Ralston man enjoys being famous robot - Omaha.com
go logo
article photo
article photo
article photo
Tom Headley, kneeling, has built the Duct Tape Transformers, seen at the Anime NebrasKon convention. He started with Optimus Prime and has made 11 more costumes. His goal is 43.(JAMES R. BURNETT/THE WORLD-HERALD)
article photo
Headley


Ralston man enjoys being famous robot
By Andrea Kszystyniak / World-Herald staff writer


Get to know: Tom Headley
Age: 24
Hometown: Ralston
Side job: Flower delivery
Education: Ralston High School, graduated in 2007
Family: parents Ron and Terri; sisters Tiffany, 26, and April, 28

* * *

Ralston native Tom Headley wasn't content with just watching “Transformers.”

He decided to become one.

Headley grew up watching the cartoon. Now he and his friends spend their time being the alien robots in his intricately designed costumes.

Six years ago, Headley decided he wanted a Transformers costume but couldn't afford the hefty price tag.

So he built a costume of his own with what he could manage: duct tape and cardboard. Roughly 20 rolls of colored tape and 140 hours later, Headley's first Transformers costume, a rendition of Transformers head Autobot Optimus Prime, was complete.

Headley's creation sat in the basement untouched until about three years ago, when his friends fell in love with his costumes too and asked him to make some for them.

Headley doesn't have much of a background in design, aside from playing with Legos as a child. He hasn't studied art or engineering.

But what started as one Optimus Prime costume soon grew into much more. Headley has made 12 costumes so far. He hopes to make 43 in all — all of the Transformers from the first generation of the show.

A year and a half ago, Headley and his friends began going out in the costumes as the Duct Tape Transformers. Now, they're invited to events to pump up the crowds.

The group has been invited to parties in Kansas City, Sioux City, Detroit and other major cities throughout the Midwest. They've performed at local events at The 21st Saloon and Bar 415. They've also attended music festivals and even the College World Series. Sometimes, members DJ or perform skits.

Headley said that when they're out, they fully devote themselves and never break character. “When I'm Optimus Prime, I act just like Optimus Prime would in the cartoon,” he said.

The group's booking manager, Ryan Mathison, joined the Duct Tape Transformers after he saw them out on the town. He now has three suits fitted to him. The 33-year-old said he loves the opportunity to get out and make people smile.

“It's a way to get out of reality to be someone else, to be a kid again, to enjoy entertaining people and just having fun,” Mathison said.

And the Duct Tape Transformers fan club is still growing.

“We just keep meeting more and more people at events and they're just falling in love with us,” Headley said.

Contact the writer: Andrea Kszystyniak

andrea.kszystyniak@owh.com    |   402-444-1149    |  

Andrea writes about local entertainment and events for Omaha.com.

Read more stories by Andrea


Contact the Omaha World-Herald newsroom


Copyright ©2014 Omaha World-Herald®. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, displayed or redistributed for any purpose without permission from the Omaha World-Herald.

Latest Stories

Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87
Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87

A person close to the family has confirmed reports that that Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez has died. He was 87.


Nebraska's best bloody Mary is in a city that's not Omaha or Lincoln
Nebraska's best bloody Mary is in a city that's not Omaha or Lincoln

From the department of statewide food contests ...


Hanging out with the Omaha Rollergirls before a big match
Hanging out with the Omaha Rollergirls before a big match

When was the last time you took in some live, rough and rowdy female roller derby? Yeah, I figured it’s been awhile.


Midtown bar will open in new location Friday
Midtown bar will open in new location Friday

Midtown's Sullivan's Bar is set to open in its new location on Friday.


UNL students make dancing robot drones
UNL students make dancing robot drones

The idea is to converge disciplines without literally colliding on stage


For two full weeks, Omaha venues will overflow with indie rock shows
For two full weeks, Omaha venues will overflow with indie rock shows

Gather your tickets, call in late to work, and get yourself to the club. For the next couple of weeks, a surprising number of awesome indie rock shows hit Omaha venues. We're already wondering how we're gonna get enough sleep.


Dining notes: More Easter dining specials
Dining notes: More Easter dining specials

Two Midtown Crossing restaurants have Easter specials.


Nightlife notes: Storz beer is being served again
Nightlife notes: Storz beer is being served again

Storz Triumph Lager is back on the market after a brief hiatus.


The 15 best Record Store Day releases for 2014
The 15 best Record Store Day releases for 2014

On Saturday, more than 500 exclusive vinyl (and some CD and cassette) releases will hit the shelves at your favorite independent record stores for Record Store Day.


A baseball player was (falsely) convinced a teammate was deaf
A baseball player was (falsely) convinced a teammate was deaf

When it was it was finally revealed to Jeff Francoeur that Jorge Reyes wasn’t deaf, everyone had some good laughs.


 
Search
Movies Opening this week

Movie showtimes and theater listings






Read this!








VIDEOS

Tonight in Prime Time
© 2014 Omaha World-Herald. All rights reserved