black handled knife beside cheese
A semi hauling butter went down near Sinclair. Rather then let the butter spoil, the towing company posted to facebook offering free butter to whoever wanted to pick it up. The line stretched half a mile. Photo: Simon Sapper

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Free 55-pound blocks of butter available at 6708 Zero Road, Casper, Wyoming, said the post. 4 p.m. Take as much as you want.

No further explanation needed.

On The Hook Towing became the unexpected proprietor of hundreds of enormous butter cubes after the company was called to pick up a downed semi-truck in Sinclair on Dec. 29.

The truck had been transporting them when it wiped out, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.

On The Hook’s owner, Bob Maxwell, said the company didn’t have details about exactly what happened to the truck, where it was going or who was driving it.

“Simply put, we were hired by their insurance company to dispose of the truck’s contents and tow the trailer to the salvage auction,” Maxwell said in an email.

A request for more information about the incident wasn’t returned by Wyoming Highway Patrol in time for publication.

So the truck was fated for salvage auction. But what of the cargo? It was doomed to waste away in a landfill somewhere, Maxwell said.

He took to Facebook that same day to see if anyone in Casper could take some of it off their hands.

A picture included in the post, which is now deleted, showed six piles of the stuff strapped to the truck trailer.

Before they knew it, hundreds of people had lined up.

The supply went quickly – some made off with five, six blocks of it — but the line kept growing. In Facebook comments, some Casperites said they waited in line over a half hour for their share.

On The Hook Towing ended up taking down the post to try to stem the flow of visitors.

“Once we were all out, people were still coming by,” said Kristen Moore, who works for the company.

Nanci Benson, who lives in Casper, scored three cubes that day.

After learning about the giveaway on Facebook, she called up a friend to see if they were game to wait in line with her.

“I said, ‘Hey, are you doing anything?’” she said.

There wasn’t much left when they got there. Any free giveaway is bound to inspire a bit of a craze, Benson said. She recalled the line still being about half a mile long by the time they left.

Caught up in the moment, Benson said she missed the “55-pound boxes” part of Maxwell’s post. She was shocked to discover she was not taking home sticks, nor tubs, but blocks just under a cubic foot in volume.

In the days after the giveaway, locals shared on Facebook how they’re rationing out their supply.

Butter can last up to a year in the freezer, if stored properly. But did you know, for instance, that canned butter has a shelf life of at least three years?

Others clarified their stock into ghee, which can be kept in the fridge or pantry.

Unsurprisingly, the cubes were frozen solid when Benson took them home. It took some patience — and elbow grease — to cut them down into more manageable portions. Benson had to heat kitchen tools in hot water to make a dent.

Some she flavored some with honey and cinnamon (her take on the well-known Texas Roadhouse spread), and some with garlic, parsley and onion for baked potatoes.

She’s been giving a lot of it away to friends and neighbors — “buttering them up”, if you will, she said with a laugh.