Ron Drinkard walked about the scattered steel seeing what was left in the closing minutes of the steampunk competition at Saturday’s Tulotoma Art Trail.
“This is awesome,” he said. “This is something I have always wanted to do.”
Drinkard owns the four metal sculptures made from scrap metal and parts along the banks of the Coosa River and Merchants Alley. He even made the one based on a motorcycle.
The steampunk competition was designed to help draw more people to downtown Wetumpka for the Tulotoma Art Trail featuring artists and their wares Saturday.
The competition was Drinkard’s idea.
“We were looking for community involvement,” Drinkard said.
The four teams competing all have Elmore County roots. There was the brother-sister team of Ken and Angela Stiff from Stiff Construction who created their interpretation of the destroyed First Presbytrian Church steeple. A team of coworkers from DWI Custom Steel Fabrication created a Transformer-like “Guardian of the Coosa.” The father-son in law team of Johnny Justice and Dylan Daniel created a rocket someone jokingly called “Make Love not War.” Friends Jim Allen and Jeff Collier created the ancient Coosa River Ironcat.
“We caught one last month,” Collier jokingly said. “It’s been extinct forever so we decided to recreate it.”
The fun started at 8 a.m. and the metal artists were empty handed on supplies as the competition started from a pile of collected waste metal and parts.
“I went around everywhere collecting metal,” Drinkard said. “I have parts from scrap yards, from Robinson (Iron), just about anywhere I could find it.”
The contestants even contributed to the pile but they were not assured of getting the pieces they put in the pile.
“They have many of the parts I brought,” Daniel said of the DWI team. “I did bring these.”
Daniel was referring to the AR-style gun and rifle that flanked his rocket as were many of the small pieces he welded together to make the guts of his rocket that were visible.
“They alternated going to the pile to get their parts,” Drinkard said. “I folded up pieces of paper and they drew. One went to the pile and got a part, then the next and the next. They could only get a one part at a time.”
Doing it that way made it difficult for the metal artists to know exactly what they would do and they had only seven hours.
“This is hard but fun,” a member of the DWI team said.
The self-titled team Iron Warriors of Allen and Collier had an idea before they started.
“We knew we were going to do something Coosa River related,” Allen said. “We thought about a fish or Indian.”
According to Drinkard the contest will be an annual event and provide a rotation of new creations every year.
“The ones made this year will be auctioned off,” he said. “The owner can’t take them home yet. They will be on display on the pedestals we already have up there. After a year, the owners can take them.”