“Yeah, I’m gonna take my horse to the Old Town Road; I’m gonna ride till I can’t no more.”
Those are the opening lines from trending song Old Town Road by hip-hop artist Lil Nas X, featuring Billy Ray Cyrus of Achy Breaky Heart fame.
Those are also the opening lines to a video the town of Sicamous has produced called Old Town Road Sicamous Style and can be found on YouTube.
The original song is currently listed at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 100 charts and has been for a record-breaking 17 consecutive weeks.
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And it’s so popular that in Sicamous, B.C., two road signs for a street named Old Town Road are missing and have presumably been stolen.
It’s not known when the signs went missing, but the Sicamous and District Chamber of Commerce is now selling Old Town Road signs to combat the theft issue.
“It’s the last couple of weeks that this song has become really popular,” said Sheila Devost, executive director of the chamber of commerce.
“First people were having their picture taken underneath it. And then, the next you know, the sign is missing.”
Enter a smart idea by the district: mass producing and selling replicas of the road sign.
“We’re a real tourist town,” said district operations manager Joe McCulloch, noting the idea was a group effort.
“I know about Abbey Road and the success of having a good location, and jumping on the right idea at the right time.”
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McCulloch said rather than battling the thefts with security cameras or deadbolts, the district needed to look at the issue “from a slightly different standpoint.”
“You can’t really look at something silly and negative, like stealing a road sign,” said McCulloch.
“So we needed to look at it and be a little more creative ourselves, and enjoy it. You know something? If you want a sign, come and buy a sign.”
Devost said sales would not only help recover the road sign replacement, but also act as a fundraiser for the chamber. She added the chamber will be hosting an event this weekend and will be promoting and selling the signs there.
“We’ve already had 50 of them printed, but after the phone calls I’ve received this morning, and emails, we’ve ordered another 50,” said Devost, noting the first 100 will sell for $25 apiece.
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Old Town Road is accessed off the Trans-Canada Highway in Sicamous. The dead-end road stops just past Twin Anchors Houseboat Vacations in Old Town Bay, ending just a stone’s throw from Shuswap Lake.
“Right now, it’s very heavily travelled,” said Devost, “with traffic going down for houseboat rentals.”
Devost said the district has a policy in place where they’re able to sell street signs.
Sicamous is the home of NHL defenceman Shea Weber, and the town has a street dedicated to him, Shea Weber Way. The brief road leads to the Sicamous and District Recreation Centre.
“People are always asking about that,” said Devost. “So it was very easy for the District of Sicamous to actually do this quickly because they’ve got this policy in place.”