Art Car staying in 'Boat

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Your eyes do not deceive you -- that really was a giant, sparkling lizard-mobile you saw on Lincoln Avenue.

The penny, bead and mirror-encrusted art car is named "Lizard King," and it now has a permanent home in Steamboat Springs.

The towering automotive concoction, once a mere Honda Civic, was made by inner-city high school students in Rebecca Bass' combination art and shop class at Waltrip High School in Houston. The Art Car and its seven student creators arrived in Steamboat for the Beaux Arts Festival's Art Car Stampede last month. After winning the people's choice award and a $500 prize, the students went back to Houston and left their Art Car in the hands of the Steamboat Springs Arts Council.

"We made it home, and all the kids had a life-changing trip. It was amazing the comments they had on the long drive home. Thank you for helping them have this experience, they will remember it forever," Bass wrote in an e-mail.

With a new reptilian landmark on the local streetscape, Steamboat is likely to remember the event forever, as well.

Art Car Stampede organizer Lynne Masters has been deemed the "Chief Lizard Keeper" and plans to have a committee of "assistant lizard keepers" help her with reptilian upkeep and a demanding touring schedule.

"It likes music and parties," Masters said of the car. She hinted that the Lizard King likes The Radiators and Asleep at the Wheel in particular, and would be slithering through Hayden's fair parade and Oak Creek's Labor Day parade.

"By virtue of the definition of what an Art Car is, it has to be driven on a regular basis," Masters said.

In exchange for a contribution to the Lizard King Art Car Maintenance Fund, the Lizard King will be available for special events and appearances. Contact the Steamboat Springs Arts Council at 879-1008.

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