FEDERAL WAY — Tom Payne has a new and bigger Bigfoot to replace the carving that was stolen from outside his chiropractic clinic and was recovered only after the feet had been amputated.
Payne is replacing Sasquatch Sam, mounted outside his clinic for more than five years, with the top choice of spectators who watched three local chainsaw artists carve new versions at his office Saturday and Sunday.
The contest was conceived by the Pemco Insurance marketing department, partly for the company’s “A Lot Like You” advertising campaign featuring characters such as “Bumper Sticker Idealist,” “Recumbent Bike Commuter,” “Smug Hybrid Driver,” “Super-Long Coffee Orderer,” “Ponytailed Software Geek” and — in this case — “Roadside Chainsaw Woodcarver.”
“We thought we might get a little exposure for us and do something kind of cool for the community,” Jon Osterberg, Pemco marketing and communications manager, said Sunday. “We approached Dr. Payne about it, and he thought it would be great.”
The winning carving was made by Charlie Hubbard, 58, of Gig Harbor, whose 9-foot work was taller than the pieces made by George Kenny of Allyn and Mark Herrington of Wilkeson and featured a big grin beneath neatly parted hair.
Hubbard used to fell trees for a living and switched to chainsaw carving after a heart attack.
“You don’t get rich, but it pays the bills and it’s fun,” Hubbard said.
Payne said he might follow up the carving competition with a contest among his patients to name the new Bigfoot.
Sasquatch Sam, a chainsaw carving originally 8 feet tall and 400 pounds with red reflector eyes, a depiction of the legendary apelike creature of the Pacific Northwest, bore a slight passing resemblance to the figure on the cover of Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung” recording.
The theft of the creature on Jan. 22, 2007, and recovery two days later drew national publicity. In what police said was a vain attempt to cover up the crime, the 16-inch-long feet had been sawed off at the ankles, which are nearly 9 inches thick, shortening the carving by a foot and a half.
Police spokeswoman Stacy Flores said a man and a juvenile boy confessed to taking the carving, but the motive was unclear.
Payne said he would have nothing to do with an offer to buy Sasquatch Sam.
“That’d be like selling one of my grandsons,” he said.