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Barack the bull's coming-out party

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Hopes are riding high on Barack right now, with many people counting on the Illinois resident to produce amazing results. In fact, so much is riding on Barack that his semen is selling for $2,500 a share!

Seriously.

A Westword operative cruising the livestock exchange at the National Western Stock Show this past weekend spotted a stack of glossy blue fliers advertising Barack. But this wasn't presidential memorabilia; rather, it was touting a huge bull from rural Illinois. "Barack was producing flush quality semen at 11 months of age," the flier read. "One semen share contract includes 50 units of semen in the first year." The cost for a share of sperm: $2,500.

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Barack

Barack the bull didn't, um, come to the Stock Show himself, says Todd Line, whose Line Show Cattle is a co-signer on the animal, because he was too busy, if you know what we mean.

Besides, Line figured that the photo of Barack would be enough to entice cattle breeders. Apparently, the bull's lineage is quite famous on the show-bull circuit. Barack's mother, Rocky Hills Mary, has birthed multiple state and national champions, while his sire, Maximus, is "pretty legendary himself," Line says. So far, he and Barack's co-owner, Jim Bloomberg, have sold 35 of the 50 sperm shares they're offering.

So how did the bull get his name? "My mother-in-law was so enthused with Barack Obama, I named him Barack," explains Bloomberg, who runs Bloomberg Cattle out of Berwick, Illinois. This was a year ago, when the bull was just a calf and Obama was still battling several other candidates in the Democratic primaries.

Republican Line admits that in the ranching world, where politics typically skew as red as the meat, having a bull named after the most famous liberal in the world can make for some awkward moments around the cattle trailers. But with the new president's inauguration, he's been thinking a lot about the challenges faced by Obama the man.

"He's got a mountain of work ahead of him to fix the country," Line says. "And Barack the bull, he's got a mountain ahead of him, too. He's got to live up to what everyone expects of him because of who his parents were."

Barack: bull we can believe in. (For more of this story by Jared Jacang Maher, log on to the Latest Word blog at westword.com.)

Save the date: If sperm isn't the souvenir you were looking to take away from Obama's inauguration day, there are still other, non-traditional ways to celebrate Barack the man. Entrepreneur Michael Harrison says he has about 5,000 Barack in a Bottle items left over from the Democratic National Convention in August, and artist Cassandra Cole is selling her commemorative DNC and inauguration posters at www.cassandracole.com (find out more about both of these on the Latest Word blog).

On Tuesday, the Wynkoop Brewing Company brought back its limited-edition Obamanator, a German-style lager that it first rolled out for the DNC, while the Boulder-based Bhakti Chai tea company is selling Barackti Chai in honor of the 44th president. And finally, the Rock N Soul Cafe in Boulder has released the un-self-awarely titled Boulder Politics — The Voice of Reason, a compilation CD that includes twelve original protest songs recorded by local musicians in October, just before the election.

Change we can believe in — or just people making change?

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