MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Mac the Moose has had a boost and is once again the tallest in the land.
A crew of workers perched themselves high in a cherry picker and used ropes and a truck crane to carefully attach a new set of antlers on the roadside attraction in Moose Jaw, Sask., on Tuesday.
The larger rack means Mac is once again the tallest moose statue in the world.
The city discovered in January that Mac was a bit too short for the accolade, because a shiny silver ungulate sculpture in east-central Norway had surpassed him by 30 centimetres.
The revelation resulted in a plan to dethrone the rival by building Mac a bigger rack.
"I think he looks distinguished," Tourism Moose Jaw's executive director, Jacki L’Heureux-Mason, said Tuesday.
"No more papier mache dog."
The friendly moose feud between Moose Jaw and the Norway town of Stor-Elvdal made international headlines and provided fodder for jokes on late-night talk shows. "The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert dubbed Mac the papier mache dog.
Longtime Moose Jaw resident Ron Mitchell was on his way to get a haircut Tuesday when he stopped to see Mac.
"I think it’s ridiculous," Mitchell said of the attention the statue has received.
Rion White, a local taxidermist who volunteered to build Mac's new antlers, along with colleagues and friends, said the work took longer than expected. Mac had been bare-headed after his original rack was removed in June.
"We're building this giant, world-record rack," he said. "That was the biggest challenge ... this isn't something people do everyday."
White estimates the new rack is about two by three metres in size. He had wondered whether it would even fit Mac's head.
Once he saw that it did, he was ecstatic and relieved.
"It’s like, 'Yes, we did it.'"
L'Heureux-Mason said although it's bigger, Mac's new rack weighs less because of foam and other lightweight materials used to build it.
White, who airbrushed layers of epoxy on the antlers to create depth, still has to put finishing touches on the antlers before Mac's grand reveal on Thursday.
"It’s important to do it right," he said.
"It’s been way more work than I wanted, but now it’s up. I’m super proud and I can drive by this highway all the time and say, ‘I had a part of that."'