The Small Town: Bottineau, North Dakota Population: 2211 (2010)
The Claim to Fame: Tommy Turtle – World’s Largest Turtle
One surefire way for your town to establish a claim to fame is to build the world’s largest something, whether it be a buffalo, a trout, a chair, or in Bottineau, North Dakota’s case, the world’s largest turtle. Fake turtle that is. Tommy Turtle is 30 feet tall and weighs over three tons and the snowmobile he is on, which is also the world’s largest, is even bigger.
What strikes me most about this interesting structure is that some guy from Idaho took the time to design this monstrosity, build it, haul it hundreds of miles from Idaho to North Dakota and then, at the last minute, apparently chose to finish it off very quickly with a couple of poorly selected colors (free paint?) and disturbingly large and simple mouth and eyes and that look like upside down quotation marks. It looks like, after all that work, he got in a real hurry near the end. Maybe his wife was on the phone screaming "Enough with that godforsaken turtle already. Get on home!”
Nevertheless, I am certain that thousands of children and a handful of drunken adults have some very fond memories of the day they stopped by to see the world’s largest turtle.