WALWORTH COUNTY — In rural Walworth County, a small team created a homemade, 40,000-pound statue that includes an extra-large Ronald McDonald's Officer Big Mac head.
"That’s the Tin Man. Officially, I would call him the Tin Man," Robert Stewart said.
That statue stands tall in Robert Stewart's home near Lake Geneva. In fact, it can be seen from about a mile away. It took him and his friend Shane Pope two years to make it.
The statue was built primarily out of scrap metal that Robert was able to collect, which includes the legs, the arms, and body of the statue. The torso is an old water tank that was used in the Pabst Brewery. However, the most iconic piece of the statue might be its Officer Big Mac head. That's where the inspiration for the Tin Man started.
Officer Big Mac was a popular figure in McDonald's commercials in the 1970s. The head came from an old play jailhouse that would have been at a McDonald's franchise.
Then Robert decided to play up the Officer Big Mac persona by giving the Tin Man a sheriff's badge.
“Start to finish, we spent two years welding on him on the ground. We actually built him laying on his back.”
Since it is 20 tons, it took some heavy lifting to get the Tin Man upright.
"I had to have a 90-ton crane come set him, you know. I had to pour the concrete slab. There’s a big anchor poured in the ground to hold him," he said.
Which also means it wasn't cheap. The labor that went into making this statue along with the cost to get materials was around $10,000, according to Robert.
Overall, it’s just something fun and cool on the side of the road, but if you look closely you’ll notice some details, like a cardinal on the statue's shoulders, the belt buckle, and even a wagon it’s dragging.
The Tin Man, along with the 'Despicable Me' minions he and his daughter Mariah made and painted, have become a popular roadside attraction in the area.
“We’ve had a couple stop actually specifically for the Minions and take a picture with the Minions," Mariah said.
She is just happy to be able to provide a little bit of joy to passerbys and be part of what her dad is building.
"I feel really good about it," Mariah said.
If you were to think Robert was satisfied with this 40,000-pound statue, you’d be wrong.
“We have plenty of stuff to build another one.”