LUMBERTON — The only thing missing is a nesting bald eagle.
Otherwise, Lumberton’s ultra-patriotic red, white, blue, star-spangled water tower hits all the right notes, with the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” playing on a loop.
The patriotic theme might help in a competition for the country’s tank of the year, which opened on Tuesday and runs through Friday. The Tnemec Tank of the Year contest determines the best water tank/tower in the United States or Canada, with the winners becoming pin-ups featured in a calendar and holding the title for a year.
Tnemec Company Inc, an industrial coatings firm, has run the competition since 2006 to celebrate “the innovative and creative uses of its coatings” on water tanks.
When this story was being written, Lumberton’s flag-draped tower topped the voting with nearly 400 votes, near doubling that of second place Laurens, S.C., and third place McHenry, Ill., combined.
Joseph Saleeby, who represents Tnemec in Eastern North Carolina, said there are a record 250 tanks in the running this year.
“I am asking all my … friends to take a moment and vote for this tank! City of Lumberton Stars & Stripes Tank,” Saleeby said. “We worked hard on this one.”
On social media, the campaign has started for Lumberton. On Twitter hashtags #TankoftheYear and #VoteForLumberton have been seen. City officials, including Councilman Burnis Wilkins, have circulated the contest on Facebook looking for votes.
Wilkins posted a picture of the tower lit-up at night with the text, “Vote to make this the number one water tank of the year nationwide. Lumberton pride.”
Last year’s winner sits in Cocoa, Fla., and features three American flags and the city’s logo. It won the popular vote of 2015 with 4,700 votes out of more than 20,000 votes cast overall, according to Saleeby.
Once all votes are in, the top tank and 11 runners-up will be judged by an internal panel of water tank enthusiasts to determine the winner. All the finalists will be in the calendar. The Tank of the Year will be announced Oct. 21.
Reach Mike Gellatly at 910-816-1989 or on Twitter @MikeGellatly