The story of Bruce, the Moose

Bruce is the beloved moose that can be found overseeing the bar at Rick’s.

Easter bruce 225x300 Bruce the Moose

Written by Wendell Fairbanks, Pete’s good friend, this is how Bruce came to Rick’s:

By the fall of 1968, Bruce the Moose, was residing in a dark and mysterious swamp (marsh), north of Lake Winnipeg in northern Canada. The area had been burned over by a forest fire so there were no spruce trees remaining, only the willows and other brouse that grow up after a fire. The habitat provided tremendous food growing in the water there for moose. Bruce, several years previously had reached sexual maturity and, like all good red-blooded Canadian Moose, had only one thing on his mind during the fall rut. Male moose, like male humans, have no sense during the rut and are only interested in the next cow. I first met Bruce about dusk, Sept, 1968.


The night was quiet and damp and mist was rising from the black waters of the swamp. The only sound that could be heard was from the wings of the mosquitoes the size of piper cubs. I was wearing a rubber rain suit over my hip waders to keep the mosquitoes from exsanguinating me. My hunting partner, occasionally rubbed a moose antler against the willows to simulate a bull moose rubbing his horns in the trees to warn off other suitors. It was almost dark when Bruce stepped from the dark timber at the edge of the swamp and proceeded towards us, breaking down willows with his antlers as he came. His desire was to chase away the bull who had the nerve to enter HIS territory to breed one of HIS cows!!

(At this point in the story, Bruce and Wendell encountered each other. To save Bruce’s dignity, we will just say that Wendell showed Bruce whose territory it really was)

Some 30 years later, Peter Matz and I were discussing his new sports bar near the ocean in North Carolina.  Peter was looking for “Male-type” decor.  We decided that Bruce, who was on loan to the Woolrich Outlet Store in Alliance, Nebraska, would have more excitement and a better life as overseer and mascot at Rick’s Restaurant & Sports Bar in North Carolina.

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