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Steamboat Springs One of Steamboat Springs’ favorite couples, Kris and Becky Hammond, are approaching their 30th wedding anniversary June 18 (they exchanged vows in a restored convent in San Antonio in 1983) and, in a remarkable gesture of philanthropy, have decided to break the bank. Not their savings account — their prized wedding gift piggy bank.
The bank, which is roughly the size of a small microwave and covered with signatures and sundry graffiti, is on display in the lobby of Alpine Bank in Steamboat Springs awaiting its demise. In the meantime, well-wishers are invited to view the pig and submit estimates of just how much wealth the pig is packing.
Bank official David High told the Steamboat Today that a wedding pig fundraiser will generate contributions to the Hammonds’ chosen nonprofit, Partners in Routt County, by inviting visitors to the bank to drop a dollar in a bucket for the opportunity to guess how much money the piggy bank contains (six guesses for $5). Seventy-five percent of the contributions will go to Partners, and the person who comes closest to guessing the amount of money in the piggy bank will claim 25 percent of the contributions.
Kris Hammond said the piggy bank was presented to him and Becky after a party of wedding guests stopped at a roadside ceramic stand and purchased it as a white elephant gift.
“It is very tacky, and they all signed it,” Hammond said.
Becky Hammond said she won’t miss the pig. Throughout the years, it’s become too heavy to move out of sight when company is coming.
“It’s too heavy to move now,” she said. “It takes two people.”
The Hammonds have left the pig in a handy spot for most of the past three decades and tossed change into it whenever they thought to. That’s 30 years of coins.
The pig does not have a stopper in its belly, so the Hammonds have not assayed its contents since disco music was the rage and really don’t know themselves what it might contain. High estimated its weight as approaching 100 pounds.
“For the last five years or so, it’s been up in the attic,” Hammond said.
Any wedding ceremony worth its salt is remembered for some mild misadventure, and in the case of the Hammonds, it involves a road trip gone bad. Kris said the first half of the road trip more closely resembled the movie “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” Since there were two guys who weren’t acquainted on this particular trip, I prefer to think of it as “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” Kris gets to be Steve Martin, and the stranger is John Candy.
Kris was traveling from Loveland to San Antonio in his white Mercury Lynx about four or five days prior to the wedding when the driveshaft gave out near Lamesa, Texas.
Kris called Becky and asked her to begin driving in his direction while he attempted to hitch a ride. The car dealer dropped him off on Interstate 20 about 3 miles outside town and 366 miles from San Antonio. The first two hours passed without an offer of a ride.
Finally, a man wearing an unbuttoned shirt and driving an Oldsmobile 442 with the tailpipe dragging stopped by the side of the road.
“He told me he’d give me a ride if I bought the beer,” Kris recalled. “I wasn’t in a position to turn him down.”
So, after stopping for a 12-pack of Lone Star, they rumbled off down the interstate with the driver tossing empty beers at the road signs whizzing by. Even though the first cellphone was many years in the future, Becky managed to drive 172 miles and arrive in the town of Sonora within seconds of the Oldsmobile’s arrival.
“I took it as a sign that we were meant to be married,” Becky said.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com