When Steve Newsom saw Friday’s story in the Winston-Salem Journal about an iconic mascot bull returning to its original location on Reynolda Road, he knew right away it was a case of mistaken identity.
Newsom, the owner of Forsyth Rooter Service Inc. and two other businesses, said he’s the owner of the original bull and that the fiberglass and steel statue is stored at his property on Salem Creek Drive. He bought the bull in November 2012 from Jo Cheek, the widow of Kenneth Cheek, a co-owner of the original Staley’s Charcoal Steakhouse House, where the bull had stood vigilant for years at 2000 Reynolda Road.
“I’ve had probably 50 phone calls today asking me why did I sell the bull, and other people asking him, ‘I thought you bought from Staley’s,’” Newsom said.
Newsom used a forklift Friday to move the bull from a storage shed so that a Journal photographer could take pictures of it. He declined to say how much he had paid for the mascot, which is widely remembered as “Winston the Bull” and “The Staley’s Bull.”
Kenneth Cheek Jr. of Yadkinville confirmed Friday that Newsom had bought the bull from his mother. “I was extremely upset with my mother when she sold it,” Cheek said with a laugh. The younger Cheek said his father died in 2009.
The Staley’s Bull stands 11 feet tall and weighs nearly 2,000 pounds. The bull was made in 1957 by Sculptured Advertising, a company in Sparta, Wis. It was bought for $6,000 at a restaurant trade show in Chicago for the original Staley’s Charcoal Steak House, which opened also in 1957. The restaurant closed in 2003.
Another mascot bull — with a similar appearance to the Staley’s bull — drew immediate attention Thursday when it was installed in the parking lot at Fratellis Italian Steakhouse, which opened in the old Staley’s location in 2013.
The owners of the Fratellis restaurant bought their bull in December from the owner of Thrift Way Meats and Produce Inc. at 653 Waughtown St.
Charlie Smith, the restaurant’s general manager, acknowledged Friday night that its bull is not the Staley’s Bull. One of the owners was mistaken when he said it was the original mascot bull, Smith said.
“This is not the original bull, which was bought by Kenneth Cheek,” Smith said, adding “but it was made by the same company.”
The red and white bull mascot stands next to the Fratellis entrance within a wooden fence. It has the same dimensions as the Staley’s Bull.
The Staley’s Bull had a long history in Winston-Salem. It disappeared from the city for about seven years as a concession to neighbors after a controversial expansion of the restaurant in 1968, the Winston-Salem Journal reported in 2011. It spent that time stored in a barn near High Point. Both its departure and return to the city in 1975 were chronicled in the pages of the Journal.
The bull again departed in 1990 but made occasional visits for holidays and special events. It spent some time on a farm in Wilkes County, then at a steakhouse in Elkin and later returned to Old Staley’s before its closure.
Newsom said he has displayed it in parades and at Newsom Home Realty in Clemmons, which his wife, Delana Newsom, owns and operates.
“She absolutely loves it,” Newsom said.