Hold On, Arizona. Oklahoma Has Had A Cement Mixer/Space Capsule For Years
WINGANON, Oklahoma - Social media is abuzz with posts about a cement mixer/space capsule that sprang up in the desert south of Phoenix earlier this week.
Artist Jack Millard says he saw the old cement mixer sitting near Interstate 10 near Casa Grande, Arizona and thought it looked like a space capsule.
The land owners told him the old mixer had been sitting there for at least 30 years. They helped him move it closer to the interstate where he added same paint, props and even an old parachute to make it look like it had just landed after re-entry.
The response was immediate. Local TV covered it, web sites in Europe posted about it, the Arizona Department of Public Safety even stopped by to make sure it wasn't an actual capsule.
People who live and drive in northeast Oklahoma instantly started comparing it to the lost cement mixer of Winganon, which "landed" in 2011.
The story of the lost cement mixer of Winganon is one of our favorite tales. The mixer was on the back of a truck that crashed decades ago. We've been unable to learn the specific date, with some accounts putting the wreck in the early 70s while others as far back as the late 50s.
The company that owned the truck recovered the vehicle, but left the mixer because it was full of dried -- and heavy -- concrete. Over the years people had painted it many times. Sometimes the paint was simple graffiti, other times it was artistic, including an American flag motif in honor of the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
In September of 2011, Barry and Heather Thomas stepped in to create something special. Barry wanted to celebrate his fifth wedding anniversary, so as a gift to his wife, the two of them and some friends turned it into a mock space capsule. The timing turned out to be interesting, because a NASA satellite was about to crash back to Earth.
Their creation has become a popular attraction in pasture land on the east side of Oologah Lake in Rogers County.
Thomas said he and Heather were already planning to spruce up the cement mixer/space capsule, but now that they've seen the new one in Arizona he says they need to step up their game.
"We can't have somebody's looking better than ours when ours is the original," he said with a laugh. "I think he did an awesome job."
He's impressed with Millard's version and doesn't think the Arizona artist is a copy cat. Instead, he thinks Millard got the same kind of inspiration he and his wife did. "When you see an old cement mixer it seems like such a natural fit to want to turn it into a space capsule."
Thomas said he and his wife were already planning a pizza party with friends to refresh the Winganon capsule and the new attention has inspired them to move forward.