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The original item was published from 3/30/2021 5:49:00 PM to 4/5/2021 1:02:28 PM.

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Posted on: March 30, 2021

[ARCHIVED] River Otter in Final Round of Knope National Championship

Sides Road Tank square

A colorful water tank in Winston-Salem has won four weekly brackets to reach the final round of a national March Madness-style competition. City of Winston-Salem and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utilities staff entered the Sides Road Water Tank, adorned with the indigenous American River Otter. This is the final opportunity to vote and anyone with an email address can help them win the Knope National Championship.

Winston-Salem was one of 85 nominees and won the Final Four round with 2,940 votes to Winder, Georgia’s 1,192. The Athens, Ga/Lenexa, KS bracket votes were 1,531 to 1,034 so this cute otter is positioned to take the championship! To vote in this final bracket hosted online by Engaging Local Government Leaders, visit and click on the Athens, GA/Winston-Salem, NC matchup to read the descriptions. Then click the Vote! Vote! Vote! link, enter your info and select Sides Road Water Tank. You don’t have to live in North Carolina or be a government employee to vote. It’s free with one vote per email address and this battle for the championship ends Monday, April 5 at 2:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. To ensure your vote counts, vote today!

Daas, the artist who designed and painted the Sides Road Water Tank in Winston-Salem, encourages everyone to vote for his river otter mural in this final round of the national March Madness competition.

“I am very thrilled to have our Sides Road Otter Mural in the ELGL Knope Award Competition,” Daas said. “The large participation in voting from the community really shows how much public art can make a positive, meaningful impact and serve as an example to encourage creative use for these types of municipal water facilities around the country.”

Local ELGL members Heather Curry and Ricky Ruvio entered “Daybreak Along the River” designed and painted by Daas in 2018. They describe it as “absolutely adorable – not a fact, but a very, very strong opinion.” The mural is visible to thousands of southbound drivers every day on Peters Creek Parkway just south of Clemmonsville Road. It helps bring attention to our water resources and what they mean to our community.

Otters are native to the Yadkin River which serves as the main source of water for the region. The mural was created through a public/private partnership with the Lidl grocery chain, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utilities and the Winston-Salem Public Art Commission.

See an interview with Daas at and watch a time-lapse video of the otter mural painting process at

The essence of the #ELGLKnope award is to showcase and celebrate essential local government services. Visit for information on WSFC Utilities Water Treatment Division. To learn more about this annual competition, visit and follow the votes at

Click to VOTE once per email address
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