FARMINGTON — Since the 1960s, Sunny the Big Man has been a landmark in Farmington.
The 22-foot tall Muffler Man — a large fiberglass sculpture and a roadside attraction — has stood outside Sun Glass, located 602 W. Main St., since 2005.
But last week, Sunny's head was removed for much needed repairs.
Every year, Sun Glass staff dress Sunny in a Santa Claus suit for the holidays. Before the holiday last year, staff dressed Sunny in his red suit and left him lying horizontally on the roof for several days. Moisture gathered in Sunny's suit, making him heavier than usual, said Sun Glass co-owner Clint Freeman. So when staff stood him up, his fiberglass head cracked.
"We've actually known he's needed support for a long time," Freeman said.
Freeman said crews decided to keep Sunny up through the holidays before having Paul Edney, a local fiberglass repairman, fix the statue's head.
"To redo the fiberglass, you have to crawl inside him," Freeman said.
In the meantime, Sunny is out of commission and is lying — headless — on the roof of Sun Glass.
Freeman expects to have Sunny standing again in a month.
Sunny is more than just a mascot for Sun Glass; he is piece of history.
International Fiberglass Co. built him in the 1960s, and, shortly after, he was purchased by Western Tire in Farmington and dubbed "Big Man."
In 2005, Western Tire closed its doors and sold "Big Man" to Sun Glass, a family-owned glass shop in Farmington. A contest to name the new addition resulted in the name Sunny.
Sunny is one of many Muffler Men across the country. In the 1960s and 1970s, International Fiberglass Co. produced thousands of the statues, which were later called Muffler Men by Roadside America because many of them held large car mufflers. Now, the Muffler Men are worth about $10,000, according Roadside America.
A RoadsideAmerica.com map tracks Muffler Men still in existence. In addition to Sun Glass, six other businesses in New Mexico display Muffler Men.
John's Used Cars in Gallup has a Muffler Man known as "Dude Man," and Albuquerque, Glencoe, Hatch and Las Cruces also have the iconic statues.