Hey, Spike! views soaring-into-the-sky things
Ryan Summerlin January 3, 2013
This week’s column offers insights to some really high-in-the-sky things.
Of the nearly 1,500 folks who got to see the White House Christmas tree in Dillon, it’s likely only two locals got to view the monster standing tall in the nation’s capital.
Dillon Valley residents Pooh and Ray Bishop were among those on hand when the Meeker-harvested Engelmann spruce came through town on its way east, with former-U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, D>R-Colo., at the wheel of the tractor-trailer rig.
A chance to visit son Warren, on tour as a lighting and projection specialist with “Les Miserables,” gave the Bishops an opportunity to see our state’s towering tree again.
Pooh reports those decorations from Silverthorne and Dillon elementary students and Troop 4415 Girl Scouts – columbines, pinecones, horses and town symbols and school logos – successfully made the trip.
“A 70-foot plus tree is a lot to get into a picture,” she adds.
The Dillon tree stop was part of the town’s first Hibernation Hoedown, directed by Matt Miano, the local event manager.
SDN staffer Jessica Smith’s report noted the attendance of Mayor Ron Holland, teacher Cynthia Bolt, Mark Jeffery and son Baylor and school chum Kaleb Moses.
Writing of another road trip, we pull up from the past Spike’s interesting journey through North Dakota, along the Enchanted Highway.
If you’re in that area sometime, it’s worth a diversion.
The Enchanted Highway is a collection of the world’s largest scrap metal sculptures constructed along a 32-mile stretch in the southwestern part of North Dakota.
Local artist Gary Greff started building the string of monster artworks in 1989, maintains the project, and plans more in hopes of attracting tourists. It appears to be working.
Last year, Greff opened a motel, which he calls the Enchanted Castle, at Regent, where the Enchanted Highway extends north to the Gladstone I-94 exit east of Dickinson.
Each sculpture has a developed pull out and several have picnic shelters. The highway, passing through scenic farm country marked by intermittent buttes, is a popular pheasant hunting area, and other wild game is abundant.
Here’s a list of Greff’s sculptures:
• The Tin Family (1991)
• Teddy Rides Again (1993)
• Pheasants on the Prairie (1996)
• Grasshoppers in the Field (1999)
• Geese in Flight (2001)
• Deer Crossing (2002)
• Fisherman’s Dream (2006)
• Spider Webs (in progress)
To give you an idea of how large these sculptures are, a gander of the Giant Geese in Flight shows them standing 110 feet high, stretching 154 feet in length, and weighing in at nearly 80 tons.
This sculpture is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “World’s Largest Scrap Metal Sculpture.”
Greff left his hometown as a teenager – like many others – and became a teacher and principal in cities across the Midwest. At 40 he returned home to Regent, and in 1992 hatched his plan to save the town.
“Our goal is to change Regent into the metal art capital of the world,” Greff tells NPR of persuading neighbors to contribute to the cause. “If nobody tries, we are a community that’s going to be extinct. I’m one person who will not let that happen.”
Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran,
former Climax miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-
winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years.
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