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

The 8 most untrustworthy artificial intelligences in film
The 8 most untrustworthy artificial intelligences in film

With the release of “Transcendence,” the story of a computer science genius whose mind is merged with a sentient system, Hollywood has once again probed the vagaries of artificial intelligence.


Record Store Day draws long lines, record collectors, good tunes
Record Store Day draws long lines, record collectors, good tunes

At Homer's Music in the Old Market, the first person in line arrived at 4:30 a.m. Saturday.


Coachella: Best of Day 1 includes The Replacements, Outkast
Coachella: Best of Day 1 includes The Replacements, Outkast

Rock Candy correspondents Joel Henriksen and Keith Finn check in from Indio to review Friday's top sets from the godfather of indie rock festivals.


Maha Music Festival announces lineup; might be its best yet
Maha Music Festival announces lineup; might be its best yet

August concert promises to pack Stinson Park with indie rock fans.


A saliva-inducing look at M's Pub's new happy hour
A saliva-inducing look at M's Pub's new happy hour

The downtown staple recently introduced a happy hour. And its menu's pretty amazing.


Dining review: If you're craving sushi, head to Benson's Taita
Dining review: If you're craving sushi, head to Benson's Taita

Chef Jose Dionicio has wisely refocused Taita on sushi, and the well-crafted small bites of fresh fish I tasted from his one-man sushi bar are delectable.


New Benson BBQ restaurant opens next week
New Benson BBQ restaurant opens next week

Fusion BBQ, at 7024 Maple St., focuses on American style barbecue cooking melded with international cuisines.


Nebraska's best burger determined by folks who know about this kind of thing
Nebraska's best burger determined by folks who know about this kind of thing

The Nebraska Beef Council announced the winner of its Nebraska's Best Burger contest.


Rockbrook Village restaurant Taste has a new chef
Rockbrook Village restaurant Taste has a new chef

Ryan Devitt will come to the restaurant as both a chef and partner to focus on farm-to-table style cuisine.


Over Easy will host a west Omaha block party
Over Easy will host a west Omaha block party

Over Easy is playing host to a west Omaha block party this summer.


 
Search
Movies Opening this week

Movie showtimes and theater listings






Read this!








VIDEOS

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