Palisade fish story has happy ending

Home found for sculpture of motorcycle mufflers

PALISADE ARTIST Lyle Nichols stands by “Harley,” his sculpture made from Harley-Davidson motorcycle mufflers, at the Blue Pig Gallery in Palisade. The community has raised funds for a permanent home for “Harley,” a water display in the proposed Palisade Town Plaza.

“Harley,” a 7-foot-tall chrome fish sculpture, has really made a splash in Palisade.

The Blue Pig Gallery in Palisade has reeled in most of the money it needs to secure a spot for Harley in a water feature in the new Palisade Town Plaza.

The goal of $18,000 was set in June, and with the help of local donors the gallery already has pledges for $16,000.

Harley was made out of Harley-Davidson motorcycle mufflers by longtime Palisade resident and sculptor Lyle
Nichols. The sculpture has 500 polished scales, is 6 1/2 feet long and pivots on a base that weighs 400 pounds.

“I’m just surprised that it did happen that fast,” Nichols said of the fundraising.

The town of Palisade has not broken ground on the plaza proposed for Third Street yet. The expected completion date is April 2009.

Nichols is the creator of the “Mike the Headless Chicken” sculpture in Fruita and “Rusty’s Dream” in front of Palisades National Bank, among other works.

Jane Wood, an owner of the Blue Pig, spearheaded the Home for Harley fundraiser. She said it was love at first sight with Harley.

The fish can be touched and it reflects its surroundings like a mirror.

Harley has been on display in the front window of the Blue Pig for months. The sight of it stops people walking by the shop.

“See how people do that,” Wood said, pointing at a couple looking at Harley through the gallery’s window
earlier this week. “He hooks them and reels them in.”

Wood thinks Harley will be the chrome buffalo of Palisade.

A community fundraiser helped pay for “Chrome on the Range II,” the giant buffalo on Grand Junction’s Main Street by Aspen sculptor Lou Wille. More than 3,000 people contributed to that fund, according to the Downtown Grand Junction Web site,

Wood said Mesa State College students did a study a while back on what is the most photographed thing in Grand Junction. They found it to be “Chrome on the Range II,” Wood said.

The owners of the new Wine Country Inn in Palisade, Richard and Jean Tally, were the first to donate to Home for Harley, giving $1,000, Wood said.

Since then, the town, its residents and even the Town Grouch have donated various amounts. A vendor at the Palisade Sunday Markets is donating 10 percent of his sales from the market to the fund.

The plaza is designed to have a small stage, a winding sidewalk and stream, landscaping and seating.


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