Slackie the inflatable steer, above, floated around Slacks Pond all summer until turning into the beach area and getting caught on a fallen tree by the beachfront property at 27 Greenlake Drive in Smithfield. Neighbors question the inflatable bull’s origin.
Mysterious steer in Slacks Pond surviving the winter

SMITHFIELD – Birds, fish ... and a bull?

While out on a routine walk around her neighborhood, Jeannine Peterson, of 74 Greenlake Drive, saw the plastic horns of a bull poking out from behind branches in Slacks Pond.

Peterson said she hadn’t noticed the “large statue” until her walk on Jan. 27, but a neighbor walking by told her he had watched the inflatable animal on a raft drift around the pond all summer and into the winter.

Now nicknamed “Slackie” by neighborhood residents, the inflatable riding bull drifted around the pond until finally finding a resting place outside the home of Ginny Solomon, of 27 Greenlake Drive.

Solomon, who moved from Cranston to the waterfront property on Greenlake Drive last August, said she and her family watched it drift in the pond, eventually turning away from the main body of water into the town beach area.

The view of the pond from her porch is always beautiful, Solomon said, and she loves watching the waterfowl move about Slacks in the morning. Overlooking the pond, she enjoys watching the gray heron that calls the pond its home, the ducks paddling in the water, and the bull, too.

She guesses that Slackie settled by a fallen tree to the left of her deck last October.

“It’s been sitting out there ever since,” she said.

The outer ring of its platform has dipped beneath the surface, but the inflated bull, with a seat and handle on its back asking those brave enough to give it a ride, was still frozen in place as temperatures began to rise this week.

Solomon said she reached out to the Slacks Reservoir Association on Facebook last November and asked if the bull belonged to anyone, but did not receive a response.

Greenlake Beach at Slacks Pond was open to the public during the majority of last summer, but the pond was closed in August for the remainder of year due to high levels of blue-green algae.

“It’s a private pond. There’s no way onto the pond without owning a home on the waterfront,” said Peterson, who lives on the opposite side of the street.

For now, Slackie rests by the Solomon home. Peterson said if he decides to stay, he may be invited to attend the annual Fourth of July celebration and fireworks.