Feature Contributors

Column: Sgt. Jack R. Yeend, Royal Coxswain

Dear readers,

I need your help. My campaign to promote “The Helbing” has stalled. In truth, it never really got started. 

The official name of Shelbyville’s stainless-steel sculpture is “Blue River – Wind, Rain, and Water.” It is the creation of Shelbyville-native Mike Helbing. I nicknamed it “The Helbing.”  

Soon after its installation, I noticed that it wasn’t universally loved by the citizens of Shelbyville. Some negative reaction was expected. It isn’t unusual for any public sculpture to have a few critics. When the city of Chicago installed a giant modern art sculpture by famous artist Picasso, it wasn’t liked by everyone. 



Recently, a new statue commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King was unveiled in Boston. The giant bronze sculpture of arms locked in a hug was met with criticism immediately.

I have tried to promote The Helbing as a meeting place. On Valentine’s Day in 2019, Team Schwinn hosted a Valentine’s Day party. Even “Happy Valentine's Day” balloons and the special appearance of “The Martha Stewart of Shelbyville” Susie Veerkamp couldn’t draw a crowd.

I have offered to officiate a wedding for any couple willing to have the ceremony at The Helbing. The offer is still good. The couple need only provide the license and I will officiate the wedding for free. Of course, they must allow me to take a few photos and use their wedding to promote The Helbing.

Running low on ideas, I’ve decided a royal promotion might jump start this popularity campaign. I checked the availability of the Duke and Duchess Harry and Meghan, but unfortunately their dance card was full.  I decided the next best royal for the job was none other than Waldron’s favorite son and Royal Coxswain, Jack Yeend.

Some of you might not have realized that Jack was royalty, but he has a certificate from the Indiana Gaming Commission to prove it. When Indiana first legalized gambling, all gambling had to take place on riverboats. Jack was the Royal Coxswain on that first riverboat when it left the dock on March 15, 1994. 

As the coxswain, he was responsible for coordinating the power and rhythm of the rowers. If the engines failed, the dealers and cocktail waitresses would man the oars to get the boat back to shore before the gamblers ran out of money.    

Now here is where I need your help. Look closely at the photograph of Jack and me in front of The Helbing. It is doctored. 

I couldn’t even talk Jack into stopping by The Helbing for a photograph.  It turns out he isn’t a fan and that’s putting it mildly. Jack takes the interstate to get from the south side of Shelbyville to the north side just to avoid driving past The Helbing.  

So, the next time you see Jack Yeend, do me a favor. Tell him to lend a hand to his old pal Kris. I’m thinking maybe Jack could autograph copies of his certificate this summer at The Helbing. If that doesn’t draw a crowd, I don’t know what will. 

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

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