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Austin's giant potatoes find a home at new Circuit of the Americas amusement park

Eric Webb
Austin 360
Travis, the last of the famous Austin couch potatoes, is lifted from his longtime resting place on a 34-foot-long sofa at Austin's Couch Potatoes furniture store on Interstate 35 in North Austin on Friday. He and the other two couch potatoes, each weighing 2,000 pounds, are moving to a new home at Circuit of the Americas.

Three of Austin's largest (and starchiest) residents have escaped a final mashing.

This summer, the owners of the furniture store Austin's Couch Potatoes announced that their statues of three giant potatoes — which rest on a huge couch that's an unmissable sight from Interstate 35, sitting in front of the company's North Austin store — needed a new home by the end of the year. The owners on Friday revealed the potatoes' destination: COTALAND, an amusement park planned for Circuit of the Americas.

The move began Friday, and a representative for the potatoes said they'll be in place for photo opps at the racetrack in time for the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix on Oct. 22-24.

Previous coverage:One potato, two potato, three potato, yours? This giant Austin landmark needs a new home

From left, Matt Short, Elizabeth Trojnor-Riley and Megan McAtee of Matriarc Metalworks & Design guide Travis, the last of the famous Austin couch potatoes, onto a trailer for the big move Friday.

"We are thrilled our 'Couch Potato' will stay in Austin and better yet, at COTA's new amusement park — where they will be viewed and enjoyed by thousands of guests throughout the year," Brian Morgan, co-owner of Austin's Couch Potatoes, said in a statement.

According to a news release, COTALAND is set to open next summer "with over 18 rides and attractions for kids and family including three roller-coasters." It will be in the grand plaza of the racetrack complex.

The owners of Austin's Couch Potatoes recently lost their lease at the potato statues' original home at 10500 N. I-35, spurring the owners to seek public proposals for moving the installation.

What became a “giant statue to the sofa gods,” as Morgan called it in a July interview with the American-Statesman, began as an out-of-the-box marketing ploy by the furniture store. In just under a decade, it became a roadside attraction for highway travelers. The structure sits 22 feet high and 34 feet long. Morgan estimated that the project cost $70,000.  

Austin's Couch Potatoes co-owner Brian Morgan called his store's spuds and their seat a “giant statue to the sofa gods.”

The potatoes (named Brian, Travis and Dan, after the store's co-founders) were designed by artist Andy Davis, who used to work on amusement park props, making the move to COTALAND fitting. Artists Faith Schexnayder and Ryan Day worked with Davis on the project, and Jerry Fryer led construction. The potatoes and their sofa base are built out of plywood, cement, foam, chicken wire and mastic. The spuds were decora with weather-resistant paint. 

The whole installation won't make the move, though. Austin-based Matriarch Metalwork is creating a new sofa for the spuds, designed to move around the amusement park, according to the news release. That means the owners of Austin's Couch Potatoes are still looking for a new owner for the original giant sofa. Interested parties can email bigmove@austincouches.com.

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