Longtime Mardela Springs roadside celebrity Zorro dies

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Zorro, the long-horned gentle giant that attracted a devoted following among customers at Wright’s Market, has died at the age of 18.

“He became a landmark,” said owner Charles Wright IV. “He was something to give everyone a smile.”

Wright announced Zorro’s death on Feb. 4 on the produce market’s Facebook page, saying the steer had “moved on to where the pastures are always green.” Since then, fans have posted more than 1,000 condolences, remembrances and photos.

The market on Route 50 in Mardela Springs started out with goats, but Wright said his father, the late Charles Wright III, decided he wanted a new addition – a breed of long-horned cattle that originated in Africa.

“’I want one of those Watusis,’ and I told him, ‘Well go ahead and buy one’,” Wright said of his father.

Zorro came from a farm near Easton as a calf with 2-inch horns. By the end of his life, his horns spanned 6 feet.

Over the next 18 years, Zorro lived with about a dozen goats in the pasture next to Wright’s Market where he greeted customers and attracted attention to the market from motorists on Route 50. On a couple of occasions, Zorro and the goats managed to escape into the corn maze at the market, but when Wright called, Zorro came bounding out the corn with the goats following close behind.

“His biggest impact was on the thousands of children that visit our farm in the fall,” Wright said on Facebook. “They learned he could eat a whole ear of corn in one swallow. They learned Zorro had four tummies and how they all worked. But the most excitement came when he would greet them with that giant MOOOO!!!”

Wright said Zorro has been on YouTube, in magazines and blogs and was photographed by people from all over the country. He even had stuffed animals made to resemble him.

“He was the most photographed bovine this side of the Mississippi,” he said.

The pasture seems empty now without Zorro, Wright said, but he is already on the lookout for a new Watusi calf to help fill the void. “I’ll find one,” he said.

In the meantime, Wright said he is heartened by the outpouring of condolences from near and far. “It’s kind of overwhelming,” he said. “It gives you hope in mankind with all the compassion.”