The Love Bug: Supporters rally around the VW Bug ‘landmark’ as TV news crew films report

Supporters show their love for the Bug. Photo by Kathryn Jones/GR Current

Supporters show their love for the Bug.

Photo by Kathryn Jones/GR Current

By Kathryn Jones


Between 30 and 40 supporters of the painted Volkswagen “Bug” on The Junkyard Dog property showed up Wednesday morning to show their solidarity as a Channel 4 Fox News crew came to town to do a story about the little car that has caused such a big uproar.

Saul Garza, a general assignment and features reporter for Channel 4 in Dallas-Fort Worth, and a cameraman arrived in Glen Rose around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday to interview Junkyard Dog owner Deidra Cockerham and others about the controversy that threatens to remove the VW Beetle that has been turned into a planter.

His report is expected to air either next Monday at 9 p.m. or on April 1.

The City of Glen Rose’s code enforcement officer, Ray Moody, has issued a warning that the Bug violates a state law and city ordinance against “junk vehicles.” Cockerham’s stance is that the Bug, which has no engine and no battery, is a planter and not a “vehicle.” She and her husband, Michael, plan to present their case to the Glen Rose municipal court on April 2.

As word spread about Fox News’ visit, supporters converged on The Junkyard Dog location. They took pictures and held up signs reading “Save the Bug!” and “Quit Bugging Us! We Love Our Hometown.”

Cars and trucks driving by honked their support.

“It’s yard art,” Deidra Cockerham told Garza. “It’s a part of my business and without it, people wouldn’t stop. It’s a landmark. When people come to Glen Rose, they say, ‘Do you know where the VW Bug is?’”

The Bug has been around since 2004. Christie Clark said that she got the idea for the Bug planter after seeing something similar in California. When the Glen Rose Garden Club was looking for a float for the 2004 Fourth of July parade, Clark went looking for a VW Bug.

She found one for $50. Rancher and land developer Larry Smith got it painted and the garden club filled it with flowers. It was pulled on a trailer in the parade and then auctioned. The former owner of the Petals store in the metal welding building that later housed The Junkyard Dog bought the Bug for several hundred dollars.

The Bug made its debut in 2004 at the July 4th parade. Photo courtesy of Larry Smith

The Bug made its debut in 2004 at the July 4th parade.

Photo courtesy of Larry Smith

At the time, it was painted a lavender color and had red lips painted above the front bumper. It quickly became a town landmark. Visitors often can be seen posing for photographs in front of it.

After the Petals owner sold the building to the Cockerhams, the Beetle went through a series of paint jobs. It was lime green for a while and then painted red with black spots, like a ladybug, and then a dark brown with black stripes when the Captain Jax seafood restaurant occupied the space.

Most recently, Cockerham painted it ivory with a sparkly black chandelier design and then decided to go bright with a colorful zigzag design on the side and “Welcome to Glen Rose” on the back.

“This is the Cadillac Ranch of Glen Rose,” Garza said, referring to the tourist attraction outside Amarillo with vintage Cadillacs stuck into the ground at an angle and painted different colors.

“I know there’s a state law, but this an exception. This is not a junk car,” Clark said. “It’s a flower pot.”

Smith said Webster’s Dictionary defines “junk” as “something that is not wanted and thrown away.” But the Bug is not junk, he said, “it’s fun and among other things, that’s what life is about.”

Garza asked him what he thought about the city’s warning and possibility that the Bug could be removed.
“I think it’s short-sighted,” Smith said. “Tourists love it and this is part of the town’s tourism. It’s another attraction.

“We just believe this is part of Glen Rose,” Cockerham added. “It’s not hurting anyone.”

Photo by Kathryn Jones/GR Current

Photo by Kathryn Jones/GR Current



2 Responses to The Love Bug: Supporters rally around the VW Bug ‘landmark’ as TV news crew films report

  1. brad fenn Reply

    March 26, 2013 at 9:37 am

    I am a supporter of the bug. It is art and is an attraction for Glen Rose. I live in Dallas and pass through Glen Rose at times and look forward to stopping the next time through to see this art exhibit, unless they take it away then I wont stop. The code inspector is a moron (as most code inspectors are) to be bothering these people about this. A similar instance happened near Dallas a few years ago when a man grew a bunch of Sun Flowers in front of a new fence he put up to make it pretty. Then a moron code inspector cited him for growing weeds (Sunflowers are from the weed family) and said they had to be cut down. How stupid is that? I say, Long Live the Bug Planter and I hope to see it the next time through Glen Rose. Good luck keeping this attraction.

  2. Darrell Best Reply

    March 21, 2013 at 6:43 am

    Deidra has it right, it’s not hurting anyone and whether you call it a flower pot or a business sign, it’s an icon for her business. When is GR going to start supporting its businesses instead of trying to killing them? Between an overzealous tax assessor trying to curry favor with the State and an overzealous city government it’s nearly impossible to have a business in GR. It seems like the City should spend a bit more time on fixing their sidewalks in the downtown area, where are a threat to life and limb than on the “Bug” which is a threat to no one…

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