crown Victoria to support its beefy passenger. He also removed the passenger-side windshield and roof—Watusi bull horns grow laterally and can be eight feet across, which poses a problem given that the 1996 Crown Victoria only offers 60.8 inches of front shoulder room. But with the Crown Vic rendered semi–al fresco in a job so clean it looks like it came that way from the factory, Howdy Doody fit just fine.
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The Norfolk police didn’t entirely disagree, declining to ticket Meyer—this was, legally speaking, his first rodeo—but telling him to steer clear of town unless he wanted to start some serious beef. The pair were told to giddyup on back to Neligh, where they live, a not inconsiderable 35 miles further down Highway 275. Meyer told the New York Times that he uses a trailer for trips longer than 40 miles, and that Howdy Doody has been riding in the car for seven years and never has any problem with it.
Often, Meyer stops to buy Howdy Doody ice cream, a prompting his wife, Rhonda, to say, “He’s the most spoiled steer in northeast Nebraska.” We applaud her for not making assumptions about the other quadrants of Nebraska, where maybe there’s a Belted Galloway just sitting on the couch drinking beer and not lifting a hoof to help out.
Meyer and his bovine buddy made it home fine, although, as a video from News Channel Nebraska Northeast shows, not completely without incident. Eschewing Nebraska’s fine highway rest stops, Howdy Doody lived up to his name and rendered the Crown Vic’s rear quarter-panel ready for a serious detailing. But when you drive around with a bull in your car, you’ve gotta be prepared to deal with a little BS.
Ezra Dyer is a Car and Driver senior editor and columnist. He’s now based in North Carolina but still remembers how to turn right. He owns a 2009 GEM e4 and once drove 206 mph. Those facts are mutually exclusive.