The Jeff Man overlooking the Fairbury athletic complex has gotten a new look thanks to a local artist. Jesse Bauer, an alumnus of Fairbury Public Schools, tackled the massive project with hometown pride and excitement. 
“I tried to go into it with a prideful thing of it because, you know, I did go to school there,” Bauer said.
During the previous basketball season, Bauer said he was approached by both the Fairbury Superintendent, Stephen Grizzle, and the athletic director, Derek Anderson, about undertaking the project. Bauer and his wife were actively involved with local art classes where they cut out door hangers and paint them in the class. 
“We kind of joked around afterwards about it, that’s the football field’s big door hanger,” he said. 
Bauer commented that he was always drawing the Jeff Man and in high school, would draw the iconic mascot on the athletes’ shoes for them. He added that he is good at art and even got an Associates Degree in Graphic Design. He went on to mention that he imagines the athletic director knew of his talents through his wife, whom he had seen in the door hanger classes along with the principal’s wife. 
In all he estimates that all in all the project took him around a week to complete. Bauer told the school officials he would be happy to do the project but said that the school would have to figure a way to get the original Jeff Man down first. 
He does not know how the school got the Jeff Man down, but expressed he was glad they did, or he would have had to paint the larger-than-life mascot still hung up. 
“I said, ‘oh man, I don’t want to have to sit up there and paint it’,” Bauer joked. 
Before the mascot touched the ground, Bauer was already at work figuring out how to remove the remaining paint and what to use for his medium of choice. His solution came from a consultation with MH Paint & Body in Fairbury. 
“I didn’t know how I was going to do it at first, what kind of paint I was going to use, whatever,” Bauer said. “I ended up consulting with MH Paint & Body and they told me I should use semi-truck paint.”
The durability of the paint and its resistance to the elements was the primary reason for the suggestion. Bauer went on to say that once he explained the project to MH they were willing to and did donate the paint needed for the project. Additionally, once the old Jeff Man was brought down, it was taken to the paint and body shop where Bauer took the remaining vinyl off the sign. 
“That took me about a week,” he said.
MH cleaned the stripped sign with a degreaser before Bauer got to work on the painting and painted the sign solid black, giving him a clean canvas to work with. Bauer expressed his gratitude towards MH for everything they did and their donation of the paint. 
“I really appreciated that,” he said. 
Bauer set himself a deadline once the sign was on the ground. He wanted to set a goal to have the sign ready to unveil at the Fairbury Booster Bash. He met that goal and says he believes that the booster club had the sign up the following week after the event. 
He was unsure when the original sign was put up, but assumes that it was when the field was renovated. Bauer guessed that it went up in 2007. Over a decade later, he wanted to make sure he did the mascot justice. 
He recounted doing research into the unique mascot and learning all he could about the Jeff Man. 
“I tried to make it as detailed as possible,” Bauer said. 
The renewed Jeff Man now hangs to welcome visitors and athletes high on his vantage point at the entrance of the football field.