Like any good boyfriend, Rachel Bird’s prom date will be at her graduation party Saturday.
He’s a bit stiff, though a cutup. Well, he’s cut up.
You see, Bird, 18, of Kingsley, Iowa, couldn’t find a suitable date for her senior prom at Kingsley-Pierson High School. A classmate bet her $50 she couldn’t get pro football’s Tim Tebow to take her.
Tebow, 24, is a backup quarterback for the New York Jets and the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Florida. Like Rachel, he frequently and publicly declares his Christian faith — he by displaying Bible verses on his eye black and praying in public, she as part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“I do enjoy football, but he is probably my favorite out of everyone because I think his faith is amazing,” said Bird, who this fall will attend Northwestern College, a Christian institution in Orange City, Iowa.
She wasn’t as lucky as the Marine who asked out actress Mila Kunis online last year. Bird’s celebrity target didn’t reply to a Twitter invite.
So she solved the problem.
“I thought ‘I don’t have a date, so I guess I’ll just make it a joke.’”
She took a picture of Tebow from the Internet, copied it to a zip drive and took it to the Staples office supply store in Sioux City to have it blown up to life size for $20.
“I grabbed some cardboard out of a Dumpster and I glued it on,” Bird said. “My dad glued a handle on back.”
Cardboard Tim Tebow, natty in a vest, tie and long-sleeve shirt, accompanied her to prom.
Had the young man with his daughter been real, it wouldn’t have troubled her father. Rachel Bird has made good decisions her entire life, Bob Bird said.
“She has a very strong faith and kind of lives her life that way,” he said. That’s why the cardboard cutout of Tebow seemed appropriate. “With any luck, she’ll find a man like that for herself,” Bob Bird said.
But there are disadvantages to having a date be so, well, flat. For example, she had to drive.
“He laid in the back,” Rachel Bird said. “He couldn’t sit in the front seat.”
He didn’t say much at dinner.
“He sat in the corner most of the time,” Bird said. “I slow danced with him once.”
“When we danced in groups, he would come out and we’d kind of pass him around,” she said.
She had feared her date might not go over well, that her friends might not get the joke. But Cardboard Tebow was a big hit.
“I thought they might think it was kind of weird, but they thought it was hilarious. That’s what I was hoping for.”
Her prom picture with him is headed for the yearbook.
But what about the $50 bet? There is disagreement about whether her friend should pay.
“I mean, I brought Tebow to prom, so I think I should get it,” Bird said. “We didn’t say the real Tim Tebow.”
What she has gotten is a pile of buzz and some worldwide attention. The story of Cardboard Tebow spread to New York, Washington and London.
At her graduation party Saturday, the plan is for the life-size cutout to greet friends and well-wishers as they enter.
But what happens after high school? “I’m not sure. Maybe he’ll go to college with me, stand in my dorm room.”
So you’re not breaking up?
“No. Not as long as he wants to stay.”
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