A few weeks ago, I was walking down Main Street, trying to fish my car keys out of my purse. In my distraction, I bumped into someone. I looked up to mumble an apology, and came face-to-face with a person wearing a homemade suit of armor.
I should have been alarmed, but this was Menomonie, after all. I said, “Oh, hey. Sorry,” to our beloved Iron Knight. He waved and kept walking, turning heads as he clanked down the street.
The history of Menomonie’s ‘Iron Knight’
If you haven’t seen the Iron Knight in person, his sightings are well chronicled on local social media. A good starting point for the uninitiated is the Facebook group, What's Happening in (and around) Menomonie, WI.
Some public photos are covertly taken from far away, giving the Iron Knight an almost mythical, Big Foot-like quality.
And yet other photos of the legendary metal man are more up close and personal.
Initially, there were so many questions about the Iron Knight, who some call the “Tin Man.”
Was it a man or a woman? Was it always the same person? And perhaps the biggest question of all: Why dress up like a knight and walk around Menomonie?
All of these questions were answered when the Iron Knight sat down for his first interview.
A 2021 documentary shed some light on Dunn County’s superhero
In a short documentary created by Parker Cmeyla, Rob Ohman, and Will Pilegaard, we hear the Iron Knight's voice for the first time. Under all that metal is a young man whose identity still remains a mystery.
However, he did open up about his inspirations for the costume which include Iron Man (no surprise there) and "people who follow their dreams and kind of just don’t give a sh--, really." He also credits a childhood love of superheroes.
While he never explicitly states so in the documentary, by all accounts the man under all that metal appears to be a Stout student. The armor is entirely homemade and took awhile to create and modify. He explains that one spring break, he threw the costume on and went outside. The rest is history.
Iron Man is often seen on campus, although he does make his way around town sometimes. So if you see him when you're out running errands, don't be shy. Wave or honk. He's friendly.
In the documentary, others describe him as “an art project, but walking,” and “an enigma.” He's also become an unofficial mascot for many of us.
Iron Knight's true identity still remains a mystery, and should stay that way
During the interview, the Iron Knight promised that he’d reveal his identity soon. But wouldn’t that take the fun out of it? So here’s a very public plea. Iron Knight, if you read this, please keep the helmet on and remain our small town "enigma." Our "art project, but walking."
Menomonie residents already know what we need to know. It’s all in fun. He doesn’t bite. He loves children. He’ll pose for photos. In a world of oversharing, isn’t it nice to have a little mystery?