In 2002, the first welding rodeo at Bellingham Technical College laid the foundation for one of the premier welding competitions in the Northwest, and also gave birth to Delilah, a 14-foot-tall giraffe that was the winning creation.
Since then, Delilah has stood patiently amidst some bushes, keeping friendly watch over the public lawn behind Bellingham Public Library. Appropriately, that side of the library includes views of Delilah and from the Children’s Library on the lower floor.
“The location that the library chose is excellent,” says Mary Kuebelbeck of Bellingham, who created Delilah along with Cheryl Box, Bob Larson and Stan Richardson.
Five teams competed in the inaugural welding rodeo, says Kuebelbeck, who now teaches welding at Skagit Valley College. The team that created Delilah called themselves the BTC Longnecks.
“We were drinking longneck beer bottles,” Kuebelbeck explains. “We used that same name the six years we competed.”
It took the team eight hours to make Delilah, using car parts, mufflers, chains and scrap steel donated by local industries.
Myles Donnelly, owner of The Franklin Corp. in Ferndale, and his wife, Jeré, a former welding instructor at BTC, bought Delilah with plans to install her at their beach house at Sandy Point, but later agreed to sell her to the city.
Fortunately for Delilah, and for library patrons, the 2002 Welding Rodeo had no height limit on contest creations.