On Sunday mornings, Kimric Smythe would appear at the feet of the Man wearing a cow’s-skull helmet, pushing himself on a little hand truck with a horse’s head on it. In his Java Cow alter ego, and would distribute coffee to all those who approached with mugs. The Cow would ask if you wanted cream or sugar. The proper response was to shout back, en masse, “No! We like it black!'“ and down the brew. In the early years, people would then jump in their cars and race to the local hot springs to celebrate the sunrise
This ritual was memorialized in the 1995 Burning Man ticket, which shows Kimric in full cow. The tradition continued until around 1996, when the Man was elevated off the desert floor onto a platform. “A solitary person would just get lost when the man became so big”, Kimric recalls describing why he stopped the ritual.