A Jasper icon has returned to town after quarter century hiatus.
The bull, which sat atop the Top Burger sign and was one of the first sights that motorists saw as they entered Jasper from the south on Highway 96, has been brought back by its owner, Stephen Killingsworth.
Killingsworth said that he has had the bull standing in a pasture at his farm on Recreational Road 255.
On Thursday, the nearly 50-year-old fiberglass bull was drawing double-takes as he sat outside of Richard’s Starter & Alternator Service on Springhill Street. Some people stopped to take a closer look, while others pulled out their cell phones and snapped pictures.
From 1965 to 1987, the bull was mounted on the sign in front of the very popular Top Burger drive-in, on the northwest corner of Highways 96 and 190. Today, the DuPont-Goodrich Federal Credit Union sits on that prime piece of real estate, but just a generation ago, the Top Burger was the place to be for hamburgers and malts, to see and to be seen.
Gloria Monzingo, who owned the Top Burger with her late husband, Noel Monzingo, said on Thursday that her brother-in-law found and purchased the bull in 1965 from Max Greer, who owned a ranch in Nacogdoches and had the figure displayed there.
For 22 years, the bull saw it all from his perch about 30 feet in the air, and sometimes he was even a part of the action. There are many stories around Jasper of boys climbing the sign and sitting atop the beast.
Unfortunately, there is evidence of cruelty to the old fella; he’s been shot numerous times and a close look reveals that his body is riddled with bullet holes. Even more cruel is the fact that his horns and ears were, at some point, cut off, and he was even castrated.
Other than the intentional damage, the bull is in remarkably good condition after being constantly exposed to the elements since at least the early 1960’s.
Monzingo pointed out that the paint seems to have faded a little over the years, as the once tan and black Brahma bull is now more white and grey.
Killingsworth, who acquired the bull when his father was contracted to tear down the Top Burger in the late 1980’s, says that he would love to have the horns and ears - along with the other missing parts - to be returned so that the bull can be restored.
Killingsworth said “They’re around here somewhere, somebody’s got them”. According to Killingsworth, there would be no questions asked if the items were brought to him.
Meanwhile, Killingsworth says he plans on leaving the bull on display in front of his alternator shop.