contest winners announced
of the pick-your-favorite-Herky contest were
drawn at random, in late July, from those who
sent in entries of their top picks. Christine
Steinbrech, IMU accountant, and Weidong
graduate research assistant for the Department
of Physiology and Biophysics in the Carver
College of Medicine, each won two Iowa football
tickets to the Sept. 4 Throwback Game against
Kent State, courtesy of the athletic department.
favorite Herky is the one that looks like Marilyn
Monroe. She loves “all the rhinestones
and one high heel pump.” Xu chose Dick
Tracy Herky because his clothes seem so
real and “it really amuses me every time
I stop by.” Xu generally enjoys all the
Herkys: “I like the parade. It adds value
to our everyday life on campus.”
few readers shared with us the Herkys they
would have liked to have seen on parade. Janet
Bell, secretary in urban and regional planning
in the Graduate College, thinks a Tarzan Herky
would be a hoot—especially in a little
loincloth with a vine going between his hand-wings.
Other possibilities, she says, include Santa
Claus Herky, Statue of Liberty Herky, and Cher
Herky (“in a sparkly, low-cut silver
gown” of course).
Chai, postdoctoral research scholar in the
Center for Global and Regional Environmental
Research, suggests that a Herky with a military
uniform on might not be a bad idea.
writer voted to create a President David Skorton
Herky—hopefully without a budget-chopping
hatchet in his hand!
People want their picture
taken with him. Kids strike his pumped-fist pose
in the streets. He has received fan mail from as
far away as Nevada and Ohio. He’s so loved,
15 more clones of him will appear in September.
He’s Herky on Parade. And he’s everywhere.
“It’s amazing how people have reacted.
We’ve been keeping copies of the e-mail we’ve
received from people all over the country, telling
us how much fun the Herkys are,” says Josh
Schamberger, president of the Iowa City/Coralville
Convention and Visitors Bureau.
A total of 75 Herkys—in honor of Kinnick Stadium’s
75th anniversary—popped up across the area
in May. Patterned after the Cows on Parade craze
(which started in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1998 and
moved to Chicago in ’99), each of the 6-foot,
2-inch, 150-pound Fiberglas Herkys sports a different
theme. The bureau and UI athletic department partnered
with the cities of Iowa City, Coralville, and University
Heights to organize the parade.
Picking a favorite Herky might be a task as difficult—and
perhaps as inappropriate—as choosing a favorite
child. But ask anyone on the street and they’ll
rattle off their top picks, Schamberger says.
The official web site, www.herkyonparade.com, has
been featuring weekly polls asking people to vote
for their favorites. Those chosen from each week
move on to quarterfinal, semifinal, and final pairings,
with the final Herky being given the People’s
Choice Award. The award will be presented to the
winning Herky’s artistic team and sponsors
at a fall celebration and auction—when some
Herkys will be up for grabs to the highest bidders.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen revealed that voters
in its Best of the Area promotion chose Galactic
Herky as their favorite. This Herky, standing on
the corner of Highway 6 and First Avenue in Coralville,
wears a black cape, holds a red light saber, and
resembles Star Wars’ Darth Vader.
Reginald Williams, a member of the Press-Citizen Writers’ Group, created his own top 10 list
for the Press-Citizen’s May 18 edition. Rough
Hewn Herky topped his list. It depicts a piece of
art sculpting a piece of art and is what Williams
described as “simply an amazing projection
of the artistic ideal.”
Schamberger even has an unofficial, anecdotal poll
of favorites. Everyone always talks about Hayden
Herky, which looks like Coach Hayden Fry. Bigfoot
Herky and Incredible Herk are very popular with the
kids, he says. And Reflections of U, the shiny, reflective
Herky on the Pentacrest, often gets kudos.
Several Iowa City and Coralville residents have
been scurrying around this summer to get photos of
themselves with all the Herkys. A few are even documenting
their quest on personal web sites—which are
featured in the “News and Events” section
are UI employees’ favorite Herkys:
Herky, Mythical Greek Hero
Herky, Gogh Hawkeyes!
“We continue to get 10 to 20 e-mails per day,” says
Rick Klatt, associate athletic director for external
affairs. “People are planning trips to football
games around it, and it’s generated a lot of
fun and awareness for the renovation of Kinnick Stadium.”
When organizers first started planning the Herkyfest,
about 40 percent of the 75 Herkys were designed by
sponsors. Many incorporated the sponsors’ businesses
into the theme, such as Harley Davidson Herky. However,
the rest of the ideas came from Iowa artists.
Organizers sent out requests for proposals to 1,500
artists, along with a packet of information that
said “we’re doing this crazy thing…send
in your design,” Schamberger recalls. Those
who won were paid $1,000 to make their ideas reality.
Because there were more than 300 designs that did
not get selected, and because the parade has become
enormously popular, organizers are rolling out 15
additional Herkys in September, around the stadium.
Ten will represent some aspect of Hawkeye history.
For instance, Fowl will be a Herky dressed up as
a referee from the 1930s, throwing a yellow flag.
The rest of the designs, though, are hush-hush until
“When we started this project, I thought we’d
be doing well if we got 30 or 35 entries. We had
to cap it at 75. We couldn’t physically coordinate
any more,” Schamberger says.
Those 300 extra designs do not even include design
suggestions from regular citizens. Doug Henninger
of Denver, Colo., wrote in to praise the project
and offer his theme ideas.
“Being an avid cyclist and one-week-a-year
Iowan on RAGBRAI, I am surprised that some artist
didn’t create RAGBRAI Herky,” Henninger
writes. “Also, someone could pay homage to
your cross-state rivals and create Cyclone Herky.”
Or maybe not.
A woman identified only as “Tim’s Mom” from
Council Bluffs told the story of her son who is a
first-year student here and a hospital patient who
has been waiting for a heart transplant for eight
months. She had been telling him about the Herky
parade and describing each of the statues to him,
since he could not visit them himself.
However, he discovered the Herky on Parade web site,
which has pictures of all 75, and can now enjoy them
Tim’s mom writes: “Thanks for bringing
a little slice of real life to a young man who is
stuck living in the hospital.”
Diane Zirtzman of Iowa City wrote in with a description
and sentiment familiar to many Herky-seekers, describing
her family’s love for the parade’s characters.
Her 5- and 8-year-old children are “constantly
searching for Herky statues” while she’s
driving them around the area.
“We hope to take pictures of as many of them
as we can,” she writes. “Thanks for such
an awesome tribute to our favorite mascot!!!! GO
by Amy Schoon