Soberanes statue sports spiffy straw Stetson…

As many readers of this blog live outside of Northern California, a little back story is in order.

Every city or town has its local legends and traditions, which at times spread far beyond the local borders. In Petaluma, we are nationally known for our Ugly Dog Contest and, at one time, for serving as the home of the World Wristwrestling Championship.

The prime mover behind Petaluma’s wrist-wrestling “tradition” was a local newspaper columnist, Bill Soberanes.  

A statue honoring Soberanes and the wrist-wrestling contest is located at a prominent spot in Petaluma’s downtown. For a fuller account of this history, see the New York Times/The Bay Citizen article by Hank Pellissier…Wrist-Wrestling Statue

Turning now to the statue….

Over the years I must have walked or driven past it thousands of times and never gave it much notice…until last Thursday. I was riding in the passenger seat and noticed something different as we drove by.  I quickly grabbed a camera off the floor of the car and fired off a quick frame, with no time for focus, composition, etc.  In other words, a quick and dirty snapshot…

© Frank Simpson, Petaluma, California

I have no idea whether the hat is still there, although I would like to think it is.

  • Perhaps the profile in the window (upper right hand corner) is the spirit of Bill Soberanes. 
  • Perhaps the spirit, in a whimsical moment, is responsible for the hat. It would be in keeping with the “spirit” of the man.

Perhaps the Emperor of Petaluma will consider lending his top hat to the other figure in the statue.  You really have to be a local to get this one…Not enough time or space to explain.