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Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

January 14, 2013 at 2:30 PM

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Russell Wilson's Hawk Buddy becomes the next big thing

Seattle's adorable little quarterback has been adopted by Seahawks fans everywhere, it seems.

We're talking not only about Russell Wilson, but the Hawks Buddy cutout action figure of the Seahawks' rookie published Friday in The Seattle Times and also available online.

We asked readers to enter a contest. We challenged you to assemble Hawks Buddy, an origami-like masterpiece crafted by Times staffer David Miller, and to send us a photograph doing something creative with the mini-Russell Wilson. The winner would earn a photo print of the real Russell Wilson by a Times photographer.

We had no idea how popular the contest would be. Or how creative your submissions would be.

More than 700 photos were sent to us. They came from all over the world, including Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, Switzerland and the Philippines, not to mention the moon. They came from offices, hospitals, labs, dentist offices, construction sites and tech companies. Hawks Buddy got a flu shot and false teeth, went to bars, wineries and Bartell's, which sponsored the page. He flew in two planes, shot pool, patched potholes with a DOT crew and joined Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface.

Schools loved him, including Mr. Norman's second-grade class at Sacajawea Elementary in Seattle, Ms. Eckart's fifth-grade class at Bear Creek Elementary in Woodinville and Bishop Blanchet High School's chemistry class. The Blanchet students concocted green flames (don't try this at home, kids). One of Bear Creek's fifth-graders made a book for little Russell to read. The appropriate title: "How to be Epic".

He posed with the crew of the Seahawks' charter flight to Atlanta, got face time with Seattle rapper Macklemore, met Yoda, went face mask to beak with team mascot Blitz, stood on a podium at coach Pete Carroll's news conference and sat on Richard Sherman's hand.

Hawks Buddy climbed atop a skyscraper and skied at Crystal Mountain. He visited some classic Seattle tourist attractions, like the Space Needle, Pacific Science Center and Pike Place Market. Sixteen Hawks Buddies served as party favors for Zach's seventh birthday party. Our mini-Russell Wilson posed with a U.S. soldier, Superman, Angry Birds, dogs, cats, grandmas and several babies, including one that was just three-hours old.

Picking a winner wasn't easy. The sheer volume made it tough. The creativity made it tougher.

Think condensing all the Golden Globes to just one winner.

Our final three included adorable little Farah Bennett, who dressed like Pete Carroll - with khakis, blue hoodie and a green ribbon in her hair - chatting it up with her Hawks Buddy (she later kissed him). Cute.

Another finalist featured a cluster of Hawks Buddies on a globe circling Atlanta. Scary.

But the winner towered over the rest of the entries. A giant Hawks Buddy, taller than the 5 feet 105/8 Wilson, dwarfed the office staff that made him. Lindsey Cruz, an administrative assistant at Advanced Technology Construction, a general contractor in Renton, started working Friday morning on the mini-Russell when co-worker Jeff Landstrom had a grand idea.

Go big. Really big.

COURTESY ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY CONSTRUCTION

Like Russell Wilson scrambling for a first down, the idea morphed from there. They decided to surprise company CFO Chris Peyton, who's a Naval Reservist scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan for a year, beginning in March.

Cruz said the staff spent two hours blowing up the pattern, cutting it out and assembling it. When Peyton arrived at work Sunday night, Russell Wilson - or a reasonable facsimile - was on his chair.

"He was pretty surprised," Cruz said.

If you'd like to write a Take 2 post, email Sports Editor Don Shelton at dshelton@seattletimes.com or sports@seattletimes.com


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