Hopewell Valley Stampede, August 16-21, 2014

The Hopewell Valley Arts Council undertook a fundraising project called the Hopewell Valley Stampede. They decided the Ox was a good symbol of Hopewell Valley and solicited sponsors and artists to produce decorated, lifesize, fiberglass oxen which have been placed all over Hopewell Township in Mercer County, New Jersey. The township also encloses Pennington Boro and Hopewell Boro.

The oxen started appearing in the week of August 11. I believe the goal was to have them installed by the 15th, but apparently some weren’t ready by then.

I thought it would be a fun project to ride my bike to each ox and take a photo (sometimes 2 or 3 if the sides of the ox were different or if there was something that deserved a zoom).

On 6 days (August 16-21) I rode a total of 154 miles photographing oxen with my iphone (the photos have location info if you’re interested). Some of the rides were essentially my normal rides with perhaps small changes to go by an ox. Others were specifically to cover oxen in places I wouldn’t usually ride. GPS tracks are on ridewithgps.com (August 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21).

I was guided by the schematic map on the Stampede web site. Some of the captions below refer to the legend on this map. Altogether there are supposed to be 68 oxen. I found 60, plus one in progress and 7 locations were visited and no ox was spotted. Presumably they haven’t been installed yet. Perhaps in a few weeks I will visit the locations of the missing oxen. They are scattered around the township, so it might be a long ride to get them all! The missing ones are 3, 5, 19, 22, 37, 41 (in progress), 66, and 67.

UPDATE: September 3. All oxen present and accounted for, at least on this web page. According to the Stampede oxen page, some oxen are occasionally “out to pasture:” removed from public display for repairs.

The last 8 oxen were photographed on 3 rides on August 23 and 30 and September 3, totalling an additional 84 miles.

UPDATE: September 12. The HV Arts Council released a revised map in which the ox numbers on the map and in the legend agree. The captions below have been corrected to agree with the revised map.

UPDATE: October 19. The HV Arts Council had a Final Celebration of the Oxen Exhibit at the Hopewell Elementary School on October 19, at 3 pm. Of course, I rode my bike. The celebration included acknowledgements of the artists and sponsors as well as prizes for the best oxen. First place went to 49, Think Inside the Ox. Also included was the unveiling of one more ox (dubbed Mysteriox until the unveiling), which I took a photo of and have included as number 69 below.

Clicking on a photo below brings up a larger version. The slide show link will play a slide show. It may be necessary to double click to get the large size versions of the photos.