Visual artists need materials to carry out their profession: painters need canvas, while sculptors need wood or stone. Blake McFarland needs rubber – in the form of car tyres, because McFarland is a tyre artist, who makes deceptively genuine sculptures that look real and are so impressive that the US tyre manufacturer Goodyear decided to commission Blake McFarland for a project that is extremely popular in the USA.
Goodyear has committed itself to provide active support for college football, which prepares players for a professional American football career. Hundreds of US universities participate in the leagues that are organised highly professionally , because they generate large revenues for the colleges. American football is probably the most popular sport of all in the USA irrespective of this. On 2. January this year, the 81st Cotton Bowl Classic was held in the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, as the grand finale of the college football season. This college football highlight is also known as the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, because it is always sponsored by Goodyear . The Western Michigan Broncos played the Wisconsin Badgers in the final, that attracted great public attention. The Wisconsin Badgers, who were considered the tournament favourites, won the game 24:16 .
This year, Goodyear as sponsor came up with something very special to congratulate the two teams on reaching the Cotton Bowl Classic. When the company heard about Blake McFarland and his interest in turning rubber into art, it was prompted to take advantage of his skills in a way that was appropriate in the football context: McFarland was commissioned by Goodyear to reproduce the two teams’ mascots using his rubber tyre art .
Blake McFarland, who was a professional football player himself, did not need any persuading and set to work. He spent 300 hours cutting 925 metres of rubber profiles from 500 car tyres in order to reproduce the club mascots. In the case of the Western Michigan Broncos, it is a horse – the Western Michigan Bronco  – while it is Bucky Badger  in the case of the winning team from Wisconsin. The two sculptures were unveiled at a ceremony held on the day of the game, have been presented subsequently at various celebrations and are, finally, going to the two teams’ colleges as a souvenir and a present. What a wonderful idea ... GD