Feature Contributors

Column: Would you get married at The Helbing if it was free?

Dear readers,

I’ve been writing my column for over 30 years. Some of you have been taking a weekly ride on my Schwinn since the beginning. Along the way I picked up some millennial readers a few years ago.

Lately my readership has exploded. I can’t go shopping at Walmart without readers stopping me to chat. Most have ideas for future columns. 

I might not be the greatest columnist in the world, but I have succeeded in spanning the generation gap. My column has brought the generations together. It doesn’t matter if my reader is a member of the Greatest Generation, a Boomer, Millennial, Gen X, Z or Alpha.

They all agree on one thing. I need to move on and quit writing about “The Helbing.”

Message received. Next week, I promise to sharpen one of my No. 2 Ticonderoga pencils and get out into the community and do some old-fashioned reporting. In this final week of The Helbing, I hope to dazzle new readers with some little-known facts. I will also reward a lucky couple with a free wedding. 

The Helbing is made from stainless steel, so it is here to stay. The official name of the sculpture is “Blue River – Wind, Rain and Water.”



I call it The Helbing. I personally like a great many things about the art piece.

What I like most is that the artist, Mike Helbing is one of us. He is from Shelbyville.

Mike has fond memories growing up here. He continued his education at Ball State and Purdue just like many Shelby County students. His parents, Butch and Patricia, lived in Shelbyville most of their lives and always contributed to the good of our community.

His younger brother, Chris, tragically died in an automobile accident while still a student at Shelbyville High School. The location of the accident was just a few miles north of Mike’s sculpture on State Road 9. 

Mike is a Vietnam veteran. He is now a very successful artist. We have a shared history with Mike and can all be proud of him and his accomplishments.

Now look closely at today’s photo. The bride is a local socialite and former debutante Cristi Downing. The groom is local attorney Tyler Earl Brant, who for many years was considered the most eligible bachelor in town. 

Attorney Brant, in his spare time, is a member of Team Schwinn. Earl, as he is known in Kentucky, assisted me in establishing diplomatic relations with Shelbyville, Kentucky. Yes, they also have Shelbyville in Kentucky. Thus, our nickname, Shelby Tucky.

Both cities were named after the first governor of Kentucky, Isaac Shelby. 

I couldn’t talk Earl and Cristi into getting married at The Helbing, but they did agree to having their photo taken there after their reception.  I’m not sure if it was my begging them to do it or the effect of the little bubbles in the champagne. 

I overheard several of the wedding guests guessing what The Helbing was supposed to be. One Kentuckian said it’s obviously a modern art sculpture of a still after the revenuers got through with it. Just look at that bent up condenser coil on the top.

E.A. Bucchianeri famously said, “Art is in the eye of the beholder.” So, you might see a still, a pile of spaghetti or Blue River – Wind, Rain and Water.

You are probably wondering about the free wedding offer. Here is how it works. I will officiate a free wedding for the first couple who make the request. All the couple needs to bring is a valid marriage license. I will officiate the wedding for free.

The only catch is that it must be at The Helbing.

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

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