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Bicycle sculpture proposed for park

Itascatur is raising funds for a “Tube Dude” sculpture for the new Heartland Trail access.


Members of Itascatur and the Hubbard bike group are pedaling – with a purpose.

Their energy is not directed in the traditional propulsion of wheels, but as marketers of quilt raffle tickets.

Proceeds from this endeavor will be used to purchase a whimsical sculpture of a bicyclist, bound for Red Bridge Park at the new Heartland Trail access.

Liz Smith spotted the “Tube Dude” in Sarasota, Fla., the sculpture made from Schedule 40 aluminum.

The avid biker would learn the cycle is built to survive the elements and comes with a lifetime warranty. It takes 3,000 pounds of pressure to bend the metal, so it’s unlikely to sustain damage.

The sculpture is life size, the biker aboard a racing frame with 27-inch tires.

Smith’s wheels began turning, as did her sewing machine mechanism. Shirts from past Headwaters 100 became quilt “squares,” Kristi York assisting in the endeavor.

The Headwaters 100 bikers, many of whom return year after year for the event, would be a prime customer base, Smith determined of raffle sales, with 500 to 700 riders heading into the hamlet each fall.

Smith approached the city Parks and Beautification Board who not only gave it a thumbs’ up, but expressed support for a second bike.

“The reaction has been very positive,” she said of “bringing sculpture to Park Rapids.”

The cost of the work is $2,400, plus shipping, tax and installation. The raffle tickets are $5 and will be sold at Amish Oak, where the quilt is on display, RiverBend and at the Headwaters 100 spaghetti dinner. Donations may be sent to Itascatur, PO Box 581, Park Rapids, MN 56470.

“Our hope is that the community will really get behind bringing the first sculpture to our parks,” Smith said. “If we can get 700 people to purchase a ticket, they will be the people who are bringing art to the park in Park Rapids.”

The quilt is the “vehicle” that can pedal this this into reality.

The official drawing for the quilt will be held Oct. 26 at the Soaring Eagle Ski Chalet.