Wrestling Highlight Herky has many portraits of different wrestlers throughout Iowa history, as well as some images of important moments and places. The primary color is black, with portraits outlined in gold running along each arm. Where Herky’s teeth normally would be are images of a bird and the wrestling mat at Carver. Across the torso is a picture of legendary Hawkeye wrestling coach Dan Gable, and an image of wrestlers hoisting the NCAA championship trophy. Herky’s left leg has a painting of the Olympic torch, and the right a painting of a different Herky in a singlet, ready to wrestle.
Jason Soliday is the artist of Wrestling Highlight Herky, and his artistic and Iowa ties run deep. Soliday received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Iowa, and his Master’s from Iowa State. He has been an art specialist for the Des Moines Public Schools for over 20 years. He also was a Letterman at Iowa and played for the 1990 Big Ten Champion Iowa football team. Soliday designed the History of Iowa Football Herky in the first Herky Parade, and this time wanted to honor Hawkeye wrestling, with portraits of National and Olympic champions. This Herky currently resides at a car dealership in Cedar Rapids.
Pathos: Wrestling Highlight Herky has a clear purpose of pathos, and that is to invoke memories of Iowa’s wrestling program, which historically is one of, if not the best, in the country. The feelings this Herky provokes depends on how deeply invested one is in the Iowa wrestling program. Take, for example, the image of the wrestlers lifting the NCAA trophy. To some, it may bring back happiness and memories of some incredible times, either for Iowa wrestling or perhaps of their own journey through the sport. For others, perhaps a sense of community, being able to get involved with such a successful program. And for those with little wrestling knowledge or experience, it may simply invoke pride in their university and fellow students.
Ethos: Soliday himself already has built ethos before this Herky design. He has a Master’s Degree in the Fine Arts, and has been involved with teaching art for over two decades. Soliday also designed the History of Iowa Football Herky, and played football at Iowa. The Herky itself also is quite credible in the message it is sending. A normal tribute to a sport may simply contain images of those who competed for the school. However, given Iowa’s history and reputation of extremely talented wrestling, this Herky bears some of the greatest wrestlers and coaches to ever live.
Kairos: As most of the wrestlers and coaches on the Herky are from times past, this Herky, while being a representation of the entirety of Hawkeye wrestling, may be a nod to a specific period. Under coach Dan Gable (1976 – 1997), the Hawkeye wrestling team went on one of the greatest streaks of domination in modern sports. In those years, the Hawkeyes won 21 Big Ten Championships, and 15 NCAA titles. Thus, as most portraits on Herky are of wreslters from that period, perhaps that is what many people think of when seeing Wrestling Highlight Herky.
This Herky does a phenomenal job conveying the value of school spirit. Just by looking at all of the wrestlers and awards on the Herky makes fans proud. It shows how successful the wrestling program at Iowa has been, and encourages everyone to go out and attend meets and matches, in order to witness a part of history. It also conveys the importance of sports in a school’s culture. There are many things that Iowa is known for – its campus, its writing, Iowa City, and more. Through the eyes of the sports world, however, Iowa is known for its wrestling. And this Herky supports that position. Wrestling has shaped how the university is known, and it is nearly impossible to talk Iowa sports without mentioning the incredible wrestling program.