The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa


VIDEO: Mechanical whatchamacallit in Swaledale

Thousands of riders stopped in Swaledale to take photos of Dale Caspers’ mechanical whatchamacallit, a truck-sized contraption he had cobbled together from old farm-machinery parts.

“I spent about two winters putting that together,” the 82-year-old farmer (and mad scientist) said before he leaned in for a yank on the machine’s horn. “Had so much snow I couldn’t find any more junk, so I had to quit. So what you see is what we ended up with.”

Caspers’ brother Orv is a sculptor of sorts, too – with a quirky streak of political humor. He stuffed the legs of a pair of jeans, scarecrow style, and shoved the waistband into a hay bale near his son Ed’s pig pen, right on the RAGBRAI route. To riders, it looked as if someone had been rolled up in the hay..

A sign nearby read, “We lost Newt (Gingrich). Now it’s Nancy (Pelosi)!” while the one across the street spelled it out more simply:  “Swaledale needs a bail out.”

Ed Caspers, who was staffing a food booth down the road, seemed amused if not entirely surprised by his dad’s recent project.

“Maybe he doesn’t have enough to do,” he said with a smle. “Dad’s always coming up with something.”

— Michael Morain

1 Comment

zazie, Jul 29, 2010 at 8:30 pm

More productive than many of us in winter.

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