LUFKIN HOLIDAY LANDMARK - If you live in or visit East Texas, you’ve probably seen several pieces of oil-field equipment dotting the landscape, moving up and down, pumping oil from the ground. They’re known by different names. Some call them “thirsty-birds”, “sucker-rod pumps” or simply: “jack-pumps”. They’re job is to force oil up from the ground and pass it to a pipeline or storage tank. But one jack-pump in Lufkin, Texas has become a celebrity of sorts around Christmas-time and folks there call it Rudolph. Our reporter Wynter Chauvin tells us more.
During the holiday season most cities have a municipal Christmas tree lighting ceremony, Lufkin instead lights up Rudolph the Red-Nosed Pumping Unit, who then dips his nose festively from 10AM to 10PM throughout the Christmas season. The tradition has been going on in Lufkin since 1966. Tthis year Rudolph will be located downtown, according to Lauren Stacey, Recreation Specialist for the city of Lufkin.
“So Rudolph is an all time favorite of the Lufkin area, you know it goes way back," explains Stacey. "Lufkin Industries is what began this tradition and he’s [Rudolph] found a new home this year so he will be located in the municipal court parking lot."
In years past, Rudolph had been located downtown, at The UPS office, the old K-mart parking lot and for many years in the Lufkin Mall parking lot. Even with all the moves, Rudolph remains the same.
“Rudolph is a Mark 640 pumping unit. He’s fully functional, however the red paint is special just for Christmas. It’s taken over three days to get him moved in and set up," said Stacey. "It takes about 4 to 5 days to install the over 4,000 lights. So fully extended, Rudolph is 45 feet tall, and Santa’s sleigh that is right there behind him is actually a 38 foot dump trailer.”
Rudolph, naturally, sports lighted antlers and a red nose. If you drive through Lufkin during the holidays, be sure to take notice of one of East Texas’ most unusual Christmas decorations.
Wynter Chauvin -- Red River Radio News.