"The World's Largest Steer" brought fame to southeastern Montana. He was born in 1923, on a farm east of Baker, and grew to be nearly six feet tall; ten feet, four inches long; and weighed nearly two tons (3,980 lbs).
He became known as Steer Montana and his owner, Jack Guth, exhibited him far and wide, appearing in over 60 state fairs. His brother, Spot (3,230 lbs) was also exhibited, while brother Bulgy (3,580 lbs) was not.
Earlier in the century, a steer named Old Ben in Kokomo, Indiana, grew to be even bigger than Steer Montana (six feet, four inches tall, and more than 4,500 lbs), so Steer Montana was technically just the World's Largest Living Steer, but that distinction has been lost with time.
When Steer Montana died in 1938, his owner strung him up on a windmill, stripped the carcass, and had his skin mounted. So displayed, Steer Montana continued to make the fair and rodeo circuit.
Then he got lost, later turning up in Billings, exhibited at an attraction named "Wonder Land." For $5,000 he was ransomed back to Baker, where he was displayed at Heiser's Bar. Bernard Heiser later donated both skin and bones (which were not displayed in the bar) to the county museum.
Today, Steer Montana is in a large glass box, in the main room of the O'Fallon Historical Museum, with a slightly apprehensive expression on his face. His bones have been connected back into a skeleton, and are in the adjacent (and larger) annex. The museum hopes to some day display the mounted carcass and skeleton side-by-side, allowing visitors to examine both simultaneously.
The O'Fallon Museum has a number of other odd items, including a two-headed calf, and a mannequin display of an early beauty shop permanent wave machine (We were told that older female visitors show off their scalp burn scars to curators). The museum exhibits the largest public collection of the folk art of auto body shop owner Herbert Jundt, who worked in wood, stone, metal, and auto body resin.
But it is Steer Montana that makes the trip way out to Baker worth the haul.