May 24 • 07:31 PM

The big, big chill

Imlay City brothers create 14 foot tall snowman

Brothers Forrest and Anthony Rankin stand next to 14’ snowman they created in the front yard of their Metcalf Street home.

February 24, 2010
IMLAY CITY — There's the old saying 'when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.'

For Anthony Rankin, that concept applies except in a different way. He admits he's no fan of winter. He doesn't like the cold. But when life gives him snow, he makes a snowman. A really, really big snowman.

The 21-year-old Imlay City High School grad (Class of 2006) and his brother, Forrest, 15, decided to take advantage of some good packing snow last week and build a snowman.

"We hadn't had much snow this year so when we did I wanted to build it," Anthony says. "I just do it for the heck of it."

Anthony says he wanted to top last year's creation which measured 9 feet tall. And they did. The snowman in front of their Metcalf Road home tops out at 14 feet.

"I always have to do everything to the extreme," Anthony chuckles. "I always want to do something big, not for any particular reason. I decided to make this extremely large."

The extreme project took about 14 hours over a four day period. For aesthetic reasons, Anthony and Forrest hauled snow from the backyard one wheelbarrow at a time. From there, they packed it into trash cans and flipped them over to create a large square. They continued stacking the cylinders of snow until a ladder was required. They then hauled up five-gallon buckets packed with snow and continued to pile up the stack.

Throughout the process, Anthony says he didn't have to worry about the cold temps he's not so fond of.

"We were seriously working so hard that my brother and I were just wearing a single long sleeve shirt," Anthony says. "I never got cold once."

After the snow was piled high enough, Anthony and Forrest carved out the snowman shape using their hands and a metal shovel. This surprises many people, Anthony notes.

"They always ask how did you lift up the big ball of snow," he says. "We never picked anything up other than buckets of snow."

Last year's nine foot snowman created quite a stir, and this year's 14 foot rival has, too.

"I haven't seen it yet this year but last year people actually got out of their car to stand by it and have their picture taken," Anthony says.

As of Tuesday, the warm temperatures has caused the snowman to tilt a bit, and Anthony's not sure how much longer it will be standing.

It doesn't bother him that his artwork was temporary. It was worth it, he says. And now that there are eight more inches of good packing snow, Anthony's not sure if he'll try something new.

"As badly as I want to, by

the end of the time we spent building this one I was so tired I just laid in bed and could barely move," he says. "Every muscle in my body was sore. I slept for thirteen hours straight."

Anthony and Forrest are the sons of Diane and Pat Rankin. Forrest is a freshman at Imlay City High School. Their sister Leigha is 19 and attends college in Detroit.

Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.
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