Hey art lovers, you are going to love this one.
Colorado Springs city officials say three junk cars, erected to create a gateway arch at the Copperhead Road Honkey Tonk and Saloon, are just that . . . junk and must come down.
The saloon owner argues the cars are redneck sculpture and should be left alone. In fact, Copperhead wants to expand its display with an assortment of “art” sure to infuriate neighbors near its two-acre property at Academy Boulevard and Rebecca Lane.
To read the saloon’s application for a variance to land-use rules, you might believe Copperhead is an art museum, not a saloon featuring barely dressed waitresses and a dancehall.
Those junk cars, the saloon owner says, are pure Americana — sculpture that “pays tribute to the blue collar working American.”
(Dang, I’m getting all misty eyed. How can neighbors be so unpatriotic?)
Anyway, Copperhead wants to keep its “Colorado Redneck Stonehenge,” comparing it to the famous “Cadillac Ranch” in Texas. (I’m guessing police like the arch, too. It’s a good landmark for officers racing to break up the latest brawl.)
Copperhead also wants to keep its neon palm trees. (Because nothing says Texas like neon palm trees.) And it wants to keep its vintage truck which “depicts the life on a Texas ranch.” (Where six lanes of traffic roar past in the heart of a community of more than 622,000.)
Copperhead hopes to add a towering fiberglass sculpture most will recognize as the “Muffler Man” wearing a cowboy hat, plus a rooster.
See more photos on my blog.
A “mega truck display” with three 1940s flatbed trucks standing on end atop huge poles would “represent the hard working farm and ranch families.” (I’m guessing after they wrecked their trucks up against the silo.)
Owner Marie Richard declined to talk to me about the application, which is under review by city planners.
But in her application, she defended the displays as creating “a popular destination for tourists and locals.” She noted she has spent $1.7 million renovating the property since buying it for $475,000 in 2009.
She compared her junk cars to a statue of champion cowboy Casey Tibbs on a bucking bronc outside the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, among other displays.
City planner Steve Tuck said the city opposes the plan for 10 junk vehicles.
“The vehicles are considered junk,” Tuck said. “Under our definitions, what they are proposing qualifies as operating a junk yard.”
Tuck said he recommends the Planning Commission allow the palm trees.
He’s unsure about the rooster. And the Muffler Man, er Cowboy, may exceed height rules.
“It’s been a lively conversation point in the neighborhood,” Tuck said. “Folks are concerned about the appearance of the cars and what it does to the neighborhood.”
Come on, Steve. Don’t try to understand ‘em. Just rope, throw, and brand ‘em.
I can’t wait for the hearing, likely in January.