Babe the Blue Ox toppled in high wind storm

Lois Moon and crew get Blue back on his feet
With the help of a forklift and a borrowed crane Lois Moon, owner of Paul Bunyan Land amusement park, and her crew were able to get Babe on his feet in less than an hour after an overnight storm knocked the statue over.
Photo courtesy of Lois Moon

High winds and early morning thunderstorms knocked out power to thousands in northern Minnesota, and tipped over an iconic landmark.

Nearly 10,000 lost power from Long Prairie to Duluth according to outage reports. The Brainerd lakes area took some of the worst damage, with much of Nisswa still without power Thursday morning as crews worked to remove downed trees from power lines.

At the Paul Bunyan Land amusement park, between Brainerd and Garrison, the wind toppled more than trees. When park owner Lois Moon came to work in the early morning, she found the massive Babe the Blue Ox statue on his side.

"To move him," she said. "It had to have been a phenomenal gust of wind."

The fiberglass statue stands nearly 20 feet tall and weighs three tons. It's so heavy, Moon never even thought to bolt it down.

Babe is paired with a huge animatronic Paul Bunyan that talks to children when their parents bring them by the park. Together, they're one of the most iconic Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statue installations in Minnesota.

With the help of a forklift and a borrowed crane Moon's crew was able to get Babe on his feet in less than an hour. Aside from a broken horn, she says Babe is largely unharmed.

"He doesn't look too bad," she said. "We're going to have some cosmetic surgery going on here, but he's back on his feet."

Babe the Blue Ox is back on its feet
Babe the Blue Ox at the Paul Bunyan Land amusement park is back on his feet after an overnight storm blew the statue over. Aside from a broken horn, Babe is largely unharmed.
Photo courtesy of Lois Moon

The storm is the latest in a string of damaging weather events. Two weeks ago high winds killed two campers in the Boundary Waters and left thousands in Duluth without power.

Earlier this summer torrential rains fell across the state, threatening much of Minnesota with rising flood waters for more than a week.

Before that, storms left the small town of Deer River scrambling to clean up before their biggest festival of the year.

Power has already been restored to much of the impacted area. By mid-morning, Minnesota Power and Lake County Power reported a combined 6,000 customers without power.

Before you go...

MPR News is dedicated to bringing you clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives when we need it most. We rely on your help to do this. Your donation has the power to keep MPR News strong and accessible to all during this crisis and beyond.