The Blundell family has always found a way to enjoy winter weather together, but their latest endeavor has led to more attention than they bargained for.
The family’s snow art – a full-size replica of a 1967 Mustang – was shared by Nebraska State Patrol Sgt. Mick Downing Sunday on Twitter. The Tweet has attracted thousands of views and generated stories of the creation on newscasts across the country with a few mentions overseas thrown in for good measure.
The snow sculpture was mentioned on the Weather Channel and AccuWeather apps, said Jason Blundell, and they have received word that it was carried on news broadcasts in North Dakota and South Carolina.
The car isn’t the family’s first snow sculpture; it’s a tradition they carry out whenever they have the opportunity.
Blundell enjoyed art in high school and in 2000 or 2001 he and his oldest daughter attempted their first snow sculpture in Colorado – a nine-foot Easter bunny, complete with paint to make it look more realistic.
Since then the family has continued the tradition of creating large Easter bunnies if there is snow that time of year, and one year did a six-foot jack-o-lantern, carved and lit, before Halloween. A pile of seven jack-o-lanterns, painted, carved and lit, appeared in their yard for Halloween one year as well, and they’ve even sculpted a giant toilet of snow.
“We’ve always talked about doing (the car),” Blundell said. “This is definitely the biggest one.”
The family worked on the project for about five hours Saturday, with the kids taking measurements from the real 1967 Mustang parked in the garage to make the sculpture as accurate as possible. During their outing, they were even questioned by a passer-by if they were playing a prank on someone because it appeared they were covering a real car in snow, Blundell said.
Cold and wet, the family called it quits before finishing some of the finer points of the sculpture, Jason said. The family shared it on their Facebook page with family and friends, and that’s where Downing first became aware of it.
“I was working and I thought ‘I’m gonna go check that out,’” he said.
As he admired the Blundell’s creation he decided it would be fun to add an intent to tow sticker to car, knowing the Blundells would enjoy the joke. He took it another step further, making a Snapchat video to send out to the other troopers and staff working his shift.
“This isn’t something you see every day,” Downing said. Before long a still photo and a video, in which he acts like he’s making a traffic stop on the unusual vehicle, were all over Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
“The prairie fire was lit,” Downing said. “I didn’t think it would blow up that much.”
NSP Public Relations Director Cody Thomas told Downing the Twitter video had half a million views by Monday afternoon, he said. The post had gone global by the time he talked to The Chadron Record Monday, reaching BBC, Fox News, ABC, and NT News in Australia, and Downing was receiving requests for interviews from various news outlets.
“That’s my punishment for being a smart aleck,” he laughed.
With up to 18 inches of snow expected today and tomorrow across the Pine Ridge, the Blundells should have plenty of material if they want to try and top their most recent sculpture.