Ames community to bid on Cy statues

Cyclone Classic by Hilde DeBruyne Verhofste at Lincoln & University greets visitors to ISU. The auction of five Cy statues was announced by Leadership Ames Class XXVII with the Ames Chamber of Commerce. The minimum bid for each statue will be $1,000.

Vanessa Franklin

The tour of the 30 Cy statues scattered around Ames will soon come to an end as five of the statues will be auctioned off in December.

The auction will take place in conjunction with Ames Chamber of Commerce’s Business After Hours at 6:45 p.m. Dec. 4 at the ISU Alumni Center. The auction is open to the public. The starting bid for each statue will be $1,000.

All statues must be paid for in full at the auction.

The statues came to life as a part of the Leadership Ames XXVII class through a project called CyclONE City. Each 150-pound fiberglass statue was individually designed by an artist with local connections. They are slated to last about 10 years if placed outdoors.

The five statues to be auctioned are Dia de los Ciclones, Cy-House Rock!, eCy, Farmer Cy and Cyclone Classic.

The money raised from the auction will be donated to local non-profit organizations, including Mainstream Living, which provides services to people with disabilities. Money will also go to Youth & Shelter Services and the Emergency Residence Project.

The leadership class also decided to create an endowed scholarship. The amount will be determined after the auction.

“I think people will want to purchase these statues to show off their Cyclone pride and their pride for the city of Ames,” said Makenzie Heddens, CyclONE City chairwoman.

The organizations were chosen after the leadership class had a nonprofit day. After visiting several locations, the class knew they wanted to benefit these groups, Heddens said.

The five statues will be auctioned of because the business sponsoring the mascots opted out of paying an additional $2,500 to own the birds permanently.

Businesses were given choices when sponsoring their statue. For $2,500, a business could purchase the statue, but they would have to commission their own artist to decorate it. For $4,000, a business could purchase their bird already designed by an artist commissioned by the project’s committee.

“I could see some people wanting to buy one of the statues for their business,” Heddens said. “I could see people buying it to even put it in their yards.”

Heddens said some of the 25 remaining statues will be moved indoors in hopes to keep them safe from weather and time.

Heddens was unsure about for what price people would be willing to buy the statues, but she said people have contacted the leadership class interested in buying one. Heddens said she thinks Cyclone Classic will go for the most money because it represents the “typical Cy.”

Hilde Debrunye Verhofste, the artist of Cyclone Classic, was excited to work on the project, especially now that her son is a freshman at Iowa State. Verhofste completed the Cy in her garage while sweating in the heat of the summer.

“I think it’s a good thing that the money will be going to students,” Verhofste said. “It was a really fun project to be a part of.”

Although Verhofste is usually a sculptor, she said she liked that the project invited the community to get involved.

Shawn Palek, the artist of Farmer Cy, said he also liked the challenge of the project. Palek, who enjoys doing airbrush work, said he especially enjoys working on unusual surfaces. 

“It’s cool to see that even after my work is done with a project that people still get excited about my work,” Palek said.

Palek said part of the fun of the project was watching his neighbor’s confused looks as he worked on the project on his patio.

He said he believes there is someone who will appreciate his statue, and he is excited to see the price for which it sells.

“All my artwork is for someone else,” Palek said. “I just have to find who that person is.”

Heddens said she is pleased with how the project has turned out and has enjoyed seeing people make challenges out of finding all the statues.

“Every time I drive around, I see people out taking pictures with the statues,” Heddens said. “I think it’s a fun way for Ames community to come together.”