Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Bibby Bobbie Bibster bumper sticker February 25, 2016


Turbo Tim's Anything Automotive bumper sticker


EVERY BUMPER STICKER writes a story.

So what’s the story with the bumper sticker on the right, spotted while waiting at a stoplight in Burnsville a year ago?

The grammar police in me wanted to correct this sentence: My car sucks my Mechanic is on speed dial!” to “My car sucks. My mechanic is on speed dial.”

But, hey, it’s just a bumper sticker, I considered, and opted to focus on the message. The humor clearly works.

As much as words draw my attention, the cat graphics prompted me to learn more about Turbo Tim’s Anything Automotive. What’s a cat got to do with an auto shop in Northeast Minneapolis?

A lot apparently. A black cat, Bibby Bobbie Bibster, according to Turbo’s website, has been a certified Shop Kitty since 2011 and has worked the waiting room for the past three-plus years loving up customers.

That explains the black cat.

There’s one more thing. Slap a Turbo bumper sticker on your vehicle and you’ll get 10 percent off your bill up to $50 for the life of the car.

Based on reviews, Turbo Tim’s seems a customer-friendly place with folks using words like “trustworthy, honest, reasonably priced” and more to describe their experiences.

I can’t personally vouch for the service, but have no reason to doubt the testimonials.

As for the marketing, I peg it as creative and memorable.

HAVE YOU NOTICED any especially creative bumper stickers?

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


You could be a model, James June 13, 2011

James and his Ford Ranger pick-up truck.

“JAMES, HAS ANYONE ever told you that you could be a model?” I asked as he leaned against the bed of his Ford Ranger pick-up truck for a quick photo shoot by me.

He didn’t really answer, which I’m to take as a “yes.”

With his all-American boy good looks, this fresh-faced Minnesota farm kid (adult, actually) could easily grace the pages of a fashion magazine, a print ad or even a television commercial.

His personality matches his boy-next-door appearance. James, not Jim or Jimmy, is down-to-earth, quiet, maybe even shy, with a playful smile and spirit.

Not that I know James all that well. He’s my niece Hillary’s boyfriend. But since my niece lives 2 ½ hours away, I haven’t spent much time with her significant other.

It was James’ Ford Ranger that caught my eye as he came barreling onto the home place (aka the farm where I grew up) during Hillary’s recent high school graduation reception. You can’t miss his truck with the stove-pipe-size exhaust pipes jutting out of the pick-up bed.

Impressed with the duo stacks, I moved in closer to check out James’ wheels. And then I discovered the redneck streak in this seemingly demure South Dakota State University agricultural engineering student.

Check out these bumper stickers:

As good an explanation as any for a dirty vehicle.

This bumper sticker doesn't reflect on James' driving skills, only his sense of humor. Don't take the message seriously, please.

Farm youth like James are typically quite adept at all things mechanical.

What do these tell you about James? Obviously he possesses a sense of humor. He’s also capable of keeping a vehicle running and confident enough to tell you.

But, wait, there’s more. His pick-up hood sports a tiger head, as in the mascot of Marshall High School, James’ alma mater. James also owns school spirit.

The tiger, Marshall High's mascot, defines the pick-up hood.

I really don’t have anything more to say about this southwestern Minnesota farm boy or his wheels, except to re-emphasize that I think James could be a model, maybe for Ford or John Deere. I wouldn’t want him to get into anything too Californian or New Yorkish so as to change his appealing rural charm.

What’s your opinion? Could/should James give modeling a shot to fund his college education? This idea is mine, not his, just to be clear.

One last shot of James' Ford Ranger pick-up truck, parked on the farm where I grew up just outside of Vesta in southwestern Minnesota.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling