If you can't beat 'em, monetize: Sicamous deals with Old Town Road sign theft

Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz holds up an Old Town Road sign.
Image Credit: Joe McCulloch

SICAMOUS - It may just be a street sign to some, but Sicamous's Old Town Road sign was too much temptation for some light-fingered pop music fans.

Sharing its name with a very popular song by rapper Lil Nas X, officials in Sicamous noticed the Old Town Road sign had been stolen a couple of times over the last month.

With the song being streamed on Spotify almost 550 million times, plus 340 million views on YouTube, the popularity of Lil Nas X Old Town Road (feat. Billy Ray Cyrus) was a concern to officials in Sicamous, fearing they may have to replace the street sign many times over or ramp up security.

"That's not really the kind of ethos and feel that we go for here in Sicamous," District of Sicamous operations manager Joe McCulloch said. "We'd much rather just laugh at it and come up with something a little more creative."

And so they did.

Through the Chamber of Commerce, the district has produced replica Old Town Road signs and is selling them for $25.

"It's the same idea as Abbey Road," McCulloch said.

"We'd encourage people not to get themselves in trouble and just come down and purchase a sign," he said.

McCulloch said he was well aware of the song as he has three young children but first saw the hype over the sign when social media posts started showing photos of people having their photos taken next to it.

The district has sent one of the signs to Lil Nas X himself, and McCulloch said they let him know they wouldn't be charging the rapper any royalties for the name.

The district plans to hold a country and western festival in Sicamous and McCulloch said they'll see if they could get Lil Nas X on the bill.

Where the Old Town Road sign once was.
Where the Old Town Road sign once was.
Image Credit: Joe McCulloch

"We don't know if we could afford him, but you never know the way these things can go sometimes," he said, adding "no promises."

District of Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz said his grandchildren were constantly listening to Old Town Road and he himself was also a fan.

"It's a beautiful song," Mayor Rysz said. "There are some words in that song that really relate to being a mayor."

It appears not everybody living on Old Town Road is aware of their street's current popularity with one Old Town Road resident telling iNFOnews.ca they hadn't seen people taking photos with the sign and another saying "I have no idea what you are talking about."

Located at the end of Old Town Road, Twin Anchors Houseboats was also unaware of the sign's popularity.

McCulloch said it's not the first time the district has faced a similar situation, with signs for Paradise Avenue and Shea Webber Way being swiped by thieves in the past.


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