Huge Australian Steer Goes Viral (But Pssst … There’s A Bigger One In Canada!)

Knickers the steer has caught people’s interest, around the world.

The 6’4″ (194 cm) steer is so much bigger than the cattle he lives with that he has become an Internet sensation. Knickers lives in Australia and weighs 1,400 kilograms. An average bull weighs about 1,100 kgs.

Tyne Logan, at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) told reporter Jacqueline Lynch about an enormous Holstein Friesian steer he had seen. She went along to see for herself just how big Knickers is. On the ABC website, she says Knickers was “pretty intimidating when all of his 1,4000 kilograms first came lumbering through the gate towards me.”

She posted some photos of him on the Internet, and people became so interested in the story, Knickers went viral (meaning he became famous online). However, some people were skeptical and wondered if the steer was really as large as he seemed. Were the images Photoshopped? “He definitely hasn’t been Photoshopped … that is his size,” owner Geoff Pearson told the ABC.

A day or so after Knickers became internationally famous, CBC News ran a story about Dozer, a Canadian steer that lives at the Kismet Creek Farm animal sanctuary near Steinbach, Manitoba. Dozer is a little more than an inch taller than Knickers.

Raelle and her husband Karl Schoenrock have been rescuing farm animals since 2013. In 2017 they opened their sanctuary–which has 90 animals in it–to the public, but they couldn’t afford advertising to encourage people to visit. After the Schoenrocks found out about Knickers, they let the local media in Steinbech know about it. To their surprise, the media were very interested in the enormous, sweet-tempered animal.

They have had calls “from The New York Post, and emails from and major American new networks,” Raelle Schoenrock told TKN in a text message. “That’s when we really started realize this giant steer phenomenon was becoming a big thing in the media. We were never trying to compete with Knickers or pit Canada against Australia. … We were honestly just hoping that we’d get some local exposure for our farm sanctuary and never expected Dozer to become a household name.”

The Schoenrocks were concerned that too many people would flock to the sanctuary to meet Dozer, but Raelle says the crowds haven’t been too overwhelming and “everyone was very respectful. The safety and well-being of our rescues is always our first priority, so we were relieved that the public seemed to understand that.”

Raelle said that Guinness World Records has contacted them, because Dozer may just be the biggest steer in the world. The Schoenrocks are looking into the process to apply for the world record.

“But record holder or not, we love Dozer for who he is and are lucky to have him as part of our farmily. (That’s our word for family),” says Raelle.

The Story Behind the Story: Why do things go viral?


The news about Knickers was originally posted by Jacqueline Lynch of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

CBC News article about Dozer, the Canadian steer who is an inch taller than Knickers:

People magazine article about Dozer:

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Using your own words, what does it mean when something (a story, song, image etc.) goes viral on the Internet? Why do you think the story about Knickers (and then Dozer) went viral on the Internet? Why do you think some things go viral and others don’t?

Reading Prompt: Making Inferences/Interpreting Texts
How might all of the media attention on Dozer affect the Kismet Creek Farm animal sanctuary near Steinbach, Manitoba?

Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning (OME, Reading: 1.5)

Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Language Feature: Pun
A pun is a joke that is created by a play on words. People often create puns by using words that sound similar to other. Sometimes puns are created by using a different meaning of a word to make a joke. For example, Raelle said that, “But record holder or not, we love Dozer for who he is and are lucky to have him as part of our farmily.” ‘Farmily’ is a pun because it is a play on words that combines ‘farm’ and ‘family’.

Here are some puns from Pick two of the puns below and circle or highlight the word(s) that makes it a pun.

  • How do turtles talk to each other? By using shell phones!
  • Why are teddy bears never hungry? They are always stuffed!
  • Why did the spider go to the computer? To check his web site.
  • Where do polar bears vote? The North Poll.
  • Why are playing cards like wolves? They come in packs.
  • What do you get when you cross a snake and a pie? A pie-thon!