HUTCHINSON — A seven-foot-tall, KEY overall-wearing bison is now roaming the grounds of the Kansas State Fair.
Meet Ike – the newest member of the State Fair family.
Gov. Laura Kelly declared Ike the official Kansas State Fair mascot in a video released this morning. He is the Fair’s first-ever mascot, and he will make stops at different locations across the state this summer as part of a campaign to celebrate Kansas and the Fair.
“The Kansas State Fair is an event that commemorates the best of Kansas and nothing represents the state more distinctly than the official state animal – the American bison,” said the Fair’s General Manager, Robin Jennison. “He’s the ultimate Kansan and wants happiness and prosperity for our great state.”
Born on Kansas Day amid the Smoky Hills of Maxwell Wildlife Refuge, Ike is named after the 34th President from Abilene, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Now living in Hutchinson and taking on his new role as the Kansas State Fair mascot, Ike helps keep the grounds maintained and mowed while sporting his overalls manufactured by Key Industries of Fort Scott, Kansas.
Ike loves all Fair food but has a fondness for Pronto Pups. Moreover, there are very few people who could ever beat him at Kansas trivia. Besides his birthday, Ike’s favorite day of the year is the Friday after Labor Day — the annual kick-off of the Kansas State Fair.
KEY Industries, also the Fair’s official apparel partner, is Ike’s official sponsor.
“Our partnership with the Kansas State Fair makes for the perfect blend of hard work and fun,” said George Yaghmour, vice president of sales and marketing at Key Industries. “It is our pleasure to work hand in hand with the Kansas State Fair, an organization that is founded by hard-working Kansans, much like KEY. Both our organizations are founded on the Kansas values of hard work, determination and integrity.”
Jennison added that Ike’s symbolism goes deeper than just a fun-loving, woolly character.
“Ike represents our state’s strong past and our persevering character,” he said. “Everyone likes Ike. And, everyone will have a chance to meet him in September.
The Fair will announce Ike’s summer appearances soon. Fairgoers can also meet Ike during this year’s Kansas State Fair, Sept. 11-20.
- Animal: American Bison
- Born: Jan. 29, 2020 amid the Smoky Hills of Maxwell Wildlife Refuge.
- Height: 7 foot
- Hair: Brown
- Eyes: Brown
- Named For: Dwight D. Eisenhower, the nation’s 34th President, who hails from Abilene.
- Favorite Clothing: His KEY overalls, based in Fort Scott, Kansas.
- Favorite Fair Food: He loves all Fair food but has a fondness for Pronto Pups.
- Favorite Ride: Giant Slide and Ye Old Mill
- Favorite Song: Home on the Range
- Favorite Day of the Year: Besides Kansas Day (His Birthday), it’s the first Friday after Labor Day.
- Favorite Kansas attraction: All of them! But, of course, he likes to stop by the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum.
- Favorite Game: Kansas Trivia (he’s nearly unbeatable)
- Favorite Book: The Kansas Guidebook for Explorers.
About Key Industries
KEY’S beginnings are rooted in Fort Scott, Kansas. The year was 1908, and the first product offered was a set of triple-stitched bib overalls. Over the course of the last century, KEY’s clothing line has expanded to accommodate the demands of the modern-day worker — whether the hard work is in the office or in the field.
About the Fair
The Kansas State Fair has featured the best of all things Kansas – including its culture, its economy, its people and its communities – since 1913. Located in Hutchinson, it is the state’s single largest event, drawing an average 340,000 people from all 105 counties and several states for 10 days each September. This year’s Fair is Sept. 11-20.