Friday, January 10th, 2014—
People still ask whether it’s “real.”
“I tell them it’s real cool,” said Paul Humbracht.
Humbracht had the honor of driving on the Famous Idaho Potato Tour during both its 2012 and 2013 cross-country treks.
The giant spud, made up of a steel rib cage, lots of plywood and a substance known as “Hollywood concrete,” is so lifelike that it continues to suspend disbelief for all who see it.
“You have these pumpkins that grow to be 1,800 pounds. People figure, why can’t they do that with potatoes?” said Humbracht.
He has a new job now, driving a truck for an alcohol distributor back home in Fargo, N.D. But he’s happy for his two years spreading goodwill from Idaho.
There were minor scuffs and challenges. The truck is 2 feet wider than a standard load. Streets in cities such as New York and Philadelphia are narrow.
“And people gawk,” said Humbracht.
But even when there was trouble — the truck’s paint got chipped going through an East Coast toll booth — people were always eager to help. Often for free.
“Because they loved the truck so much,” said Humbracht.
Stops on the 2013 tour, which ended in November, included NASCAR races, the Kentucky Derby, and the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago.
“It was crazy getting the truck in there,” said Humbracht.
The time commitment was a little crazy, too. Each tour meant Humbracht and his fellow Tater Team members were on the road with the big spud for seven and a half months.
Kristie Wolfe was part of the 2013 Tater Team. She recalls scores of people all along the 30,000-plus mile route, hanging out of their car windows and snapping photos with their cellphones and iPads.
Once, in Pennsylvania, the big potato happened to pull up beside a car whose driver was a reporter. The reporter asked for an interview. The Tater Team said yes and put on the truck’s blinkers. The reporter interviewed the crew right in the middle of the road.
“We created quite the distraction,” said Wolfe.
The Idaho Potato Commission, working with Foerstel Design, created the Great Big Idaho Potato Truck to celebrate the commission’s 75th anniversary in 2012.
Schofield Design, a local firm, built the rig. The firm Evans Hardy + Young handled the public relations.
The truck has a mission beyond celebrating — raising money and awareness for the nonprofit Meals-on-Wheels program. There’s already talk of sending it out again in 2014.
Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2013/12/18/2934857/on-the-road-day-after-day-with.html#storylink=cpy
Wednesday, November 6th, 2013—
The Tater Team will miss these days!
In three days the Tater Team will arrive back home in Boise, Idaho! For the last seven months and four days the team has never left the Big Idaho Potato and in three days they will return to a much more normal (and much less exciting) life. Although the Big Idaho Potato will be in hibernation for the winter, while making local appearances around the beautiful state of Idaho.
Paul the driver will return home just in time to start coaching his sons third grade basketball team. I hope to hear that his sons team name is “The Fighting Idaho Potatoes!”
Kristie has a busy schedule ahead as she plans to reconnect with her very pretty puppy Roxy before jetting off to Hawaii and building one of her world famous tiny houses.
I will be looking for employment in the Boise area using the numerous skills that I have developed during this tour. Before settling down too quickly I will be enjoying the beautiful shores of Oahu over Christmas with my family and venturing to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with my best friend. I guess I just can’t shake the travel bug that the tour has provided me.
Summarizing the last seven and a half in a blog post would be nearly impossible and is something that will take years for me to do. I want to apologize in advance to anyone I come in contact with for the next decade of my life because they will hear about all of the memories made on this tour.
I sincerely hope you have enjoyed following along on Facebook, Twitter and our blog. It has been a great adventure and I am glad you all were along for the journey!
Tuesday, October 29th, 2013—
I’ve been looking forward to our stop in Asheville, NC for quite some time and not for their very extensive selection of beers. Instead it seems to be a hub of sorts for people who live in tiny homes. They have informed me that they may not have a higher population of folks who have downsized their living space to the size of most Americans master bathrooms but that they may just be the most vocal in our little community.
There isn’t a specific size that makes a home a tiny one but on average they are 186 sq ft. I built a traditional tiny home on wheels a few years ago out of reclaimed materials. It was meant as an experiment but I loved the forced simplicity immediately and decided to make this my permanent living quarters. I bought a half acre in Boise and built an addition on a foundation expanding my square footage to 230 and started to blog (tinyhouseontheprairie.net) about it. It was then that I discovered a bunch of like minded tiny house bloggers and started to connect online.
When the potato was scheduled to be at the WNC Fall Festival I reached out on Facebook to see how far away everyone lived. Turns out Laura LaVoie & Matthew Belitsos of 120squarefeet.com are from the area and Ryan Mitchell of thetinylife.com happened to be visiting them! They graciously picked me up after ‘work’ each day and we ate our way around the city and got to know each other better. They all were speaking at a tiny house conference in Asheville the day I had to be on the road to Raleigh. I was bummed I would miss it and Laura mentioned that Raleigh was hosting a Tumbleweed Tiny House workshop over the weekend too.
I had that in the back of my mind to look up the workshop on my day off but when we went to check in guess who was in the banquet room?! Of all the hotels in the city the Tumbleweed workshop was in MY hotel! I was able to sit in on portions of the workshop and talk with a bunch of folks who were interested in building there own small homes. To top it all off Tyler and I were able to meet up with a guy we had met vacationing in Reston, VA earlier in the tour who built a home in Africa.
Who knew that building a super small house several years ago would connect me with so many great people…what a tiny world
Monday, October 14th, 2013—One of the main questions we get asked along the way is “How long do you guys do this for?” and our answer is “for seven and a half months and we have _______ to go!” I remember the first time I used this line and it went something like “we are on tour for seven and a half months and have about seven more months to go!” Back then, it seemed so long, but time has flown by! The team now has about 25 days 6 hours and 37 minutes (as of posting) before returning to Idaho! What happened during the last seven months and where can I sign up to do it again??
During my time at Boise State University, it seemed that 7 months would go painfully slow, between writing papers and studying for exam it seems that I could not get through a week, let alone a month before the I was asking when the school year was going to be over. Now, we will have completed just under the amount of time a school year would take and never would have guessed it! I suppose that is the difference between learning and doing something that is fun and having a blast!
It is quite easy to look back on the last six and half months and see the differences, especially with television interviews! The nature of the job, we do A LOT of television interviews and the other day I stumbled upon the first practice television interview myself and Kristie did during training and all I can say is “YIKES!” I am glad our bosses let us go on the road after that! Now interviews are second nature to us, and very few questions surprise us like they all did in our first one.
Five, ten, even twenty years from now I am excited to look back and see what else I continue to learn about myself from this tour. For now, I am going to enjoy the next 25 days and 6 hours!
Monday, October 7th, 2013—
The second place pumpkin, weighing just over 1,400 lbs.
Over the last six months, the team has grown very accustom to the Great Big Idaho Potato. Whether it is displaying it at an event, doing a television interview about it or just waking up and looking at our window, seeing it no longer surprises us. It is the greatest job in the world being able to present this object to the country but the shock value has worn off on us. But our event on Sunday brought the shock value back to our job!
We brought our truck to the Great Pumpkin Farm in Clarence, New York. All we could say was WOW! This was the biggest and best pumpkin farm that I have ever seen. Not only did it have zillions of pumpkins but it also had a corn maze, a haunted house, a bakery, pumpkin cannon…everything you could ever imagine! We were happy to add our truck to the collection for the afternoon!We had heard rumors of a pumpkin “weigh off” but really had no idea what to expect, until the truck turned it’s first corner. There were probably 20 VERY, VERY large pumpkins. The world’s largest potato was grown at just over 11 pounds but these pumpkins were much larger than that. These pumpkins weighed anywhere from 1000-1500 pounds! I can’t imagine a potato that big (ok, maybe I can seeing how its on the back of our truck!) As the farmers presented their “babies” and the process of growing each we marveled in amazement. Our experience is with potatoes and the growing process that takes place largely in the ground so “babying” a few potatoes is difficult. These farmers keep a very watchful eye over a crop of maybe three pumpkins in hopes that one can get large enough to win the prize money ($5,000 on this afternoon) and the bragging rights.
While the farmers are watching over their pumpkins we continue to watch over the Big Idaho Potato truck and just as those farmers are waiting for their moment to display these amazing pumpkins to the public, we wait until the day we can display it in a town close to you!
Sunday, September 29th, 2013—
I read the biography of Milton S. Hershey about 10 years ago. The smallish city that I grew up in didn’t have a decent bookstore despite having the 2nd largest university in Idaho. So I read and re-read the 8 foot section of the library dedicated to business over and over again. So when we had a break in our schedule and our boss asked us if there was any place we wanted to go I didn’t hesitate and responded: Hershey, PA!
What I loved about Milton’s story was not only did he make a fortune from chocolate but he built an entire town from nothing. He made is first million by selling his caramel business to his competitor and introduced America to milk chocolate. He bought up a bunch of land in Pennsylvania and built his factory along with a street of houses for his employees in which he sold to them at the same price it cost to build it. During the depression when so many were without work Mr. Hershey decided to expand to provide jobs. When he inquired about a steam shovel on one of the work sites he was told it could do the work of 40 men. He responded “get rid of the shovel and hire 40 men.”
His real legacy and whom he left his fortune to in way of stocks was his school for boys. It’s has since expanded to both girls and boys, taking care of not only their education but their health and character. Every child that graduates gets a one hundred dollar bill and a Hershey bar and now college tuition.
During our stay we were able to get a guided tour through the city stopping at all the places I had read about. As well as make our own custom chocolate bars and participate in a chocolate tasting. We also were able to meet up with the incredibly cute Kissmobile! As I check Hershey, PA off my bucket list, I can’t help but think how sweet our lives are
Monday, September 16th, 2013—Everyday we spend in the Northeast the more I fall in love with it. However we got off to a rocky start. Going through the Massachusetts toll way we got wedged between two toll booths and had to back out on the freeway and take the express lane instead. We turned the little incident into a facebook competition, people who like https://www.facebook.com/BigIdahoPotatoTour and use the hastag #wedged are eligible to win one of three toy trucks next Sunday.
We got back on the road headed to the Hasbro Headquarters in Pawtucket, RI where a giant Mr. Potato Head stands with open arms. There aren’t many people who have jobs as cool as ours but working with toys all day has got to be up there. Everyone in Rhode Island were so friendly and all the kids who came to see the potato really couldn’t have been more excited.
We’re in Portland, ME now to get a few cosmetic repairs done from the toll booth damage. It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen yet. With the potato in the shop I had some free time to explore the city and neighboring islands. Tyler even carved out a couple hours from watching football to join me on a lobster boat Lucky Catch. It was awesome learning about lobster and fishing in general. But the real fun was bringing up the cages to see what was inside. Along with lobster there were several crabs and we did get a rare chance to see a female lobster with thousands of eggs on her belly. Not only did we catch the lobster but you got the choice to buy one at the end and take it to a restaurant nearby and have it cooked for you, which of course we did. Talk about fresh!
If that weren’t enough they also took us by the most photographed lighthouse in the world that George Washington himself signed off on the building plans. This city is filled with so much history and great food I’m afraid the boys are going to have to drag me away.
Wednesday, September 11th, 2013—
Home is very much a relative term for us these days. When I catch myself saying “After this event we are going home” I often mean to the local Holiday Inn where you can usually find the team outside. No its not the traditional sense of home but it works well for us.
I have the opportunity to go back to my home, at least where my parents currently live, outside of Tacoma, Washington about a week and a half ago. It was a homecoming, not for me but for my twin brother who was returning from Africa after six months there. It was a great cause for celebration and we are were very happy he was home! During my trip home, we went up to the University of Washington to watch the Huskies play our alma mater Boise State.
Before the game, myself and my brother, along with 15 of our closest friends from Boise ascended on the sea of Husky tailgaters in the lots surrounding the stadium. The number one thing I heard outside of “Broncos Suck!” was something regarding Idaho Potatoes. These people had no idea what pandora’s box they were opening by mentioning that to me. Of course being part of the Tater Team I was going to reinforce the notion that Idaho truly has the best potatoes in the entire world! Although for those hours we were bitter rivals, a random thing connected us, Idaho Potatoes. Of course, I carried extra postcards with me and the Husky fans could NOT believe their eyes! Every person I talked to about Idaho Potatoes (which seemed to be quite a few) wanted to see the truck. They were as disappointed that the truck wasn’t there as I was with the outcome of the football game.
Despite losing (and I mean LOSING!) the football game, it was very cool to understand that Idaho Potatoes truly is one of the most recognizable brands anywhere in this country, with or without the World’s Largest Idaho Potato on a truck with me!
Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013—
Happy Labor Day Everyone!
I’m am writing this post from my beach front balcony in Virginia Beach, VA. The team is relishing a weekend off after a crazy fun but busy month.
This past week we had BIG events and very warm welcomes. Our first stop led us to Springfield, MO to the World’s Largest Fork. The Fork is nearly as tall as the Noble & Associates building that it stands in front of. It just so happens that the lush vegetation at the base of the fork is sweet potato vines! Noble & Associates are the brilliant minds behind some of the worlds largest brands. I absolutely loved picking their brains and they were so generous to indulge me.
The next day we woke up early and drove a few hours to Collinsville, IL to the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle. The bottle is an old water tower that represented the Brooks Catsup factory down below. Many years after the factory closed the tower was in disrepair and in danger of being tore down. But new resident Judy DeMoisy rallied and raised enough money to restore it and saved a giant piece of Americana. Judy and her very talented, graphic designer, husband Mike Gassman do an incredible service for the entire town. They host an annual Catsup Bottle Festival and have designed loads of Brooks Catsup souvenirs.
We had so much fun at these stops and we hope to make more oddity type stops in our last couple months on the road. I discovered an awesome app http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/12188 that shows you what your close to anything that may be interesting.
Tuesday, August 27th, 2013—
I’d never heard that phrase before in my life, as I’ve never followed NASCAR. It makes sense, keep your car from hitting the outside wall. As the driver of an oversize vehicle on this tour I AM well familiar with keeping both sides clean. Narrow bridges and construction zones are a surefire way to quicken my pulse and put a knot in my stomach. lol. I’d like to think that its the same feelings Brian Scott the driver of the number 2 in the nationwide series feels when he cuts it a little close, but I’m sure when your’e inches away from the wall traveling 120 mph, it’s a little more extreme.
The “Tater” team got the experience of a lifetime this weekend by being treated as VIPs at our first NASCAR event. To sum up the weekend, I can only use the term “Wow”. Picture if you will, 150,000 people converging on the small town of Bristol TN, and the Big Idaho Potato and its team right smack in the middle of it all. We got to be a star in the “hauler” parade which is unlike any parade I’d ever seen or heard of. A night time parade at 4 times the speed of any other we’ve been in, while fireworks shoot off in the back ground every mile or so? Count us in. Combine 4th of July, Mardi Gras and the Kentucky Derby parade and you might end up with a vague idea of what it was like.
Then we set up outside the Bristol Motor Speedway, a Greek Colosseum of a race track. We met our driver Brian Scott and watched him meet his adoring fans and sign a bunch of autographs. He and his fiance and daughter welcomed us into their tour bus and fed us as he prepared himself for the race. After dinner we made our way into the track and to the area where we would watch the race, the “pit”. I know NASCAR fans everywhere were eating their hearts out as us NASCAR newbies got to experience a view that many lifers never get. He and his crew welcomed us and made us feel a part of the team. We got to wear the headsets and listen in to the pit crew and the drivers chatter about how the car was handling and how the tires were holding up.
That enough to make “ya’ll” jealous? well if not here’s a little more. We got to see Jeff Gordon, Richard Petty and several other NASCAR celebs speak, as well as seeing many peoples favorite drivers cars. But wait, there’s more…We got to hang out and talk to RCR’s head honcho Richard Childress. Okay, you can pick yourself off the floor now. We can’t begin to thank everyone who had a hand in making all this happen. Frank Muir, Laura Martin, Brian Scott and his family and crew, Don Odiorne, Sue Kennedy, Food City and anyone I missed, we thank you more than words can say.
I will end this with a couple thoughts…
First of all i apologize for my seeming to jump from subject to subject. I am still completely overwhelmed by the experience, sensory overload. Second I know I’m leaving a ton of what we did and saw out of this blog, if I wrote it all it would be a novel. Third and lastly, I love my job! Even though the “Tater” team put in a long and exhausting work week, it is all worth it for events like this. I can now feel the sense of belonging when I hear the phrase “gentleman start your engines”. NASCAR you now have three new fans…
Wednesday, August 21st, 2013—I have few passions in my life. As I have gotten older these passions have changed but some of these passions have remained ever constant. Church has been the most important passion of mine for as long as I can remember and I would not have it any other way. The second ever present passion in my life has been sports. Sports have allowed to me to feel the utmost excitement and the heartbreak of all heartbreak. I wouldn’t have this any other way (although Kristie has never understood this!).
This tour has allowed me to rediscover my passion for sports. Now you ask, how is that possible?!? Aren’t you traveling the country with a potato?!? That is a very true statement. One of the main questions we get asked is “Do you guys get days off?” The answer to the question is yes, well most weeks. We each chose to do different things with the time we have from the truck. Krisite finds a local fabric store and sews dresses and I look for local sporting events to attend. So far I have been able to attend an Indiana Pacers playoff game (with Paul), a Washington Nationals baseball game, a United States Men’s National Team soccer game in Salt Lake City and among others a NASCAR race in Bristol, Tennessee this weekend. I have hit all of the major sports, MLB, NBA, NFL, soccer and NASCAR, minus hockey.
Why do I tell you about my love for sports and all the awesome things that I get to do while on the Big Idaho Potato Tour? It is so you too can combine your passions. A new found passion of mine is traveling. I mean I have always enjoyed seeing new places but this job takes that passion to a whole new level. I have been able to combine my passions for sports and traveling and it is something that I will deeply cherish from this tour. Maybe your passions are food and family. Combine them and have a monthly family cookout. Maybe your passions are serving and people, serve at a local homeless shelter and combine them! While not only having the time of my life traveling the country and having such a great time including at sporting events, I have learn to seize the opportunity to maximize my passions by combining them and seeing what happens, and it has been very worthwhile! Try it and see!
Monday, August 12th, 2013—
We’re more than halfway done with this tour and it’s starting to feel like we have been everywhere! While I do enjoy the dining and entertainment at our big city stops, I really feel at home on our small town visits. We’ve been to a few to towns where the cows outnumber the people and you can’t help but feel that this is the heart of America. A place where everyone knows their neighbors and they all go out of their way to make strangers like us feel welcome.
We celebrated the 125 year anniversary of a town of about 400 in Lindsey, NE last month. They had arm wrestling and beard growing competitions as well as a talent show and BBQ cook off and a vintage tractor parade. Yesterday we visited Seymour, WI home of the hamburger which had a similar feel, ketchup slip & slide, cheese sculptures, and of course the country’s largest hamburger.
The little ghost town where I built my tiny house is on the outskirts of Boise use to be one such place. A small but bustling ‘tent city’ called Orchard built around the railroad. There is a large water tower that still stands although very much in disrepair. It was used to fill the Steam Engine Trains which had to stop every 40 miles to fill up again. As technology advanced and the trains no longer need to stop in Orchard the town slowly fizzled to what it is now.
I’ve seen first hand how some tiny towns are built around certain oddity’s from The Largest Egg in Mentone, IL to The Largest Hamburger in Seymour, WI, I can’t help but wonder when the Famous Idaho Potato Tour retires, what the Largest Potato in my backyard might do for my little town….
Tuesday, August 6th, 2013—It has been said “that without randomness, life would not be worth living.” Ok, I just made that up but if you really stop and think about it, how true of statement is that?
We encounter some pretty random moments on this tour and so often they end up being some of our favorite moments of our stops. I encountered one of these moments during our recent visit to Cincinnati, Ohio. We had a excellent time in Cincinnati and surrounding cities raising support and awareness for Meals on Wheels but my favorite moment happened around midnight on our third night there.
I was in my room at the Holiday Inn in Blue Ash, Ohio and I received a text from a good friend who lives outside of Nashville, Tennessee and all it said was “I am at your hotel” obviously I was very confused and thought he meant to text another Tyler in his phone. After exchanging a few confused text messages, I finally figured out that he was literally at my hotel. They happened to be driving through Blue Ash, Ohio on their way to Kings Island (an amusement park located close by) when they saw the potato! It’s pretty hard not to notice and seeing how there is only one of us, he instantly knew that he had hit jackpot! I equated it to the Batman signed that flew in the air so people would know he was needed. I was able to see a dear friend of mine and spend time with him until the wee hours of the morning.
We know that many of you have had the ultimate moment of “awesome randomness” as we have stopped at a event you attended, driven along side of you or brought it to your normal lunchtime stop. We treasure the ability to bring you awesomeness randomness to brighten your day, but it was awesome that every once in awhile the Big Idaho Potato can bring the tater team some as well!
Sunday, August 4th, 2013—daho Potato Commission’s iTuber Sweepstakes Official Rules
THE FOLLOWING CONTEST IS OFFERED IN THE UNITED STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (“D.C.”). DO NOT ENTER THIS CONTEST IF YOU ARE NOT EIGHTEEN (18) YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER AND IF YOU ARE NOT A LEGAL RESIDENT OF AND CURRENTLY RESIDING IN THE UNITED STATES OR D.C. THIS SWEEPSTAKES WILL BE GOVERNED, CONSTRUED AND EVALUATED ACCORDING TO IDAHO LAW.
IDAHO POTATO COMMISSION’s iTuber Sweepstakes OFFICIAL RULES
Sponsored by Idaho Potato Commission (herein “Sponsor”)
SUBJECT TO ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.
ELIGIBILITY: This Contest is open to legal residents of the United States and the District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older. Employees of Sponsor, Idaho Potato Commissioners, and agencies, agents and employees of the State of Idaho and all other service agencies involved with design, execution or fulfillment of this Contest, and members of the immediate families (defined for these purposes as parents, children, siblings, and spouse) or households (whether related or not) of any of the above are NOT eligible to enter or participate in any manner.
AGREEMENT TO OFFICIAL RULES: Participation in this Contest constitutes entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to these Official Rules and Sponsor’s and Administrator’s decisions, which are final and binding in all matters related to this Contest. Winning a prize is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth herein.
HOW TO ENTER: The entry period begins August 1, 2013 and ends at 11:59 p.m. PT on August 30, 2013 (“Contest Period”).
Enter the contest in one of three eligible ways:
1. Twitter: Follow @idahopotato and @bigidahopotato on Twitter. Tweet about your favorite way to eat Idaho potatoes. Use #iTuber in your Tweet.
2. Instagram: Follow @idahopotatoes and @bigidahopotato on Instagram. Post a photo or video telling us your favorite way to eat Idaho potatoes. Use #iTuber in your post.
3. Facebook: Visit http://on.fb.me/16uVQkV and submit your favorite way to eat Idaho potatoes; use #iTuber in your submission.
Only one entry per person will be considered, and only winner per household will be selected.
WINNER SELECTION: At 5:00pmET on Friday, August 9, 16, 23, 30, 2013, one entry will be randomly selected to win an iPad.
PRIZES AND ODDS: Four (4), iPads will be awarded to four different winners (4). All federal, state and local taxes, and all other costs associated with acceptance or use of the prize, are the sole responsibility of the winner. Odds of winning any prize depend on the number of entries received. Winners will be notified via Instagram with further instructions to complete a W-9 form and affidavit. Unclaimed prizes will not be awarded.
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LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY: In the event of a dispute regarding the identity of an online entrant, such Entry will be deemed to be made by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at the time of entry. “Authorized account holder” is deemed as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, service provider or other online organization that is responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address. Neither Sponsor, Administrator, nor its agencies are responsible for late, stolen, illegible, misdirected, or non-delivered entries; or for lost, interrupted or unavailable satellite, network, server, Internet Service Provider (ISP), Web site or other connections availability, accessibility or traffic congestion, or miscommunications, or failed computer, network, telephone, satellite, or cable hardware, software or lines, or technical failure, or jumbled, scrambled, delayed, or misdirected transmissions, or computer hardware or software malfunctions, failures or difficulties, or other errors of any kind, whether human, mechanical, electronic or network, or the incorrect or inaccurate capture of Entry or other information or the failure to capture, or loss of, any such information. Neither Sponsor, Administrator, nor its agencies are responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by Web site users, or by any equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Contest and assume no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect or delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to, or tampering with or hacking of Web site.
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Tuesday, July 30th, 2013—
getting two flat tires changed at the park.
Each week we share stories about our incredible adventures and the fabulous people we meet. This past week was no exception with events in Waynesville, NC and the Cincinnati, OH are our hosts made us feel right at home.
So this week I thought I’d share a little insight to the challanges that go with hauling a 6 ton potato around in case you ever have the inkling First and foremost is PERMITS since our potato is built to scale it is a bit oversize width wise. For all you non truckers out there this means we have to apply for permits for every state, city, and sometimes counties that we drive in. Permits are fickle little things that vary widely from state to state full of fine print and restrictions. For example ‘if last Friday was a holiday you can’t travel the following Sunday.’ Lucky for us we have a great company that helps us with a lot of that.
Parking is no easy task either although our driver Paul makes squeezing into tight spots look like a breeze. We stay in hotels every night since the oversized potato can’t travel after dusk. Tyler does all that he can when booking the rooms, first he asks if the hotel had truck parking then he double checks using google’s satellite view. Even still we sometimes show up and can’t reasonably fit and have to search for another spot. In this case we usually ask a nearby business if we can use there lot, once they see what we’re driving they never say no
Whether it’s squeezing us into a completely booked mechanic like Terry’s North Coast Auto did or the local cops who often times block traffic for us to get out of a spot. The amazing thing about this truck is how strangers rally around to help us when we need have what we call #potatoproblems.
P.S. Your wondering about #taterhaters? That was a trick; No one hates potatoes!!
Wednesday, July 24th, 2013—I have been on many trains in my life. Trains through the Cascade Mountains and trains up and down the Eastern Seaboard. But I have never rode a train on front of the lead engine. Literally as the tater team rode the Great Smokey Mountain Railroad through the BEAUTIFUL scenery of Western North Carolina, I was standing on the front of the lead train that was pulling all of these cars. I leaned over to the conductor that was standing up there with me and said “Kurt, never in a million years did I ever think I would stand on the front of the train while we moved,” Kurt responded “I bet you get that a lot with your job!” I never realized how true that was.
Kurt brought a reminder and a different perspective to this job that I had never really thought about before. Before this tour there are so many thinks that “I would never get to do this in a million years!” the first of which would be traveling around the country with the Big Idaho Potato! As we just passed the halfway mark of our tour I look back on it with a new perspective, the front of the train perspective. From up there I felt invigorated and thankful. Even when this job doesn’t bring a once in a lifetime moment, the energy that I wake up with continues to reach new levels each and every day. Knowing that when the tour is done, many of these opportunities will go back into the “I’ll never get to that in a million years” bin, so the next three and a half months I want to wake up every day with the attitude and energy I had at the front of the train. So as we bring each of you a once in a million years moment seeing the Big Idaho Potato, the tater team hopes to join you in checking off great adventures along the tour!
Monday, July 15th, 2013—
The tater team doing potato experiments at Union Station
It seems our events this past week brought out the kid in all of us. Our first stop was in Topeka, KS at their state of the art Discovery Center. The almost brand new facility has both indoor and outdoor hands on learning around every corner.
Next we headed to Kansas City, MI where much to our delight our boss Laura aka “Tater Mom” flew in for a few days from Idaho. We joined forces with Meals on Wheels and Platte Valley Bank to provide an afternoon of fun in the sun with a picnic, games and live music at the Platte Senior Center.
We finished the week parked outside the massive Union Station. The potato truck did it’s job drawing in quite the crowd to get their picture next to it. The folks at Union Station we’re great hosts. We got to tour the pirate exhibit which was unbelievably cool and definitely a must see if your in the area. Then we spent a few hours in the Science Center where it’s impossible not to have childlike curiosity as you explore with all your senses.
While writing this post I was reminded of a quote “There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.” Hopefully we can continue to keep that perspective through the rest of our travels.
Tuesday, July 9th, 2013—
Awesome firework shows were a constant happening this last week!
This last week brought a lot of booms and very bright lights, the Big Idaho Potato celebrated the country’s independence for four days! We had the privilege of being teamed up with J&M Displays who put on some of the most fantastic fireworks displays I have ever seen! The big show was “Big Bang Boom Fest” in Norfolk, Nebraska where 20,000 people saw the biggest fireworks show I have ever seen. The team had the best view of all the people as we watched the 30 minute display from on top of our potato.
Our travels brought us to three towns in Northeast Nebraska along with Norfolk we visited York and Lindsay. Although these were some of the smaller towns we have visited so far on tour, they were some of our favorites stops! I came away from our four day celebration with two things that universally make people happy, one is the Big Idaho Potato and the other is fireworks. No matter what kind of mood people had been in the potato brought a smile to their faces and the fireworks that J&M displayed at each location just made that smile even bigger.
We have been coast to coast from New York to Los Angeles and now heading back to the east coast, and some of the best interactions we have had have been in the towns of less than 2,000 people like Mentone, Indiana and now Northeast Nebraska! Many people will never get the opportunity to see and explore these towns and there residents as we do and it just puts into perspective how awesome this tour is and we are happy you are following along for the ride!
Sunday, June 30th, 2013—
This Sunday I wake up in my Denver hotel room, my heart is still overflowing with gratitude and hope. Yesterday we had the pleasure of working the Loveland, Colorado’s Relay for Life. If your not familiar, Relay for Life is a volunteer fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Teams take turns walking around a track for 48 hours.
The enthusiasm of the teams and organizers was contagious. It was hard to believe that any one of them could be battling cancer. In the opening ceremonies we we’re all touched when a beautiful 27 year old mother got up to speak about her fight with cancer. She went through radiation while pregnant only to find that it had spread and had to go through it again. She was cancer free for a year but has recently found out it is back. In spite of all the suffering the support and joy for life was palpable during the survivor walk.
What’s interesting is how we got to this event in the first place. A few weeks ago we we’re visiting the Big Texan in Amarillo. After the event Tyler and I went to go watch some music that was playing in the lounge. There were just two other tables of people when we arrived and one of them suggested that we all to sit together. There were a couple of locals and then there was Dale and Bernie from Colorado. We chatted and laughed for hours and through our conversation we discovered that Dale is on the survivors board for Relay for Life and her husband Bernie is a cancer survivor annnd it just so happened that we were going to be in Denver at the same time of the event annnnnnd the theme this year was BIG!
It always amazes me that sometimes things seem to just fall perfectly into place and thats what we call The Luck of the Truck.
Tuesday, June 25th, 2013—
We presented Sister Alice Marie with a replica Big Idaho Potato Truck for her birthday!
Boy was it good to be back on our “home” coast! After spending the better part of the two and a half months on the tour on the east coast, it was good to see the western states on this beautiful country. Our events had us in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City! Three very different cities but they had one thing in common, a LOVE for the Big Idaho Potato.
In Los Angeles, my mom flew down and met us there, it wasn’t to hard to convince her to leave the gloom of Seattle for the sunshine that Southern California had to offer. She accompanied us on our event with St. Vincent Meals on Wheels where we met a lady who none of us will soon forget. Sister Alice Marie who has ran the Meals of Wheels chapter there for just under 40 years treated was an amazing women! They serve over 4,700 meals A DAY! Their reach now stretches across Southern California because Sister Alice does not turn anyone away. She was also celebrating her birthday so we were able to present her with a replica of our potato truck which is now proudly displayed in his office (she told us that when she was young she played with trucks instead of dolls). The truck was a perfect birthday gift and to extend our thanks of everything that they do to help the community of Los Angeles and our partnership with Meals on Wheels! After that we were off to Vegas and Sister Alice told us she would be thinking of us often, and we told her not to worry!
As soon as we pulled onto Las Vegas Blvd, it was a reaction we had never seen before on this tour. People see some weird things in Vegas, but our Big Idaho Potato still stopped them in their tracks. I am not sure the potato appreciated the 110 degree weather that was brought on us, but I sure did!
After seeing my mom in California, it was great that the majority Kristie’s family was able to come down and spend time with her in Salt Lake City (a relatively short drive from her home town of Pocatello). She has seven nieces and nephews there and they LOVED being able to go inside the potato and touch it. Her nephew Hiram is undoubtedly our biggest fan! His four year old enthusiasm really brought it home when saying the potato makes people as happy as a kid in a candy store!
Unfortunately, this West Coast swing is the last on our schedule and we won’t be back until we return home to Boise in November, but you never know where you may see us!
Sunday, June 9th, 2013—
I find myself in conversations with new friends on the road referring to The Trucker (Paul) or The Kid (Tyler) and often get asked what they call me. Which I don’t really know so I’m instituting The Girl myself. When I explain that we all travel together in the cab of the semi for 7.5 months solid with no vacations, they exclaim “this should be a reality show!”
Since camera’s are not following our every move (thank goodness) I thought on this week’s post I would give you a little better idea of what our day to day looks like.
I must say that the three of us individually are more different than we are the same, contrary to popular belief, this results in very little drama. Not to say it’s not interesting, it is but drama not so much. For instance we all represent different generations The Kid is in his 20′s, I am 30 and The Trucker is in his 40′s. Since I am in the middle I often act as a translator bridging the gap when there is confusion with slang terms and pop culture between The Kid & The Trucker, which proves quite entertaining.
We usually travel half the week which is spread across several days. After two months on the road we have kinda established a routine. The kid will never be a minute early to our take off time, he values every ounce of sleep. We load up our luggage in the potato, try to get the permits situated and then he climbs on to the top bunk to continue his slumber. Since I already have been up for a few hours I will sit shotgun for a couple more until I’m ready to take the bottom bunk and listen to a book. The trucker then promptly changes the radio station from country to rock and not only sings every song like he is in a packed arena but also plays the drums on the dash and air guitar solos.
Getting food on the road presents a challenge in itself. Since there are not a lot of options and the difference in our food preferences vary from fried to fresh. I am definitely the most particular when it comes to food, I more often than not decide to hold off until we arrive at our destination.
When we arrive at our hotel we are usually greeted by dozens of folks that have followed us off the freeway hoping to get a better picture. As well as people from nearby businesses that abandon their post to awe at the spectacle that is our vehicle and grab a postcard that we keep handy exactly for these situations.
While one person grabs their luggage the others will snap photos for people and vise versa. Once we get checked in to our hotel room we all do our own thing most of the time. The Kid likes to relax by watching Sportscenter and various reality shows. He takes advantage of the hotel gym and if it’s a Sunday he will look for a local church to attend. The Trucker watches a fair amount of Law & Order and is in awe that he never sees a rerun. He also practices his guitar and catches up with his fiance and son back home. I set off on foot exploring every city big or small without an agenda and just see where it takes me.
While it may or may not be TV worthy one thing’s for sure; that we are having the time of our lives together on this truly unique adventure
Tuesday, June 4th, 2013—This last week and a half has found the tater team in the Sunshine State, Florida! We had a fabulous times at our events which included visiting the commissary at Eglin Air Force Base, parking the truck at the DoubleTree Downtown Orlando, a visit to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum and visiting Datz Deli in Tampa. Up and down Florida, we continued to be met with excitement at each and every stop!
While at the commissary on Eglin Air Force Base over the Memorial Day weekend, it was our honor and privilege to bring the Big Idaho Potato to the families that are currently protecting our freedom and brighten the veterans who have sacrificed so much for this great country. I stopped a took a moment during this event and realized that the veterans and active duty service men and women we were meeting directly contributed the the very principals that allow the tater team to travel the country. In many, many countries the use of social media is prohibited and advertising of any sort is non-existent. It is because of the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces, that we have the ability to make this tour possible and this event was truly special because we were putting the smiles of the faces of the service people and their families you do so much more than the tater team ever good. To everyone who has served or currently serving in our military, thank you!
We were grateful in a different way as we rolled into Tampa to visit Datz Deli. The instant you arrived the energy displayed by the staff of Datz Deli was fantastic! They welcomed us with wide open arms and provided a great few hours while with them. Datz Deli uses over 3,000 lbs of Idaho Potatoes a WEEK just to make their potato chips (which are literally the BEST chips I have ever had). The owners, Roger and Suzanne, treated us to lunch and we were very impressed with both the food and the service at Datz. It was truly an amazing event, with a great group of people!
Keep following along on our journey, we love to hear where you see us!
Facebook: Big Idaho Potato Tour
Tuesday, May 28th, 2013—All Eyes Were On Famous Potato – Stacey Page Online
The Great Big Idaho® Potato Truck, well into its second cross-country tour, stopped in Mentone today forcing police to control traffic as hundreds came out to admire the massive spud.
The World’s Largest Potato on Wheels is traveling more than 22,000 miles on a 7-month journey to raise funds and awareness for Meals on Wheels. In Mentone today, school children flocked to see the 28-foot long, 12-foot wide and 11.5-foot tall Idaho potato and pose for photos. Even passersby stopped to admire the sight.
Kristie Wolfe and Tyler Pagel travel with the semi. Pagel says the 7-month job is “one of the most unique jobs, I get a paycheck and I get to travel the country. For a first job out of college it’s pretty cool.”
Wolfe said the most common question the crew hears on their cross-country travels is, “Is it real? Hands down, that’s the most popular question. And usually we just say, ‘It’s really awesome!’”
“Sometimes I don’t have the will to break their heart,” added Pagel, saying even people with Ph.D.’s have asked how the potato was grown so big. The world’s largest real potato, on record, is 24.9 pounds and was grown in Tyre, Lebanon, in 2008.
In 2012, the Idaho Potato Commission built the larger-than-life version of an Idaho potato in celebration of the IPC’s 75th anniversary. The trailer-mounted spud weighs in at 6 tons – or the equivalent of 32,346 medium-sized Idaho® potatoes – and certainly demands attention as it promotes the oldest and largest national organization dedicated to helping end senior hunger.
Tuesday, May 28th, 2013—Giant ‘potato” draws attention at Charlotte Pike Kroger – The Tennessean
The giant potato in the Kroger parking lot off of Charlotte Pike could make 1.4 million fries.
Mashed potato lovers could get 30,000 pounds of their favorite food from the six-ton super spud.
There’s just one problem: it isn’t real. It’s a hollowed-out, blown-up potato replica that is crisscrossing the country on a seven-month tour that aims to raise awareness for Meals on Wheels and the 75th anniversary of the Idaho Potato Commission.
The three-person “tater team” leading the tour made an overnight pit stop in Nashville, and stretched across several spaces in the Kroger parking lot. Passersby lined up to snap a picture with the “potato” before it hits the road again today.
“You can’t miss it,” said Mt. Juliet resident Terri Kendall, who was drawn to the oversized starch substitute while getting gas nearby.
“I really am hungry for a baked potato, I want it loaded down,” she said. “Love baked potatoes, but I don’t think I could finish that by myself. It’d have to be a block party.”
A giggling Kendall did her best to wrap her arm around the potato as her husband commemorated the moment with his smart phone.
Not everyone was so happy to see the towering tater.
“Beware,” a man yelled out as he drove by. “Genetically modified foods. This is what’s going to happen.”
He can breathe easy, according to Tyler Pagel, one “tater team” member. The phony potato is a far stretch from the real thing. This one is filled with the team’s clothes, bicycles and smiling stuffed “spuddy buddies,” not sour cream and chives.
“The world’s largest potato is just over 11 pounds,” he said. “If we were carrying around an 11-pound potato on a tractor trailer it just wouldn’t be quite as exciting.”
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013—Hello potato fans, this is your friendly potato driver Paul! I’m filling in for your usual bloggers Kristie and Tyler, figured I’d give ya a taste of the driver’s point of view. Tonight they are enjoying a play in downtown Chicago, so I thought I’d give this a go. Well, where do I begin? It’s been a long and enjoyable week with plenty to catch you up on. Let’s start with Indiana…
We began the week with a visit to Richmond, Indiana where we caught up with Dave and Dawn McConkey. The citizens of Richmond helped us welcome the Petrified Potato Artist to the City Hall. We got to examine close up Dave’s potato carvings. After checking out his work we came outside to find most of the city of Richmond checking out our giant spud. Lots of new friends at this awesome event. On the way out of town we made a quick stop at an elementary school where we “blew” the minds of an entire school of “tots”
Our next stop was a visit to the “Egg Basket” of the country in Mentone Indiana. No tour would be complete without a stop at the giant egg. We can’t thank the good people of Mentone enough. The enthusiasm was more immense than the egg, if that’s possible.
Next we bring the Big Idaho Potato to the windy city, Chicago. This was a special visit for me for several reasons. First, I grew up here, so I got the chance to hit my favorite hot spot for the best Italian beef, Chicago style hot dogs, and the moistest (is that a word? if not it should be) chocolate cake you’ll ever eat, Portillos. Second, we got to fill our tummies at the NRA show and help out at the Idaho Potato Commision booth, where we made some hilarious music “tater” videos. Third, we got to have dinner with Don Odiorne, and the rest of the commissioners and reps, as well as food writers. Seems my reasons for enjoying this leg of the tour revolves around food, but that’s not all…lol. This was my 43rd birthday and I got to celebrate it with my family and with my friends from the IPC. I’d like to thank everyone for the warm birthday wishes, the cake, cupcake and pie, as well as the singing!
We also got to help open the newest member of the Shop and Save family in Downers Grove Illinois. Brian Holzkopf, manager of the store honored our big spud, with a huge spud sale and Mickey having fun with the kids. We wish them the greatest success in the world, its a beautiful store and I hope if you’re ever in the neighborhood you give em a visit.
Anyway, that brings me to the end of this “guest” blog, I’ve probably gained 50 pounds here, but it’s been worth it. Now down to Florida where I need to get back to hitting the exercise rooms at my hotels again. Keep an eye out for us, and keep on trucking.
Paul does much more than just drive the team. Here he is handing out postcards to the kids of Mentone, IN
Tuesday, May 21st, 2013—
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013—It has been told to us on this tour, many times, that the tater team has the coolest job ever. While I agree with this statement this job is much more than the “coolest job ever.” While the movies and media may bring attention to people who do not like their jobs or are looking for a constant switch, there are plenty of people of there like the tater team who wouldn’t trade their job for anything!
I think the reason for this is simple and it all comes down to excitement! Each and every day we wake up knowing that our job will be different and exciting whether its the National Harbor Food and Wine Festival, the Five Guys corporate event or making a stop at a local grocery store (all of which was accomplished in the last week) that tater team does it with excitement. Can you imagine running into a grumpy and tired tater team!? Neither can we!! We make an deliberate effort to bring the joy and honor that we have to a town near you. We have this excitement because we get to drive around the country promoting an awesome cause, Meals on Wheels, and an awesome product, Famous Idaho Potatoes. We get to see the country and run into many of you and that brings us all the excitement in the world!
What brings your excitement in the workplace or at school? Although we are still doing our job, we get EXCITED about it. I encourage you to pursue something that you too can get excited about! For me it was combining my love to talk to people with my desire to travel the country. Maybe you want to go back to school and get that graduate degree, maybe its turning your excitement about drawing into a painting business. Whatever it is , get excited about it, because as the tater team will tell you, having a job with excitement is awesome.
Tuesday, May 7th, 2013—
We’ve officially logged one month in the books – 6 more to go! This week Tyler and I along with commissioner Dan Moss and his wife Jann got to ride on top of the potato in the Pegasus Parade. One of the events leading up to the Kentucky Derby. It was more fun then you could imagine, my cheeks hurt from smiling so much.
With this ‘job’ we have had the luxury of seeing some incredible sites, visiting cities and states that I don’t know if I would have ever had a reason to. Traveling the country was an undeniable perk when I applied for the job. In the little travel I had done before I knew it’s not so much the places you see but rather the people you meet. This trip is no exception.
From cab drivers to waitresses to hotel staff and everyone in between, it seems they all have a connection to either Idaho or potatoes or both! Of course driving around with a 6 ton potato is definitely a conversation starter but so many of those curious questions lead to real connections and friends all around the country.
Remember Elbow, Elbow, Wrist, Wrist, Wipe a Tear, Blow a kiss,
Monday, April 29th, 2013—
Chef Jeff Tunks, who took home his own Big Idaho Potato Truck
The Big Idaho Potato Tour continued our journey down the eastern seaboard of the country by visiting the cities of Alexandria and Reston, Virginia and spending time in the beautiful city that this country calls its capital in Washington, D.C. Our events ranged from a food and wine festival to setting up shop outside of the United States Department of Agriculture building. This continues to speak to just how awesome our job is that a six ton potato has the ability to cross into some many different parts of everyone’s life.
In Washington D.C., we had the privilege of spending time with Chef Jeff Tunks who owns six D.C. restaurants (which happen to serve A LOT of Idaho Potatoes.) We were able to eat at two of his restaurants, Ceiba and PassionFish. The Tater Team can speak to the quality of the food and service at both of these restaurants!
During our time in Reston, VA we also had the chance to meet Pauline Rogers. Pauline’s energy and love for the potato was beyond contagious! She is a lady that you want to be your grandma because of the stories she told and the genuine heart she displayed towards us! She also has a grandson that attends the greatest university in the world (and my alma mater) Boise State University! Towards the end of our time in Reston, we had the great privilege of connecting with Ann Tran (twitter: @AnnTran_). She has been honored by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer. Krisite and I were immediately drawn to her because of our love for social media. She kept her over 300,000(!) followers in the loop during her visit to the Big Idaho Potato Truck! We want to thank Ann and her crew for the great visit!
I tell you the stories of these three individuals to prove a point. The point is that the Big Idaho Potato has the ability to allow the Tater Team the great interactions that we had over the last week, what do you have in your life that can bring these interactions? Is it your desire to help people? Could it be your musical ability? Or just your love for life? Find whatever it is, capture it and look for the Jeff, Pauline and Ann’s of your life. I can promise you will not be sorry!
Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013—
Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan
Ms. Ono’s anti-fracking artwork at ABC Carpet & Home.
What do Yoko Ono and the world’s largest potato have in common? For starters, they’re the reason I spent Friday night and Saturday morning in the city rather than fleeing by Friday afternoon, as I normally do. Also, the humble potato (though this spud, as I’ll get to presently, was anything but self-effacing) and the cause Ms. Ono was promoting, or rather decrying—fracking—both involve the ground.
Let’s start with the fracking issue, because it’s serious and it’s best to get serious stuff out of the way first. Not to suggest that the party at ABC Carpet & Home—opening night for an installation, “Imagine No Fracking,” that Ms. Ono mounted in the store’s windows (were a lesser personage to have attempted it, the results might be called window-dressing)—was in any way dour. It was actually uplifting, thanks to the talent brought to bear: We were treated to performances by Rufus Wainwright, Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls and Sara Bareilles, a singer I hadn’t previously heard (or heard of), though she shimmered.
Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan
Rufus Wainwright and Yoko Ono
I have always been pretty agnostic on the subject of Yoko Ono. While I’ve never blamed her for the breakup of the Beatles, I’ve also never quite understood what her art entails. Is she a painter? Performance artist? Singer? All of the above? (For ABC Carpet & Home, she decorated the windows with posters stamped with messages such as “Don’t Frack New York,” “Fracking Kills,” “Fracking Makes All Water Dirty” and “Don’t Frack Me.” Not that anyone asked, but I think “Don’t Frack With Me” might have been a bit edgier.)
I got a glimpse of the lithe spirit that makes Yoko Ono special when she took the stage to address an attractive crowd that appeared to take both fracking and home furnishings seriously. “Why would we want to make money” by harming people? Ms. Ono, who was dressed in a handsome black blazer, jeans, sunglasses and a porkpie hat, asked innocently. “We can make money other ways. I wouldn’t say a lot of money.”
The line got a laugh for its inadvertent honesty. Fracking, certainly for those who support it, is about money. None of us would argue that a wellhead in the middle of our backyard is more attractive than trees and grass; it’s the cash that’s so good-looking.
I’m just grateful that the Marcellus Formation, where the natural gas they’re after is trapped, ends before reaching my neck of the woods, so I won’t be tempted to sell out.
“Water is life,” Ms. Ono, who owns a farm in Delaware County, ground zero of the New York state fracking debate, went on. “What are we doing messing around with water?”
She paused and surveyed an audience that included Deepak Chopra and Susan Sarandon. “I’m preaching to the wrong crowd,” she said. “The ones that already know.”
Isn’t that usually the case?
Kristie WolfeThe Idaho Potato Commission’s 28-foot-long potato model.
The poetry and performance art was of a different sort on Saturday morning, when I set out in search of the Idaho Potato Commission’s 28-foot-long, 12-foot-wide, 11.5-foot-tall spud. According to the commission, it weighs 12,130 pounds. As it turned out, sadly, the potato isn’t real. It’s made of steel, concrete and high-density foam. If it were real, it would have taken more than 10,000 years to grow.
Obviously, I was disappointed. Heartbroken is more like it. I guess it makes sense that a real-life potato wouldn’t grow that large. But how should I know? Dinosaurs once roamed the Earth. I’ve seen some massive pumpkins. Also, it becomes clearer each day that, on issue after issue, the East Coast and the American heartland couldn’t be more different. Maybe the soil out there is so rich, the days so hot and the nights so cool and crisp, that a 12,000-pound potato is within the realm of possibility.
I asked a spokeswoman for the spud how much the most stupendous real-life potato actually weighed. “The biggest one ever grown was 11 pounds,” she told me.
Eleven pounds? Eleven pounds is nothing. I recently bought a baking potato that might have weighed as much as a pound and a half. Okay, an 11-pounder is pretty impressive. But not when your expectations have been raised to extinction-event-size asteroid objects.
So then the question became whether I wanted to hang around the city to see a giant fake potato, which I was told would be rolling into town overnight. “We tried to get it to New York last year,” Sue Kennedy, the potato’s spokeswoman, explained. “We didn’t get the right permits. It’s not easy.”
I expect it wouldn’t be. This town is crammed to the gills. Where are you going to put a 12,000-pound potato that travels on a 48-foot-long flatbed trailer? Union Square, as it turns out. But when I reported there Saturday morning, the french-fry material was nowhere to be found amid the Greenmarket’s bustling stalls.
You’d think it would be hard to miss. I rechecked a press release I’d been sent and discovered that while the location said Union Square, in parentheses it added “around 14th and 10th.”
Fourteenth and 10th isn’t Union Square. But I suppose if you’re coming all the way from Idaho, you’ve got other things on your mind—like not getting lodged in the Holland Tunnel, and eventually meeting up with the world’s largest bottle of ketchup. (That happened somewhere outside Chicago during last year’s coast-to-coast promotional tour.)
I hopped in a cab and found the potato, which was causing rubbernecking delays, even while shunted to the side of the metropolitan-area dinner plate, as it were. “We told them we wanted to be at Chelsea Market,” Kristie Wolfe, half of the Idaho Potato Commission’s “Tater Team,” told me. “This is the closest they could get us.”
Ms. Wolfe, an Idaho native, said she worked at a potato-processing plant before discovering a career in social media. “The high school I ended up going to had two weeks off for harvest.”
Tyler Pagel, the team’s other member, and a graduate of Boise State, confided he likes to have fun with visitors who refuse to believe him when he informs them the potato is fake. “We’ll tell them, ‘Go touch it, take a bite,’” he said. “It makes our job a little different every day.”
Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013—
We just spent an action packed week in New York. We went to a restaurant event on the beautiful Hofstra University campus. We gave out free Idaho fries from a food truck wrapped to look just like ours in Chelsea Market. We got a full access tour of the Manhattan Fruit Exchange. On top of all of that we had a photo op contest going, the prize being 2 Knicks tickets or $500. Let me introduce our winner is Scott Davidson from Hofstra and he chose the $500..
How did you hear that potato was on campus?
I saw a picture of it on Facebook and my roommate also informed me of it being near the Mack.
What did you think about the giant potato?
My friend and I (the other person in the picture) first thought the potato was real. We were shocked that a potato could get that big and thought up crazy ideas such as if someone were to live in a potato that big, what it would be like. But even though we found out it was fake, it was still a magnificent site to see.
Have you ever been to Idaho? What do you know about it?
I personally have never been to Idaho, and the only thing I can tell you about it is that it is pretty much is the potato capital of the world. From what I learned in grade school, Idaho is known for it’s potatoes.
What are you going to spend the money on?
I am most likely going to spend the money on some new clothes or save it for the summer (when it is surely needed).
What’s your favorite way to eat potatoes?
My favorite way to eat potatoes is mashed -by far. More specifically garlic mashed potatoes is up there on my personal list of favorite foods. I don’t know where this world would be without potatoes.
Monday, April 15th, 2013—
Hello from Philadelphia! The tour has picked up in pace, and our scheduled “events” have started. We have had a great week since last checking in. Our last week included stops in Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and now the city of Brotherly Love! In Pittsburgh we had a chance to bring the Big Idaho Potato to the SuperValu Trade Show, this was a great chance to connect with the SuperValu team and attend this amazing event! The event featured keynote speaker Jeff Evans (@Jeff_B_Evans). Jeff is a mountaineer and author who guided the first blind man to the summit of Mt. Everest. We asked Jeff to take a picture with us on top of the potato and he lit up like a kid in a candy store! We can now say a man who has summited to the tallest mountain in the world as also summited the world’s largest potato! He brought a message to the crowd of following your calling, his calling is climbing the world’s tallest peaks, but what is ours?
This is a good question that we should all ask ourselves and seeing how the Big Idaho Potato tour just started, it is a perfect time for me to find mine. I wouldn’t have to wait long. On Saturday morning, as the team was preparing for a day of sightseeing we had a Philadelphia police officer come over and check out the potato. He said the his buddies had told him to get over to the hotel and check it out! John was born and raised in Philadelphia but has a special connection to Idaho, he is a HUGE Boise State Bronco fan! Myself, being a Boise State alumni and Bronco Athletic enthusiast, quickly bonded over our love for the blue turf of Boise State’s football team and even realized that we had attended the same game a couple years ago when Boise State played in Washington D.C.! Reflecting on this awesome moment and chance encounter, I realized I had made a friend because of a six ton potato! How awesome is that!? That answered the question asked by Jeff Evans just a few days earlier. I don’t know who I am going to meet at the events in the next seven months but what I do know is that every opportunity is a chance to connect with each person that comes to see the Big Idaho Potato. My calling is to take every event and make it a chance to portray my passion for Idaho Potatoes and Meals on Wheels and to connect with each and every person that is able to experience the joy that comes from the tater team and the Big Idaho Potato!
Looking forward to meeting you all!
Wednesday, April 10th, 2013—Produce News
The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck embarks on second cross-country tour
Back by popular demand, the Great Big Idaho Potato Truck officially set off on its seven-month cross-country journey with support and good wishes from Governor C. L. (Butch) Otter and hundreds of Emmett, ID, residents.
In 2012, the Idaho Potato Commission built a larger-than-life version of the vintage Idaho potato postcard in celebration of the IPC’s 75th anniversary. Weighing in at six tons (the equivalent of 32,346 medium-sized Idaho potatoes), the Great Big Idaho Potato is traversing the country to greet fans and to help raise funds and awareness for Meals On Wheels Association of America, Frank Muir and Spuddy Buddy (center) send off the Tater Team as they kick of the 2013 tour.one of the older and larger national organizations dedicated to helping end senior hunger.
“Last year the Truck became a national sensation. We’ve received thousands of emails and calls from folks across the country asking when and where they can see the Truck, and we’re thrilled it’s back on the road,” Frank Muir, president and chief executive officer of IPC, said in a press release. “Idaho potatoes are a staple in almost every household in America and are one of the most important agricultural crops in Idaho. Idaho potatoes generate close to $5 billion in revenue annually and employ more than 30,000 people. The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck is our unique way of reminding consumers to always look for the famous ‘Grown in Idaho’ seal.”
The Truck has been seen by millions of Americans in person and on the national television commercial. the most frequently asked question is, “Is it real?” If it were, the Great Big Idaho Potato would take more than 10,000 years to grow; is 1,102 times heavier than the largest potato ever grown, which weighed 11 pounds; would take two years and nine months to bake; could make 30,325 servings of mashed potatoes and more than 1.4 million average-sized fries.
The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck was created and built by Chris Schofield and Sharolyn Spruce of Weiser, ID. With the help of a few specialized contractors, they spent an entire year designing and building this incredible vehicle. The Kenworth Sales Co. and Western Trailer, both based in Boise, ID, also aided with the construction.
To find out when the Great Big Idaho Potato Truck will be in a city near you, visitwww.bigidahopotato.com. The website provides in-depth information about the Truck, the IPC’s partnership with MOWAA and weekly updates with tales and photos from the road.
See and post photos and join the Truck’s social media community using #bigidahopotato on Twitter and Instagram (@bigidahopotato). Don’t forget to “Like” the Truck on Facebook (Facebook.com/bigidahopotatotour), too.
During the Truck’s 22,000-mile journey, it will make dozens of stops, including the following: the National Football Hall of Fame, the Kentucky Derby Parade, College Baseball World Series and a special visit to the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle. At the end of the year, it will return to its home turf in Idaho to participate in the third annual Famous Idaho Potato Bowl at Bronco Stadium in Boise.
In support of Meals On Wheels’ effort to end senior hunger by 2020, the IPC has donated $200,000 to MOWAA. This national organization represents more than 5,000 MOWAA programs across the country that together prepare and deliver more than 1 million meals each day to homebound seniors. On any given day, between 800,000 and 1.7 million volunteers who donate their time and often their own resources to make sure the elderly in their communities receive delicious, nourishing meals. Potatoes are an important food for these programs because they are nutrient dense, affordable and extremely versatile. And perhaps most importantly, many seniors enjoy eating potatoes.
The MOWAA logo appears prominently on the Truck and on the websitewww.bigidahopotato.com, where donations can be made electronically. In turn, MOWAA will keep their volunteers and friends updated on the Tour by posting the Truck’s schedule and photos from the road on their Facebook page and website and in their monthly newsletter.
If you are interested in learning more about the organization, visit www.mowaa.org.
Retrieved from: http://www.producenews.com/index.php/news-dep-menu/test-featured/10037-the-great-big-idaho-potato-truck-embarks-on-second-cross-country-tour
Monday, April 8th, 2013—
With our first week spent mostly driving in the bag, we are so excited to doing an event this week. We are headed to Pittsburgh tomorrow to set up for a two day event at the Super Value Trade Show.
Meanwhile, the team has been getting to know each other a little better. While poor Paul drives endlessly, Tyler and I take turns napping in the cab of the truck that’s outfitted with pillows and blankets. Making quick stops at weigh stations or to fuel up where every one reminds us that we are suppose to go home.
While we haven’t had an event on the road yet, we have had our first interview. Our first German interview no less, at the World’s Largest Truck Stop. Apparently the film crew was getting footage for a 10 minute segment on German television. When I asked what the most interesting thing they had seen so far (with the exception of our enormous potato) they said they filmed a guy getting a tooth extracted by the Truck Stop’s in-house dentist! Who knew right?
We will definitely post a link when that airs… I can only hope that my voice will be dubbed.
Friday, March 29th, 2013—
Idaho potato truck making its second national tour
By JOHN O’CONNELL
On its second national tour, the Great Big Idaho Potato Truck will travel 23,000 miles through 28 states, participating in events such as the Kentucky Derby Festival parade and pro football’s Hall of Fame game.
The Idaho Potato Commission built the 6-ton Idaho Russet Burbank on a flatbed to celebrate its 75th anniversary.
During a March 27 ceremony, Gov. Butch Otter performed the ceremonial starting of the engine for a tour that will span from April 1 through late September.
The truck’s first trek generated roughly 450 million media impressions — the combined audience sizes of media outlets that carried the story. The IPC’s goal for the second trip is to increase media impressions by 50 percent.
Rather than spending a few hours at each stop, the truck will park longer to better capitalize on word-of-mouth visits. Muir said IPC will also prioritize evening events with retailers who promise to draw a crowd through grand opening celebrations, flier distributions and other promotions.
Muir said TV stations covered the giant spud in all 150 cities it visited last year. Furthermore, onlookers with cell phone cameras photographed the truck, sending text images to friends.
“Even our governor made the comment wherever he travels, the governor in every single state asks about the truck and knows the truck has been in his state,” Muir said.
This year’s tour will be 6,500 miles longer than the first due to the logistics of attending large events scheduled in different regions. It passes through three new states — Maine, Louisiana and South Dakota. Despite the extra mileage, Muir said the program’s $700,000-$800,000 budget is down from $1 million last year, which included the cost of building the giant spud.
Once again, the truck is labeled with the American Heart Association’s check mark, indicating Idaho potatoes are a heart-healthy food, and the IPC is partnering with Meals on Wheels. IPC will present a $100,000 check to the organization, which provides visits and nutritious meals to homebound seniors.
IPC will also release another national commercial, to debut during Boise State University’s opening football game. It will continue airing on cable TV from September through February. Last year’s commercial featured Caldwell potato farmer Mark Coombs seeking the whereabouts of the “missing” potato truck.
“It’s probably been the most popular commercial with consumers we’ve had,” Muir said. “Some have said it’s the best commercial they’ve ever seen.”
Two new ambassadors — Tyler Pagel and Kristie Wolfe — will staff the truck. Paul Humbracht will return as the driver. He’s frequently been asked, “Is the potato real?”
“I usually say, ‘Go ahead and take a bite and see if it’s real,’” Humbracht said.
Muir said it’s tough to quantify how many potatoes have been sold due to the promotion, but he considers it noteworthy that Idaho spud sales spike at every grocery store the truck visits and there’s been no shortage of requests from retailers hoping to land a stop on the next tour.
Friday, March 29th, 2013—
Thursday, March 28th, 2013—Big Idaho Potato Tour 2013 kicked off with sunny skies and an energetic crowd in Emmett, Idaho as they were honored with ‘Capitol City for a Day’ by Idaho Governor Butch Otter. The tater team and their 6 ton traveling companion were greeted with smiles and enthusiasm on their first stop on the 2013 Big Idaho Potato Tour that was a true grassroots effort led by Barbara Hunguenien and the Gem County Facebook page.
After the tater team mingled and answered lots of questions from the crowd, Gov. Otter presented the tater team with a GPS, so the team could no longer get themselves and the Big Idaho Potato lost while traveling the country (a homage to the Idaho Potato Commission commercial that ran during the tour last year.) The city of Emmett signed a giant good luck card for the team and waved goodbye as the truck pulled out and hit the road for the second year of the tour! The tater team said that there was no better place to kick off the tour than Emmett and are looking forward to interacting with the numerous people they met in Emmett on their Facebook page, Big Idaho Potato Tour and their Twitter account, @bigidahopotato.
Good luck Tater Team!
The Gov and Team
Tuesday, December 18th, 2012—
Tuesday, December 18th, 2012—The Big Idaho Potato Truck has landed in the Pacific Northwest! The 2012 tour has come to a close and even though the truck has still been on the road and making appearances…it is now taking a brief holiday hiatus! Even the Tater Truck and Team need a little time with family and friends. Although, we’re having a hard time finding Mistletoe that is large enough to hang over the truck for a Christmas kiss.
We have had a fun time over the last couple of weeks, participating in holiday-type events …we joined KTVB in Nampa, Idaho for the largest local food donation drive of the holiday season! We also participated in the Treasure Valley Holiday Parade, donned as Rudolph and the “other” reindeer.
The Famous Idaho Potato Truck also made an appearance at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl! Hope you caught us on ESPN…tell us honestly though…did the camera add 10 pounds? We try hard to look good at 12,000 pounds and it would be a shame to look heavier than we really are!
We hope all of the Tater Lovers out there have the most wonderful holiday season and we will be back with the 2013 Tour!
Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012—As they wind up the final days of the tour, some people might think that the team has already started to throw in the towel… NOT A CHANCE! The Tater Team just mashed up one of the most rewarding weeks yet by visiting a very unique ‘fork’ in the road, having some great run-ins with the Huntington police, and spending a weekend at the 78th Annual Fall Festival in LA. Yep, after a week of being surrounded by the masses and reaching new heights with the media, the Team couldn’t help but relish in the glory at the end of a trip that has certainly changed their lives.
We are still loving our tots!
Read more »
Monday, October 22nd, 2012—
Last week, history was made when the colossal Space Shuttle Endeavour inched along the streets of Los Angeles en route to its final home at the California Science Center in Exposition Park, near USC.
On Tuesday, Southern California was the site of yet another history-making giant object, this one a six-ton fake spud — small potatoes compared to the 80-ton shuttle — being hauled into Pasadena on a flat-bed truck to help promote food services for the needy.
The amazingly lifelike 28-foot-long faux-tuber is the product of the Idaho Potato Commission, which approved a stop in Pasadena as part of the potato-state commission’s 75th anniversary celebration.
At 11 a.m. Tuesday, the realistic sculpture, which is making appearances around the country, parked alongside another area art icon, the Fork in the Road, an 18-foot tall sculpture of a silver fork standing upright in the median that separates Pasadena and St. John avenues at Bellefontaine Street in West Pasadena.
Check out the whole article HERE
Friday, October 19th, 2012—Pasadena’s 18-foot fork finally has food to match its massive scale.
Drivers heading toward the median that splits Saint John and Pasadena avenues have likely gotten used to the giant wooden utensil stuck in the road. But Tuesday afternoon, they were also greeted by a six-ton Idaho potato.
The Idaho Potato Commission is celebrating its 75th year by taking what they’ve dubbed theworld’s largest spud on a 36-state road trip, said Kaiti Frickey, part of the “Tater Team” that has been carting the potato around for more than six months.
“We’ve had a crowd all day since we got here at 11 a.m.,” Frickey said. “We’re basically potato baby sitters.”
Read the whole LA Times article right… HERE!
Friday, October 19th, 2012—PASADENA (CBSLA.com) — Call it “The Tater Caper” or “Spud Missile”, but whatever you do, don’t forget the butter.
A 6-ton potato rolled into Pasadena on Tuesday ahead of a major food drive next month at the city’s iconic “Fork In The Road” public art sculpture.
The 28-foot long spud was parked next to the city’s 18-foot-high fork after traveling cross-country in an 18-wheel semi throughout the summer as part of a national tour sponsored by Meals On Wheels.
Check out the article HERE!
Friday, October 19th, 2012—PASADENA – Driving north on Pasadena Avenue, it was impossible not to notice the giant fork in the road looked like it was digging into the giant potato behind it.
The big spud, on a flatbed trailer hauled by a big rig, visited Pasadena on Tuesday as part of a national tour sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission.
The potato is 28 feet long and 11.5 feet high, made of a steel frame and concrete coating, a perfect pairing for the 18-foot fork sculpture, a piece of guerrilla art first installed in 2009.
The potato and fork even have food-related charities in common.
The potato is promoting Meals on Wheels during its tour, while the Fork in the Road Gang saw the visit as an opportunity to promote its annual food drive on Nov. 10-11.
Read the whole article HERE!
Friday, October 19th, 2012—When the Idaho Potato Commission decided to build the tallest, longest, heaviest spud in the known world to commemorate their 75th anniversary, no doubt some thought it was a half-baked idea. But they must have buttered up the right people, because they got their tuber and took the show on the road.
This 28-footer is no couch potato. The spud and its entourage (driver and “tater team members”) have been crisscrossing the U.S. in a long flatbed trailer for the better part of six months, stopping at towns small and large along the way.
Read the entire article HERE!
Friday, October 19th, 2012—Love spuds, guerrilla art and feeding the hungry?
This Tuesday stop by Pasadena’s own 18-foot-tall fork in the road, one of our favorite pieces of public art. It will be receiving a visit from a 6-ton potato that hails from Idaho but has been crisscrossing the country in the back of a customized truck.
Altadena’s the Coffee Gallery Backstage is sponsoring an event to bring out the massive potato created by theIdaho Potato Commission and raise money for Union Station Homeless Services and Meals on Wheels.
Read more HERE!
Friday, October 19th, 2012—Pasadena’s 18-foot-tall Fork in the Road may have finally met its match Tuesday: A six-ton potato made a stop just in time for lunch.
The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck made the stop at the Fork Tuesday as part of a tour to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Idaho Potato Commission.
The fork may have trouble piercing the steel-framed polymer-concrete spud, which also serves as a storage container for food donations collected for the Meals on Wheels Association of America.
Read more HERE!
Monday, October 15th, 2012—
After a strenuous first week back on the road, the Tater Team got to breath a little easier after a tame second week, free of hiccups! There were no long and seemingly endless drive days. No fighting the streets of downtown chaos. No mornings that start before sun rise. No festivals or celebrations. Ok… let’s be honest, by “tame” I just mean straight boring! It’s all that commotion that keeps things exciting for the spud trio! As I’m sure everyone can figure out, a boring week leads to somewhat of a boring blog. So for the sake of the amusement and pleasure of our wide spread family of Spud Nation, I will give them the most exciting blog to date!! I don’t think the fans of our six ton potato deserve the agony of reading through a dull jumble of script! So here is the “juiced up” version of the Tater Team’s week!
(P.S This (*) is the small indication in front of the areas that have been tweeked)
Read more »
Tuesday, October 9th, 2012—As most of you know, the Tater Team just got off of a two week break in their home town of Boise (well Paul is from Fargo, ND, but we don’t hold that against him). Last Monday the crew got back on the road for what was the beginning of their last month. It started out in Reno but quickly crossed over into the Golden State where they would head south down the coastline. After many exciting events the 12,000 lbs spud ended the week in the Bay Area, allowing the team time to explore San Francisco. The potato had to stay at home for that trip, but it was in good hands at the local Neighborhood Church.
Monday was one of those days where you start driving early in the morning and then… well… you keep driving until about 8:00 at night! It was a long haul to Reno but the team pushed through in one sitting. Tuesday they had an exciting event at a local Scolari’s where about a hundred kids came out from a local elementary school. There was a wide range of tots as young as five and going all the way up to twelve years old. The kiddos were run through a gauntlet of facts about our tour, our giant potato, and Idaho potatoes in general. Afterwards they were quizzed and given prizes for correct answers! The kids did such a great job that the Tater Team actually gave out the remainder of their prizes during this event. By the time they went back to school, everyone felt as if they had taken something memorable away from the experience.
Some of the students pose in front of the potato during their field trip; Kaiti looks to Ellis for comfort and reassurance in dealing with the kids Read more »
Friday, October 5th, 2012—Your Produce man Michael Marks had all the info on how you could see in person this Giant Potato from Idaho!
Watch the great video clips here:
Tuesday, September 18th, 2012—It’s been a busy couple of weeks as the team zipped through Oregon, to Washington, then Idaho…no wait, back to Washington…noo Idaho it is…actually, back to Washington…Ok ,Oregon, they are going to Oregon…no, time to go back to Idaho! This week, the team had a heck of a time trying to figure out what state to stay in! It’s safe to say they all improved their juggling skills while they strategized events between the three bordering states!
Read more »
Tuesday, September 11th, 2012—
So I’ll give ya three guesses as to who is writing this
guest celebrity blog this week. Ok just one; it's me your
friendly neighborhood truck driver, Paul. I decided to
throw my hat into the blog world and give you faithful
followers a driver's perspective of our nationwide tour.
When I decided to give this blog thing a whirl, I didn’t
realize how quickly press time would come, wow this
week went fast; as they say time flies when you're
driving a six ton potato around the country. Oh that's
not the saying at all is it...lol.
Read more »
Monday, September 10th, 2012—Ever since the Dawn of Man (or, for you feminists, the Dawn of Chicks), human beings have created mysterious, larger-than-life wonders that were meant to endure the mildew of time.
The Great Pyramid. Stonehenge.
And now, the brainiacs at the Idaho Potato Commission have rolled out a spectacle to behold.
The “Great Big Idaho Potato Truck.”
Picture, if you will, a gleaming red semi hauling a flatbed trailer that is topped with a 28-foot-long, 11.5-foot-tall potato replica.
When I heard this tuber tumor was coming to Spokane, well, I knew I had to put aside my usual deep thoughts and go take a gander.
Finish reading this very humorous story HERE!
Monday, September 10th, 2012—Muir: ‘Everybody has a picture of the potato truck on their cellphone’
By JOHN O’CONNELL
SUN VALLEY, Idaho — The Idaho Potato Commission is banking that the 6-ton Russet it’s hauled 12,000 miles through more than 30 states this year on a tour celebrating the organization’s 75th anniversary will remain a hot potato during a second trek.
The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck, in the midst of a trip that started in April and continues into October, will roll again next summer from Memorial Day through Labor Day, IPC President and CEO Frank Muir announced Aug. 30 during the Idaho Grower Shippers Association’s annual meeting.
See the whole Article HERE!
Monday, September 10th, 2012—My baby sister Ronna Park has lived in southeast Idaho since college, in the heart of the potato producing part of our state. In fact, Blackfoot, where she resides, has the Idaho Potato Museum complete with a large spud in front of the building that tourists and locals alike feel inspired to photograph. So a couple of weeks ago Ronna and I were talking taters and she mentioned that during the Idaho Potato Commission’s 75th Anniversary this year there was a giant Idaho potato on tour of the country. Really, I asked, wondering if the spud display would make any stops in the Panhandle or non-potato producing part of the state.
Read the whole article HERE!
Monday, September 10th, 2012—Kaiti Frickey gets off the flat bed part of the semi trailer truck that stopped at Post Falls Friday afternoon en route to Silverwood, carrying a much-traveled giant potato. She is an ambasador for the Famous Idaho Potato Tour, sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary. The vertical line on the end of the potato marks the spot where a door opens. That is where promoters keep their supplies for the trip. The giant potato was parked in front of the Post Falls City Hall Friday afternoon when Duane Rasmussen took this photograph. The potato will be at Silverwood Saturday.
See the ‘SHOT’ HERE!
Thursday, September 6th, 2012—KENNEWICK, Wash.- The 12,000 pound Idaho Potato rolled through Kennewick Wednesday as part of its 7 month tour across the country to raise funds and awareness for “Meals on Wheels.”
The traveling roadside attraction was cultivated by the Idaho Potato Commission to commemorate the Commission’s 75th Anniversary year.
Idaho Potato Commission Tour Ambassador, Ellis Nanney says, “We are kind of a big meal on wheels ourselves, so we thought it was fitting since the elderly population is often overlooked. We thought it was a very suiting cause for us to participate in and help them raise awareness.”
One spectator says Idaho may have the biggest potato, but Washington still produces more per acre.
The world’s largest potato on wheels will continue its last 2 months traveling west across Washington and then down to California.
Watch the VIDEO!
Thursday, September 6th, 2012—KENNEWICK, Wash. – The world’s biggest spud stopped in Kennewick today.
The potato is 28 feet long, 12 feet wide and 11.5 feet tall. It took over a year to build.
If it was real it would take 10,000 years to grow and almost 3 years to bake.
The Idaho Potato Commission is using the eye-catcher to raise money and awareness for Meals on Wheels.
Watch the VIDEO!
Thursday, September 6th, 2012—My baby sister Ronna Park has lived in southeast Idaho since college, in the heart of the potato producing part of our state. In fact, Blackfoot, where she resides, has the Idaho Potato Museum complete with a large spud in front of the building that tourists and locals alike feel inspired to photograph. So a couple of weeks ago Ronna and I were talking taters and she mentioned that during the Idaho Potato Commission’s 75th Anniversary this year there was a giant Idaho potato on tour of the country. Really, I asked, wondering if the spud display would make any stops in the Panhandle or non-potato producing part of the state.
As it turns out the answer is yes. I contacted Laura Herrick, who’s handling the Big Idaho Potato Tour, to see if we could arrange a stop in Post Falls on their way to Silverwood. After some wheeling and dealing and persuasion, we’ll have two opportunities to view the 12,000-pound faux spud.
See the whole article HERE!
Wednesday, September 5th, 2012—SUN VALLEY, Idaho — The Idaho Potato Commission will “keep on truckin’” into 2013 … literally.
MuirThe commission will feature its giant potato truck in TV ad spots beginning Aug. 31 during ESPN’s telecast of the Boise State vs. Michigan State football game and will feature the rig at stops across the U.S. for another year.
“I’m excited to announce we’re gonna keep on truckin’,” commission president and chief executive officer Frank Muir said at an industry breakfast Aug. 30 as part of the annual Idaho Grower Shippers Association convention.
Read the whole article HERE!
Wednesday, September 5th, 2012—KENNEWICK– you’re driving around Wednesday, you’ll want to keep an eye out for this!
The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck will visit Kennewick on its way across the country to raise funds and awareness for Meals on Wheels.
It’s hauling one super-sized “spud”… a 28-foot long, 12-foot wide and 11-and-a-half foot tall “Idaho potato” . . . specially built in honor of the Idaho Potato Commission’s 75th anniversary.
See the whole article HERE!
Wednesday, September 5th, 2012—If you aren’t getting the double meaning in this week’s blog title, then you haven’t been paying enough attention to our Facebook page. So let’s catch you up! Being home in the Great Potato State brought about anything but an ordinary week. We finally tracked down those elusive hotdoggers, met the lady whose title graces our tractor, and rubbed elbows with everyone who is anyone in Idaho’s potato industry. After that was all done, Kaiti and Ellis caught up with their long lost families while Paul hung out with some in-town friends. All-in-all, it was definitely a week worth blogging about.
If you are a simple person with simple tastes, then you probably enjoy a good ol’ meal of meat and potatoes. And if this is the case and you were in Boise last Monday, then, well, you may have just died and went to heaven. After chasing the Weinermobile all around the country, the Big Idaho Potato finally got to ‘meat’ up with the iconic promotional vehicle in a Winco parking lot. Oscar Mayer paved the way for driving around in food 76 years ago, and has to be considered an inspiration for the Big Idaho Potato concept. Abraham “Abe the Ham” Luna and Kelly “Cookout Kelly” Goldthorpe were the two characters manning the ‘big dog’ and were overjoyed at the opportunity to meet up with our ‘big spud’. After the event, the two-dogger team was excited to swap war stories from the road over Blue Cow Frozen Yogurt with The Tater Team. It was remarkable how similar their anecdotes were! One key difference, however, was the support system behind their tour. At any one time there are SIX Weinermobiles and TWELVE Hotdoggers on the road. That would certainly make for a whole lot of BBQs!
The two crews celebrate while everyone feasts their eyes on the delicious vehicles; a beautiful perspective of perfection; a legacy in postcards Read more »
Friday, August 31st, 2012—
KENNEWICK, Wash. – The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck will visit Kennewick next week on its way across the country to raise funds and awareness for Meals on Wheels. The Potato Truck is also celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Idaho Potato Commission on a seven month, cross country journey.
The 48-foot long flatbed trailer features a 28-foot long, 12-foot wide and 11.5-foot tall Idaho potato, specially “cultivated” in honor of the Idaho Potato Commission’s 75th anniversary in 2012.
See the whole article HERE!
Thursday, August 30th, 2012—When the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile joined the Big Idaho Potato in the downtown Winco parking lot today, the pair were shy only a Tillamook Baby Loaf Bus.
“Boise may have food trucks,” said Gracie Bingham with the Idaho Potato Commission, creator of the Big Idaho Potato. “But these are actual food trucks.”
Read the whole article HERE!
Monday, August 27th, 2012—This week was chalk full of mentionable characters!! Fans came from near and far with various talents, labels, and histories! It’s safe to say that the Famous Idaho Potato Tour wouldn’t be what it is if it weren’t for the people they meet along the way!
Monday afternoon the team was still living large in the alluring streets of Las Vegas. While soaking up all the public attention at Smiths, the group got a special visit from an IPC vet! Recently retired, Larry Whiteside, stopped by wearing a shirt with a striking resemblance to the truck! It was fantastic meeting the seasoned potato expert and he gladly spent the rest of the event educating the team on the world of spuds.
Read more »
Monday, August 20th, 2012—LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
A giant potato is making its way to Las Vegas Monday to raise awareness for Meals on Wheels.
The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck is on a seven-month journey across America to celebrate the Idaho PotatoCommission’s 75th anniversary.
A 48-foot-long flatbed trailer carries the 28-foot by 12-foot wide creation.
The potato is a larger-than-life replica of a vintage Idaho potato postcard.
See the whole article HERE!
Monday, August 20th, 2012—Last week’s highlights were anything but the standard for the Famous Idaho Potato Tour. Mechanical malfunctions led to a standstill the first two days in Phoenix, which left the crew hotel-ridden. But even with this short coming, the Tater Team was overwhelmed by the activity they were receiving on Facebook. When the events finally got started up on Wednesday, they were surprised by two unexpected visitors. Both proved to be very active people and both proved to be potato aficionados! On Friday the team headed out of Phoenix only to leave one desert for a glowing oasis in another… that could only mean thing… Vegas baby!
The kids and animals STILL are our favorite guests along the Famous Idaho Potato Tour Read more »
Monday, August 20th, 2012—The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck is on a seven-month cross-country journey to celebrate the Idaho Potato Commission’s 75th Anniversary and to raise funds and awareness for Meals on Wheels.
Link to article
Tuesday, August 14th, 2012—What do you get when you put a gigantic pistachio together with an equally colossal potato on a flatbed tractor trailer?
It’s one mammoth spectacle than can’t be put into words, but these two roadside attractions were together in once place late last week at McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch & Arena Blanca Winery.
Read the entire front page article HERE!
Monday, August 13th, 2012—The truck covered more mileage this week than ever before! The team is on the move and nothing is slowing them down! Contrary to the usual three hour voyages, they packed in about twenty four hours of driving this week. With all those miles behind them, it would be impossible not to accumulate more memorable stories!
The team got straight to business Monday morning with a Meals on Wheels donation! The Idaho Potato Commission graciously donated $1000 to the MOW chapter in San Antonio. Though it’s not the first donation the team has had their hand in, they are still humbled to be reminded of what a benevolent company they represent. After a busy day of prize-wheel spinning and handing out Idaho treasures, the team headed downtown to strut their stuff along the San Antonio River Walk! They were in awe as they strolled along the network of walkways that lined the cool blue San Antonio river that runs through five miles of downtown (though they didn’t walk anywhere close to the full five miles) . The walkways overflowed with bright flowers, shops, and restaurants. As if the river walk wasn’t enough, the trio got a blast from the past when they visited the historical Alamo!
The San Antonio Meals on Wheels crew!!The beautiful river walk (a.k.a the "Venice" of America)Alamooo!!
The beautiful river walk (a.k.a the "Venice" of America)
Read more »
Saturday, August 11th, 2012—KASA – Have you ever wondered what a 12,000 pound potato looks like? Well wonder no more! Nikki talks with Greg Archuleta, Executive Chef of Meals on Wheels, and Tater Team Driver, Paul Humbracht, about how the Idaho Potato Commission is helping Meals on Wheels feed hungry New Mexicans.
Watch the interview HERE!
Wednesday, August 8th, 2012—Week 18 started off in dramatic fashion with the Tater Team onsite for the Idaho Potato Commission’s national commercial shoot in Dallas, Texas. As if a nod to the success of the giant tuber’s maiden voyage, the commission selected the truck to be the star in this year’s campaign in what promises to be an entertaining spot. The Tater Team, of course, was pretty excited about their selection. The trio spent two days on set learning the ways of ‘the biz’ and even getting a little camera time themselves. With such a front loaded week the team worried that the days to follow would be pretty mundane. But for the second time on the tour (and perhaps in their life) they were wrong. Later in the week the team landed the ‘ID Spudnick’ at Space Center Houston where an astronaut became the first space man to ever set foot on the colossal tuber. The week came to an end in San Antonio where the team was hosted by Bill Miller’s BBQ. It was here that we found our most enthusiastic Texas fans, the best sweet tea in town, and a wonderful shredded brisket sandwich.
Texas just wouldn’t be Texas without spotting some longhorn; and I suppose it wouldn’t be the same without the absolutely astounding, Cowboy Stadium; no matter where we go, Spuddy seems to remain a fan favorite Read more »
Monday, July 30th, 2012—Ghosts and cowboys! Two words most people don’t expect to see side by side, unless, you are part of the Tater Team! Strange things like that are just normal occurrences for the spud crew.
Hotel Phillips- the haunted mansion of Kansas City, is what the tater team called home for two nights. Their hairs stood on end when the trio entered the hotel Sunday evening. Upon check-in, they were given the option to be issued protective blankets and teddy bears, but with their pride at stake, they turned down the generous offer. Though there is reason to believe that Ellis returned to the front desk later that evening to retrieve a teddy bear. Luckily, they all made it through the first night unharmed.
Read more »
Monday, July 30th, 2012—LENEXA, Kan. — Come on down and be the next contestant to spin the Famous Idaho Potato Tour prize wheel.
The Idaho Potato Tour — marking the Idaho Potato Commission’s 75th year — made a pit stop July 23 to visit The Packer office.
The Tater Team — Kaiti Frickey and Ellis Nanney — said there have been some additions to the tour since it kicked off on April 2.
Read the FULL ARTICLE and watch the FULL VIDEO HERE!
Saturday, July 28th, 2012—
If you’re near Garland today, be sure you check out The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck at Wingstop’s flagship restaurant at 1251 Northwest Highway.
From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Wingstop will give out a free regular order of fresh-cut, seasoned fries for guests to enjoy as they marvel at the 28-foot long, 12-foot wide, 11.5 foot tall “Idaho potato”.
Thursday, July 26th, 2012—Sand Springs -
A giant potato rolled into the Tulsa area on Wednesday.
The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck visited the Tulsa area on its way across the country to raise funds and awareness for Meals on Wheels and to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Idaho Potato Commission.
Monday, July 23rd, 2012—We aren’t sure if it is the heat wave, high humidity, or just all the American love for Idaho Potatoes that is making the Big Idaho Potato so hot. But the one thing we can confirm is that this tater’s a cookin’! And we know the website says it would take two years and nine months to bake, but at the rate we are going, Idaho is going to have one heck of a feast by the time we return from our seven month adventure. The crew had an eventful week as they zigzagged through the South and Midwest along a westward trajectory. A significant portion of the time was spent in the land of the ‘Gateway Arch’ (not of the golden kind) before heading down to the true ‘Wally World’ in Arkansas. And as if that wasn’t enough, the team finally settled down for the weekend in Kansas City… at Hotel Phillips… notorious for being haunted…
Thumbs up to hats, thumbs up to Idaho Potatoes, and two thumbs up to Idaho Potato hats; we can all feel a little safer with SuperBatman around; Spuddy was excited not to be the smallest fry around
Read more »
Monday, July 16th, 2012—
The Potato Team started their week with an OORAH! Monday morning they marched on to the Army Base of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, eager to be put to the test in the grueling military obstacle course! The group halted in front of the Commissary and as the event trudged on, their eager muscles grew ever antsy for the ropes and wooden hurdles awaiting them. At 11:59 they eyed the clock….5..4..3..2..1..0!! The team made a b-line for the course! A passing soldier spotted the team sizing up the intimidating course and offered his knowledge. He explained how the course should be completed and the guidelines the squads must follow throughout the challenging passage. The soldier was definitely not going to pass up the opportunity to go head-to-head with Ellis through a section of the course. They both wrapped their fingers around the hanging ropes and bent their knees, ready to climb at the first sound of Kaiti’s signaling voice. “Go!” They ascended the thick ropes, neck and neck. Reaching the top, they raced across wide spaced logs and climbed even higher on two inclining ladders. They swung over the top of the course and hurried down a web of woven rope, racing towards the ground. Ellis’s feet slammed into the ground, victorious! Everyone congratulated the champion (though they all suspected the soldier just went easy on him). The team lingered awhile longer trying their hand at various obstacles. Soon the blazing sun became overwhelming and the team continued their trek to Louisville.
The "battle wound" Ellis suffered from winding through wooden beams.
Read more »
Friday, July 13th, 2012—Normally you don’t see a big truck cruising down Madison Avenue in Midtown. But then this is not a normal truck. Nor is the load it is hauling.
“I thought as I was driving down the street and I thought that looks like a big potato. And I had to look and see. It is a potato. And I think where are the French fries. That’s what I was wanting really. French fries to go would be good right now,” truck driver John Yeaples said.
Read more and watch the VIDEO HERE!
Thursday, July 12th, 2012—Even though the Famous Idaho Potato Tour has been on the road for over three months, each stop never fails to provide the Tater Team with a new and exciting adventure at every turn of the Tater Truck. From the long stretches of highway and hot parking lots to fireworks and parades, our special guest for the week, Gracie Bingham, was treated to the full experience of being part of the Tater Team. Our relaxing day at the beach hardly prepared us for a jam-packed schedule, but we took it in stride and had an unforgettable week.
We were up bright and early Monday morning to bid farewell to Florida and make our way up to Atlanta, but the truck hitch refused to cooperate with our tight schedule. We spent several hours at a repair shop waiting for a new part, during which the tired Tater Team attempted to catch a few more minutes of shut-eye. Finally, the talented mechanics were able to fashion a new part for the stubborn hitch and we were on our way to Atlanta! The grueling eight-hour drive to Atlanta was made much more enjoyable by all the folks waving, smiling, and taking photos of the truck along the interstate. This was Gracie’s first experience riding in the truck and feeling a bit like a celebrity, but hopefully she won’t let it go to her head. Our first destination in Atlanta was a food truck park, so after more than 10 hours of being in the truck, the team was thrilled to set foot on solid ground and enjoy some Georgia barbecue. We parked the spud at the food truck park for the night and made our way to Walmart to stock up on fresh potatoes and Idahoan products for a basket we would be presenting to Meals On Wheels at the food truck park the next day. There’s nothing quite like battling the crowds of Walmart armed with sacks of potatoes and dressed in our matching uniform of yellow shirts and red hats, but we emerged victorious, ready to take on the next challenge that came our way. Potato warriors, if you will. Exhausted but content, we settled down in our hotel (located right next to World of Coke and Centennial Olympic Park!) to rest up for another busy day. We also bid farewell to Kaiti, who would be taking a temporary leave of absence from the team for a few days to watch fireworks with her love in Portland.
Read more »
Saturday, July 7th, 2012—The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck is on tour in the Birmingham area this week. A 28-foot long, 12-foot wide and 11.5-foot tall Idaho potato sits atop the 48-foot long flatbed trailer.
The truck is on a seven-month cross-country journey to celebrate the Idaho Potato Commission’s 75th Anniversary and to raise funds and awareness for Meals on Wheels. The truck stopped at the Western Supermarket in Vestavia Thursday and will be in Hoover, Friday, July 6, 2012, at the Bruno’s located at 3780 Riverchase Village from 3-5pm.
Read the whole article HERE!
Saturday, July 7th, 2012—Birmingham (WIAT) A 12 thousand pound potato has touched down in the Magic City.
It’s all apart of a national tour designed to bring awareness to the Meals on Wheels program.
Organizers have been on the road for 3 months spreading their message.
The hope is with more awareness, elder hunger will be demolished by the year 2020.
Read the entire article HERE!
Wednesday, July 4th, 2012—I bet if I told you that the Famous Idaho Potato Tour had been in the Sunshine State all week you would imagine white sand beaches, lanky palm trees, and clear skies for day. Well, keep dreaming. And if you are looking for the part of the blog that has these things then please skip down to paragraph five. For those of you who don’t know, Debbie is the name of a tropical storm that filled the beginning of Florida’s week with a horrendous showing of rain, floods and tornadoes. Even those on the outskirts of the storm were subject to the violent weather, and the Tater Team was scheduled to meet her head on in Tampa. The behemoth potato and tropical storm were in a classic game of chicken… only one would survive… and that’s when Debbie backed down. She veered north of the tour, saving herself the humility of losing to an overgrown piece of produce. But she did get a few good licks in as she thoroughly soaked the Tater Team’s worldly possessions. The team was quick to learn from her scorn and even quicker to move on. After she passed by there was nothing but blue skies and extreme humidity for the rest of the week as the team made stops in Orlando and Tampa.
Oh yeah, we still have prizes; one of our most adorable fans of the week with Spuddy Buddy; couldn’t have said it better myself
Read more »
Friday, June 29th, 2012—A wonderfully written article in Greenbelt Magazine by Jamie Dillon. Click HERE and go to page 24 for the article.
Sunday, June 24th, 2012—(Read the following in a “carny” voice) Step right up! Don’t be shy! Try your hand at the spinning wheel of fortune or push your luck with the grueling bag toss! Give it your best shot!
You guessed it, the Famous Idaho Potato Tour has added yet another element of fun to their ambitious U.S tour. No public event of any shape or size is complete without spreading a little joy. With that in mind, the tour team knew what had to be done; some give-aways were a must! With a pinch of determination and a dash of creativity the Famous Idaho Potato Prize Wheel was born!! The pinwheel made it’s debut Tuesday morning and it was an instant hit. It took no more than ten minutes for the empty parking lot to be overwhelmed with fans eager to wrap their fingers around Idaho Potato swag!
The newest addition to our tour! The prize wheel!
Kaiti modeling just a handful of the newest treasures!
Everybody wants a piece of Idaho!
Read more »
Tuesday, June 19th, 2012—The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck was at BJ’s Wholesale Club in Henrico County on Friday to mark the Idaho Potato Commission’s 75th year and to raise funds for Meals on Wheels. U.S. tour ambassador Ellis Nanney took a photo of, from left, Josh and Sharon Begin of Richmond, Jane Nettleton of Midlothian, and Nancy and Roy Whitehouse of Blackstone. Chris Schofield of Idaho — the Whitehouses’ son, Sharon Begin’s brother and Nettleton’s grandson — helped create the potato. He is originally from Richmond.
See the article HERE!
Tuesday, June 19th, 2012—The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck is on a seven-month cross-country journey to celebrate the Idaho Potato Commission’s 75th Anniversary and to raise funds and awareness for Meals on Wheels and will stop in Henrico Friday, June 15. A 48-foot long flatbed trailer featuring a 28-foot long, 12-foot wide and 11.5-foot tall Idaho potato will be at BJ’s Wholesale Club, 1320 Starling Dr., from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Read the article HERE!
Sunday, June 17th, 2012—If you thought this week was going to be slower than the week before, you thought wrong. In a week filled with BIG events, the crew rose to the occasion and successfully executed events that helped elevate the Famous Idaho Potato Tour’s status fivefold! It helped that the Tater Team was immediately welcomed as they entered the Baltimore area with two news stations, Fox 45 and WBAL 11, opening their arms to put them on live segments. Both stations offered fun little features that plugged the Team’s schedule and purpose for the week. This helped to get the ball rolling as they traveled south for their big debut at the nation’s capital: Washington D.C.
Idaho Potato fans get active as they try to win prizes with our ‘spud’ hole game; some get real excited… but we welcome the enthusiasm; a few ambitious fans try push their luck as they try to mount the great tater
Read more »
Thursday, June 14th, 2012—The U.S. Senators from Idaho, James E. Risch and Mike Crapo, today joined the President and CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC), Frank Muir, to welcome the Great Big Idaho Potato Truck when it rolled into Washington, D.C. for a special appearance in front of the the U.S. Capitol Building.
In celebration of the mid-point of the truck’s seven-month cross country tour, to mark the IPC’s milestone 75th Anniversary, Senators Risch and Crapo joined Muir to present a $100,000 check from the IPC to Enid A. Borden, the President and CEO of the Alexandria, VA-based Meals On Wheels Association of America (MOWAA).
Read the whole article HERE!
Thursday, June 14th, 2012—Halfway through its seven-month cross-country tour, the 28-foot-long marketing tool of the Idaho Potato Commission stopped in Washington D.C. on June 12.
The commission’s “Great Big Idaho Potato Truck” visited the U.S. Capitol, where commission president Frank Muir was on hand for the presentation of $100,000 to the Meals on Wheels Association of America. Idaho Sens. James Risch and Mike Crapo met with Muir and Enid Borden, president of the Alexandria, Va.-based Meals on Wheels organization.
Read more HERE!
Tuesday, June 12th, 2012—The Great Big Idaho Potato rolls into the FOX45 parking lot today. The big spud is traveling across the country to raise awareness and funds for Meals on Wheels and to celebrate the Idaho Potato Commission’s 75th anniversary!
Watch the Video Here!
Tuesday, June 12th, 2012—The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck is on a seven-month cross-country journey to celebrate the Idaho Potato Commission’s 75th Anniversary and to raise funds and awareness for Meals on Wheels and will stop in Henrico Friday, June 15. A 48-foot long flatbed trailer featuring a 28-foot long, 12-foot wide and 11.5-foot tall Idaho potato will be at BJ’s Wholesale Club, 1320 Starling Dr., from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Read more HERE!
Monday, June 11th, 2012—It’s fair to compare the Famous Idaho Potato Tour Team to the distinguished Energizer Bunny. They keep going and going and going. In one week the trio had five different states under their set of eighteen wheels! With that much exposure, great stories are bound to be born. I will assure you, if it’s stories you want…stories you shall receive!
Tuesday afternoon Paul planted the truck in Liberty Park where the spud got it’s first introduction to Lady Liberty. She was a stunning beauty in the cool blue water of the Hudson River. The team wasn’t completely sure…but they could have sworn they saw the overgrown potato blushing at the sight of her. After a day of play at the park the team decided to call it quits, and the potato had to unwillingly part from its new found lady love.
A big truck and a big lady!
Read more »
Tuesday, June 5th, 2012—During this week of the Famous Idaho Potato Tour, the trip was marked with ‘long hauls’ and ‘long stalls’. Memorial Day gave the Team a long beautiful weekend in Pennsylvania’s Wilkes-Barre just south of Scranton which is home to a very popular, yet very fictional, paper company. Ellis spent the afternoon soaking up the sun while teaching Kaiti how to throw a football and frisbee in the overgrown courtyard of their hotel. The downtime prepared the Team for what would turn into a nine-hour drive to Boston, Massachusetts, thanks to excruciating traffic in Hartford, Connecticut. But regardless of the abundance of ‘truck time’, the Tater Team was excited to hit the East Coast. They wrapped up the week in New Jersey (just outside of New York City) from where the Team will be steadily marching south for the next month. I have to think that the birds will be questioning their strategy, but hopefully the Southern Comfort will help them beat the heat!
Kaiti reminding the world how beautiful Idaho potatoes are; even this coast has ‘sacks on sacks on sacks’ of Idaho potatoes (rap song reference… FYI); Ellis is demonstrating to fans how to listen for our Giant Spud’s heart beat
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Monday, June 4th, 2012—The average potato weighs less than a pound. A really big potato can reach 1.25 pounds. But as watchers gawked in the Pathmark parking lot this morning, a really really big potato can be much, much bigger than that.
Yep, that’s a 48-foot long flatbed trailer featuring a 28-foot long, 12-foot wide and 11.5-foot tall Idaho potato specially “cultivated” in honor of the Idaho Potato Commission’s 75th anniversary year in 2012.
Get the full article HERE!
Monday, June 4th, 2012—STATE – Over the next few days, New Jersey residents may spot a larger-than-life potato traveling by flatbed truck. The Great Big Idaho® Potato Truck set off on a seven-month cross-country journey in April, and it’s set to make six New Jersey stops between June 2 and June 6.
Read the entire article HERE!
Monday, June 4th, 2012—Yesterday, on our way home, we were stuck in the Hartford, Connecticut traffic with the Famous Idaho® Potato Tour Truck. Turns out, this tater was heading to Quincy, Massachusetts. As you can see from my pics, that sure is one big spud!
Read the whole Blog HERE!
Friday, June 1st, 2012—Tractor trailers regularly pull up to the backside of the BJ’s Wholesale Club store in Quincy like cattle coming in to a barn to be milked. But one truck showed up at the BJ’s today that definitely stood out from the herd – because it was towing a six-ton potato on its trailer.
Sunday, May 27th, 2012—After yet another week of being treated like royalty, the team is becoming accustomed to their regal roles. The fans are mesmerized by the voyage stories told by King Paul and his duties of steering the coach. Princess Kaiti maintains a posse of admirers whom she is always delighted to take portraits with, and Ellis, the Jester, keeps the local townsmen entertained with jokes and performances. The royal clan was overwhelmed by the loving treatment received from towns near and far.
Read more »
Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012—The Idaho Potato Commission celebrates its 75th year of promoting Idaho® Potatoes in a BIG way.
For their diamond anniversary, the show goes on the road with an updated, larger-than-life version of the classic Idaho® Potato postcard- the world’s largest spud, placed on the flatbed of a semi-truck.
Read more and WATCH the VIDEOS HERE!
Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012—CLEVELAND – How lucky can Cleveland get? First the opening of the new casino and now a visit from a giant potato.
The Idaho Potato Commission is celebrating its 75th anniversary and raising funds for Meals on Wheels by traveling the country with a specially “cultivated” 28-foot long, 12-foot wide and 11.5-foot tall Idaho potato. It’s called the “Great Big Potato Truck.
Read more HERE!
Sunday, May 20th, 2012—After three weeks in Chicago, the Tater Team was starting to feel like landlocked pirates! Needless to say, all of them were a bit excited last Monday as they hoisted the anchor, eased the sheet, swung the jib starboard and set sail for new territories beyond the horizon… or at least that was the plan. Chicago decided to throw one last speed bump their way as a parting gift. In a sense, we could not quite “ease the sheet”. So who did they call? Stevenson Crane of course! The amazing crew went above and beyond to ensure the Big Idaho Potato was sea worthy while also making sure that the crew was fed and hydrated. Alas they were able to set sail! Now that things were the way they should be, the Famous Idaho Potato Tour was back on track for one of the most exciting weeks yet. Three states and three media appearances later and the Team felt as if the tour may have peaked a little earlier than expected.
Stevenson Crane’s finest to the rescue; the genuine crew running the show at Stevenson Crane; just a good shot that pretty much sums it up
Read more »
Tuesday, May 15th, 2012—Older adults in suburban Cook County who receive home-delivered meals or have lunch at group dining locations can have potatoes donated to AgeOptions by the Idaho Potato Commission.
Read the full article HERE!
Monday, May 14th, 2012—No small fry here. The Idaho Potato Commission is ready to celebrate their 75th year of promoting Idaho® Potatoes in a BIG way… The Famous Idaho® Potato Truck will tour the country from coast to coast in 2012 stopping in cities, local grocery store parking lots, and at special events. They are a great example of big branding and a PR machine you want to eat.
Read more HERE!
Monday, May 14th, 2012—As all of you loyal followers have now learned, there is never a dull moment for the Tater Team! Chicago has done a superb job at keeping the team on their toes! This week they were sure to cover all the bases that consist of adventure: new experiences, new locations, new faces, and oh yes..new dramas.
The team was honored to start their week by spending some quality time with their cherished comrade, Spuddy Buddy! They were taken aback to learn just how much personality the big spud had (as was the rest of potato nation). He kept the crowds in a laughing uproar with his imaginative dance moves and playful personality! On Tuesday, the show came to an end and Spuddy parted with tearful goodbyes.
Which one is the real Spuddy?!?
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Tuesday, May 8th, 2012—It’s one of the biggest conventions of the year in the food business. 1,800 vendors, 58,000 professionals, all descending onMcCormick Place to take in the National Restaurant Association Show.
We hit the show floor today to check out some of the new technology coming to restaurants, and of course, we ate a few things. My feature will air on the WGN News at Five and will be posted here after.
Be sure to watch the WGN Morning News on Tuesday, Ana Belaval will have more from the NRA Show in her “Around Town” segment.
You can read more about the organization on their website, it’s Restaurant.org.
Watch the video that features our truck HERE!
Tuesday, May 8th, 2012—The Big Idaho Potato Truck and the self-dubbed “Tater Team” were brought together for one reason and one reason only: to promote the rock star that is the Famous Idaho Potato. But alas sometimes Murphy’s Law will try to obstruct even the purest of missions no matter how sincere the goal. Now I might quickly add, Spudnation, that you should not fret for this intro is not meant to scare you. You see, this “Murphy” guy is no longer around. Therefore his law did not account for two very recent phenomena: a six ton Idaho Potato and an unstoppable support crew of misfits. Disaster may have been looming at every step but it fell short at every turn at the hands of a deeper resolve. In the end, after a little turbulence, the crew and the unstoppable Spud rolled into the safety of McCormick Place’s vast chambers… its temporary home. And herein lays the change of pace. With Idaho’s pride tucked away in preparation for the National Restaurant Association, the Tater Team was relieved of their travel duties, and sought out their own adventures in the streets of Chicago.
Our truck was the first one in and will be the last one out. Now that is dedication.
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Sunday, April 29th, 2012—Adventure: an exciting or unusual experience. What better word to describe the week we just had?! Try to imagine navigating the busy streets of downtown Chicago in a wide load semi truck! With our adventures quickly stacking up, the checks on our tour’s “bucket list” keep on coming! Getting a police escort-Check! Meeting more prestigious big wigs- Check! Traffic Jam- Check! Sampling authentic Chicago style food- Double Check! Getting front row seats to a chef throw down- Check! It was hard just to keep up!
We were thrilled to start our weekend off in Wisconsin. What a more perfect pair than cheese and potatoes? Our loving fans were delighted to see our big spud and we were just as delighted when Todd Schmidt, the Foodservice Representative for the Northeastern states, dropped in to meet us. Finishing our visit off at a local Piggly Wiggly, we were off to the Windy City where we will be planted for the next three weeks!
Read more »
Wednesday, April 25th, 2012—The Idaho Potato Commission’s Great Big Idaho Potato Truckwill make three special appearances in Chicago, its second largest U.S. market, before making its way to idle on display in Booth #2202 at the 2012 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, set for its new dates May 5-8, 2012. The “Spectacular Spud Stops” will include two weekday supermarket appearances and a Saturday morning special event at Chicago’s iconic eatery Ina’s Restaurant, 1235 W. Randolph St. on April 28, 9 a.m. – noon.
Click HERE for the entire article.
Sunday, April 22nd, 2012—You always hear people say that the best part about traveling are the people you meet and the things you see. And while the Tater Team agrees whole heartedly with that saying, they would also like to add ‘the things we eat’ to the list. Which is why they could not have been more happy to start off their 3rd week of the tour in Kansas City; home of some of the sauciest BBQ this side of the Mississippi! They ate until they were fit to burst to ensure that they had enough fuel to last them until Wisconsin; their final state of the week. But it was not the destination that had them excited, it was the ‘in-betweens’, or better yet, ‘the journey’, that they were so anxious to experience. And they can definitely say that it has been a memorable one thus far.
Right from the get-go there seemed to be more food than manageable in the Kansas City area. But the great thing was that you had options. If you were tired of BBQ then you could have just come to your local Hen House in Overland Park for the Famous Idaho Potato Tour’s first Chef Event! That’s right, the Tater Team had an entourage of supporting acts that featured the wonderful chefs from bluestem Restaurant (lower case intended), a magnificent vegetable carver, and a couple of DJs from the local radio station, 95.7 The Vibe.
Chefs Megan and Colby Garrelts, from bluestem Restaurant, kept their minds distracted and their mouths watering with the sight and smell of their Smoked Idaho Potato Soup. The soup was a puree of crispy pork, fava beans, fresh goats milk mousseline, 5 lilies (5 different onions), and most importantly, Idaho potatoes! But hold on now, don’t go scarfing it down just yet, first we need to top it off with some of their chewy bacon bits and fresh chives!
The next act at the Chef Event was the boardwalk veteran, Stu Tarlowe. Stu showed up to teach the people how to whittle your Idaho potatoes into roses. And the only thing sharper than his knife was his tongue. Stu ‘wheeled and dealed’ as he demonstrated some of his most exotic carved-vegetable novelties: roses out of potatoes, beets, and rutabaga; palm trees out of sweet potatoes, bell peppers and grapes; and even a salad shark carved from a cucumber. The only time his hands, or his mouth, stopped moving were to put an exclamation point on the punch line of a well placed joke. Be sure and check out the Kansas City Event webisode to learn how to turn your baked potatoes into beautiful roses!
Shortly after the Chef Event, the team got back on the road and set their sights on Iowa, the Potato State… or wait, that’s Idaho… which is by Illinois right? I will have to double check on that. Either way, they were heading to Iowa, which is the state often confused with Idaho. Right from the start their shared plight with the rest of the country’s lack of geographical awareness created a lasting bond between the residents and Tater Team. People were excited to see the potato but even more excited to tell their stories about being mistaken for Idahoans. Overall, the warmth of the people and their excitement over the giant spud created a welcome environment while the tour stayed in the Des Moines area. And just so we can clarify, Idaho does potatoes and is in the Pacific Northwest. Iowa does corn and is in the Midwest. See the picture below if more info is needed.
The next stop on the tour took the team to Minneapolis, Minnesota, home of the Mall of America. This was a special stop on the tour both inside and outside of the events. Outside of the events the Tater Team’s driver, Paul, was reunited with his son after a month on the road. His son, Ian, rode down from North Dakota with his uncle and some cousins to check out our giant spud and ride some coasters inside the Mall of America. Tour Ambassador Kaiti also had a monumental visit to the mall by keeping her shopping bill under a $1,000 and limiting her shoe purchases to only four pairs. Needless to say, everyone was impressed by her extraordinary will power. But old habits were harder to kick for Tour Ambassador Ellis. He let his indecisiveness to purchase a new pair of running shoes bubble over into a two-hour struggle that had the salesman ready to abandon his commission. But in the end, the shoes were bought and Kaiti swears she heard him muttering about returning them before the end of the day.
Cubs Super Valu was the store chain nice enough to host our tour in the Minneapolis area. It was a wonderful, sunny day for the events and the Tater Team were not the only ones out to enjoy it. Marketers Keith and Amy from Betty Crocker’s potato division brought out their crew from the research and development group to do a little ‘onsite’ R&D. This division deals with potato products such as flavored mash, casserole and skillet potatoes that you can purchase across the United States. The best part about their products is that the majority of their potatoes are sourced right out of the Blackfoot, Idaho region. The lively crew brought their own potato props for a photo shoot before wrapping up the day’s festivities at Old Chicago.
As the team finished up the week by crossing the border into Wisconsin, they looked back at some of the new friends they had made. People from all over the country are getting to experience the most spectacular attraction on wheels, and no one leaves without understanding how important Idaho Potatoes are to us and to them. Even more rewarding are the displaced Idahoans that run up full of pride and excitement to reconnect with the oversized icon of their home state. After countless impressions in only three weeks, it is hard to imagine how many more will come in the next six months.
Leslie Mitchell (left) grew up in Boise and graduated from Capital High School. Rob Insinger (right) and his family have had a vacation home in Ketchum since his parents honeymooned their in the 1940s. The two met in Boise, moved to the Denver area and have been following our tour so that they could come and see us.
Elder Westmoreland (right) grew up in Meridian and is currently serving an LDS mission in the Des Moines area with his companion, Elder Russell (from Utah). Both had to stop to take pictures as they were driving by and saw the giant Idaho spud parked on the side of the road.
Wednesday, April 18th, 2012—KANSAS CITY, Mo. — About 1,800 miles into its cross country journey, the Idaho Potato commission’s great big Idaho potato rolled into the Kansas City metro area.
Accompanying the potato is the commission’s Tater Team, driver Paul Humbracht and “potato ambassadors” Kaiti Frickey and Ellis Nanney. Humbracht said he’s been driving trucks for about 8 years and the big baker is the most fun load he’s ever hauled.
Catch the whole article and video HERE!
Tuesday, April 17th, 2012—You’re not baked. You really did just see a massive fake potato rolling by on the highway. The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck – an oversized rendering of an Idaho spud on a flatbed truck – has been in Kansas City for the past 24 hours. Fat City regrets that we haven’t alerted you to its presence earlier, but Pitchwriter Ben Palosaari is now on the tater beat, and this post is our hope that you don’t entirely miss what can only be described as spectubular.
To see the whole article click HERE!
Sunday, April 15th, 2012—The voyage rolls on! The truck left behind a wake of smiling faces as it climbed the breathtaking Colorado mountains and rolled through Nebraska’s golden cornfields. The team was honored to get visits from a real life super hero, the infamous wings team, a modern day Evil Kenevil, a chivalrous astronaut, and a not so lucky encounter with a local bandit! To top off our week, the team was thrown into the heart of battle when several tornados decided to hit tornado alley! Little to say, The Famous Idaho Potato Team had and adventurous week.
Monday morning, 4/9, the team concluded its travels through Utah with one last event at Walmart in Price, Utah. To spice things up we filmed and unleashed our first video of “Spudkour”. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the “Parkour”, it is a series of jumps, flips, and climbing to get through or around various obstacles. While brainstorming for our debut video, we put two and two together and Spudkour was born! If you have yet to see our mind-blowing creation, visit our Facebook page and see it for yourself!
Crossing the angelic continental divide, we landed ourselves in the charming town of Grand Junction, Colorado. The sun was warm and welcoming in front of City Markets, Tuesday morning. While mingling with the bewildered locals, none other than our very own Idaho super hero, Kent Beesley, flew in! Knowing he couldn’t escort us on our whole seven month voyage, he left each of us with bobble head replicas to watch over our journey. God speed Kent!
Our next day in Denver was not short of surprises! The King Soopers crowds were buzzing with excitement at seeing our unique 6 ton replica. When the Wings Team (AKA Red Bull girls) heard of our presence they didn’t hesitate to squeeze a visit into their full schedule. Before departing they made sure our team had plenty of “hop in our step” by stocking us up with plenty of Red Bull to go around. Not five minutes later we were faced with our next big shot. A young Matt Hoffman whirled into the parking lot making a B-line for our giant spud. Accompanied with some small talk, he enlightened the team of some bike tricks he was more than capable of executing. With gears turning in our heads, we decided to test his skills! Kaiti crouched down, said her prayers, and closed her eyes!
We were surprised to find just how far the news of our visit had spread. Our jaws dropped when we found out word had reached the ears of a working astronaut. He arranged for a special trip home from his duties on the ‘’Spud-nik” and landed just outside the King Sooper’s parking lot. Still in uniform, the astronaut eagerly snapped some pictures and waved to local admirers.
After moving to our next event at Walmart, our tour was threatened to come to an end when a notorious Commerce City bandit set his sights on the Famous Idaho Potato. Determined to make off with our giant spud, the thief caused a panic among the admirers. Luckily, Officer Wayne Marrone was near when he heard the commotion. Jumping into action, the officer had the bandit obtained and cuffed before he could “peel” away.
Thanks to Officer Marrone we were able to continue on to Nebraska! The locals of Lincoln and St. Blair were friendly and more than welcoming. Weather slowly began to pick up Saturday afternoon as record breaking storms began to roll through the Midwest. On coming tornados were the talk of the town as the team started to prepare for its trek to Kansas City. Not fifteen minutes from our departure from St. Blair, we pulled into Omaha where we received the news that a storm was scheduled to hit in ten minutes and a tornado near the city was already in pursuit! Checking the news, Kansas City was the twister-infested storm’s next big target. Not wanting to end up in the land of Oz, we decided to bunker down in Omaha for the night.
On the road once again, we are heading to Kansas City! We have an exciting week ahead of us and look forward to meeting all of our fans in the Midwest! Keep a close eye out for our newest youtube videos shortly to come. Thanks for following!
Thursday, April 12th, 2012—Giant potato rolls into Denver. 9NEWS at 11 a.m. 04/11/12.
Click HERE to watch the NEWS REPORT
Thursday, April 12th, 2012—By Electa Draper
Judging by the number of doubletakes and swerving cars — cellphone cameras held aloft outside windows — the arrival in Denver of a 28-foot-long, 12,130-pound “specially cultivated” potato chained to a sweetheart-red flatbed did not go unnoticed.
For the whole article click HERE
For the accompanying video click HERE
Wednesday, April 11th, 2012—By Laura Zuckerman
SALMON, Idaho, April 10 (Reuters) – A six-ton replica potato, strapped to the trailer of a semi-truck, is on a coast-to-coast U.S. tour to promote the tuber that is Idaho’s claim to fame but has fallen out of favor with diet gurus for its carbohydrate content.
Get the rest of the article at any of the media outlets below!
MSNBC Food Today
The Baltimore Sun
The Dallas Morning News
Sunday, April 8th, 2012—In a journey throughout the United States greatly resembling adventures from James and the Giant Peach, the Tater Team managed to pull off an extraordinary week that was filled with memorable people and touching stories. It was a fitting start in Idaho where we traveled to the lands where our tubers first started and support would be inevitable. But even in Utah, support remained strong as we had great turnouts at our events in the Salt Lake City Area.
News of our presence spread fast in Twin Falls as the radio got many people to the Walmart of our first event. The Team interviewed for their very first time as they seemed to be naturals at talking about the tour and its incredible mission. And right from the start, this mission was making deep connections. Mel and Lee Rayborn made a special trip out to see the Great Potato and not only were they sporting their BSU attire, but they also had a story to share with us.
A while back, Mrs. Rayborn had to have back surgery. The healing time prevented her from being able to cook, leaving them no choice but to use the services of Meals on Wheels. But because their needs came from a limitation of physical abilities and not a lack of money, the couple made sure to donate $4.50 for every meal they were provided. This was a glimpse of how the Famous Idaho Potato Tour had the ability to positively affect the lively hoods of many people in Idaho and across the country.
After Twin Falls, the tour forged ahead to Idaho Falls, Blackfoot and Pocatello. The locations in Idaho Falls brought out many important supporters of the tour, including farmers, distributors, and commissioners. We were even surprised to see Tom Arnold’s twin brother, Ray Andrus, come out and see us.
On our way to Pocatello we stopped off in Blackfoot to compare ‘taters’ with the Idaho Potato Museum. Their baked potato was large and delicious looking, however, it was no match for its larger, nomadic counterpart. The brief stop enlightened and inspired the Tater Team as they prepared to leave the great state of Idaho.
After a great send off at the Walmart in Pocatello, the giant spud continued south, across the border, and into the unknown. Everyone was holding their breaths as they passed into uncharted territories outside of Idaho, wondering what kind of response they were to receive. But within moments the hesitation and concern was extinguished. The people of Utah were warm and welcoming as many came out to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Idaho Potato Commission with us. The weather, on the other hand, was not as welcoming or as warm. We were greeted with a great snow storm, casting a sour cream-esque look on the Great Potato and testing the snow gear of the Tater Team.
But any initial hesitation by Utah’s Mother Nature was quickly subdued, and the warm days to follow seemed to show her smiling down upon The Team and their cause. Sunburns were delivered as The Team wrapped up the first of many weeks to come.
Thursday, April 5th, 2012—The world’s largest potato made a stop in Idaho Falls. The potato tour started in Boise and will go all across the country for the next 7 months.
The Idaho Potato Commission is celebrating its 75th anniversary by sending the world’s biggest potato to different cities.
Click HERE for the entire article
Thursday, April 5th, 2012—
By Aimee Burnett
Story Created: Apr 3, 2012 at 6:37 PM MDT
Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT-TV) The Great Idaho Potato Truck is embarking on a cross-country journey.
It rolled into Twin Falls today making its first stop along a seven month tour.
It’s all part of the Idaho Potato Commission’s 75th Anniversary
Click HERE for the entire story and video!
Thursday, April 5th, 2012—
Idaho Potato begins truck tour
04/03/2012 12:59:49 PM
The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck has started rolling on its seven-month tour across the country.
The truck, sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission, was inspired by a vintage Idaho potato postcard and holds a 6-ton version of a potato.
It will travel the nation to help raise funds for Meals on Wheels Association of America.
The giant potato, if real, would produce more than 1.4 million regular-sized fries, according to a news release.
Read more HERE
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012—Yesterday, we told you that the Idaho Potato Commission’s giant potato was coming to Twin Falls.
Today, it showed up in a BIG way.
The potato was built by the Potato Commission to celebrate 75 years of promoting Idaho Potatoes and to draw some attention to the Meals on Wheels program.
Click HERE for the entire article
Monday, April 2nd, 2012—
Idaho potato truck hits the road for cross-country tour
By John Groh | April 02, 2012
After months of much anticipation and fanfare, the Great Big Idaho Potato Truck officially set off on its seven-month cross-country journey following a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Idaho Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter in front of the Idaho Capitol Building.
Click HERE to read this article
Thursday, March 29th, 2012—After a grueling week of training and tests, the Tater Team has finally been approved for public interaction. Their training involved a whole gambit of activities including truck safety, product knowledge, partner knowledge, media training, story telling, pull-ups, push-ups, the long jump, paper mache, and even water chugging (Kaiti outdid herself in this particular area). In the end, and after many bathroom breaks, both the Idaho Potato Commission and the managing company, Foerstel, stamped their approval on the polished candidates.
This marked the start of a joyous day as all of those involved could now focus on the pressing matters to come, particularly, the Governor’s send off and ribbing cutting ceremony. For one last time the Big Idaho Potato Truck and its oversized bounty will cast a shadow on the residents of Boise before embarking on its delicious and nutritious journey. So make sure you come out and get your portion before it is gone, because once the truck departs the only thing that is certain will be the inevitably bad potato jokes and the tubular adventures that the crew is bound to encounter.
Wednesday, March 28th, 2012—BOISE — If flying isn’t for you, what about a cross country trip in a giant potato?
Happening this Friday, The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck will embark on its seven-month cross-country journey.
It’s in honor of its 75th anniversary.
Read the article here
Friday, March 23rd, 2012—Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Marks Beginning of Seven-Month Cross-Country Tour
Boise, Idaho, March 30, 2012 — After months of fanfare, the Great Big Idaho® Potato Truck has officially set-off on its seven-month cross-country journey following a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter in front of the Idaho Capitol Building.
In celebration of its Diamond Anniversary, the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) built a larger-than-life version of the vintage Idaho® potato postcard. Weighing in at 6 tons, the Great Big Idaho® Potato Truck will traverse the country to greet fans and to help raise funds and awareness for Meals on Wheels, a non-profit organization that provides more than one million meals each day to homebound seniors.
“Potatoes are very important to Idaho and I’m proud of the work the entire industry has done for the past 75 years to develop a first-class brand that is recognized around the world,” said Governor Otter. “The Great Big Idaho® Potato Truck serves as a traveling ambassador for the great state of Idaho, the number one producer of potatoes in the country.”
“This is very special year for us as we recognize an industry that has worked tirelessly to grow the finest potatoes available. We know that our potatoes provide nourishment to millions of folks every day of the year but many don’t realize how important the potato industry is to Idaho,” explained Frank Muir, president and CEO, IPC. “Idaho® Potatoes generate more than $4 billion dollars in revenue annually and employee more than 30,000 people. Agriculture and potatoes in particular are the primary reasons Idaho is among the most fiscally sound states in the nation.”
The Great Big Idaho® Potato Truck made its national debut at the Famous Idaho® Potato Bowl in Boise last December when ESPN prominently featured it several times during the Game. Since then, the Great Big Idaho® Potato Truck has made several local appearances in Idaho and at every venue, the most frequently asked question is “Is it real?” We’ll never tell…you decide!
Tuesday, January 31st, 2012—Chris Schofield and Sharolyn Rae Spruce, Owners – Schofield Design, Weiser, Idaho
Schofield Design built the Tater Truck for Foerstel’s client, Idaho Potato Commission, and their worst and best all took place during the construction of the potato truck! Read more »
Monday, December 19th, 2011—If you think you saw a giant potato on wheels trucking down the road this weekend you were not hallucinating! It was real. Well, your vision was real…not the potato. Schofield Design in Weiser, Idaho, did such a great job constructing this radical russet, we have had to convince potato enthusiasts that it’s just a reproduction!
We inspired our client, the Idaho Potato Commission, to let us design, build and promote the world’s largest potato in celebration of their 75th anniversary. Complete with imperfections, bumps and potato eyes, this giant spud started capturing the attention of Idahoans from the moment of its debut at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl at Bronco Stadium this past Saturday. Read more »