PHOTOS: Giant Cove To Clover Snake ‘Coyle’ Crashes Burien Council Meeting

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Something very unusual happened at Monday night’s Burien City Council meeting.

No, it wasn’t that a local lawmaker suddenly acted nice, friendly and happy. Not at all.

Or that everyone finally agreed on at least one item on the docket.

It was the appearance of a snake. A very large snake. In fact, it was a 30-foot long snake named ‘Coyle,’ who is serving as the official mascot for the 3rd annual Cove to Clover fundraiser 5k Race (we’re Sponsors), which is coming up the weekend of March 11-13th.

‘Coyle,’ who crashed the council meeting around 7:20pm, was designed by noted local Artist Sarah Lovett, whose most recent Burien appearance was at last fall’s “Arts-A=Glow” festival when she premiered an oversized canine puppet named “Doggedy.”

BTB Publisher/Editor Scott Schaefer was on hand to witness the spectacle at the council meeting, and he shares the following photos, along with this little anecdote:

“If ‘Coyle’ was put on a ballot last night, he would’ve lost by a 4-2 margin.

Only two councilmembers (Lucy Krakowiak and Jack Block, Jr.) actually responded to pleas from race organizer John Nelson to fill out an Athlete Angel sponsorship form and put it into the snake’s mouth.

All I can say about this serious lack of participation from the council for this 100% local, all-volunteer fundraiser is to make a rather nasty hisssssssing sound…”

The team behind (or rather, under) 'Coyle' gets ready in the parking garage.

Cove to Clover Organizer John Nelson checks the inside of Coyle's mouth. We're not sure if he's looking for cavities or gum disease.

Perhaps Nelson was looking for this? Coyle's head and mouth was operated by Camille Ogden.

Newest councilmember Gerald Robison isn't quite sure how to react to the giant snake.

After crashing the city council meeting, Coyle then ventured into the library.

Having found no live rodents for food, nor any books about them, Coyle left the library.

The team behind (or under) Coyle posed in the hallway as the city council meeting continued behind them.

Here’s more info on the Cove to Clover events:

  • Fees for the Friday, March 11th Cove to Clover Pub Crawl will increase by $5 on Fri, March 4th, so register online now here. This pub crawl culminates with the official Cove to Clover Opening Ceremonies in Burien Town Square from 10:30pm – Midnight. It will be under a “Big Top Beer Garden” with live Celtic music, prizes and a leprechaun costume contest. Gifts for the first 100 registrants can be redeemed with your bib #. You can also register in person at Mick Kelly’s Irish Pub, the Highline Athletic Club, the Tin Room, 909 and Burien Press.
  • On Saturday, March 12th, there will be a “Party before the Pain” Irish Gala from 7pm – 11pm at The Cove. Tickets are just $20 per person, and this includes a traditional Irish dinner, live music from The Haggis Bros., dancing, Guiness and Georgetown’s Mannys, Rogers on tap, a special appearance by a 30-foot Snake(!) and much more. There will also be a “Celtic Costumed Couple Contest” with the winner receiving dinner for two at Mick Kelly’s Irish Pub.
  • The cool new Cove to Clover hats are now on sale at Mick Kelly’s.
  • The Cove to Clover 5k Fundraiser Run (full details here) will be Sunday, March 13th (giving you a day to recover from the Pub Crawl on Friday, March 11th), and here are some new, exclusive insider details:
  • C2C’s will have a new, Big Top Beer Garden in Town Square.
  • Clover Coins will be the official tender of said Big Top Beer Garden.
  • $5 each or 5 for $20 (spendable in the Big Top Beer Garden, only!).
  • A Clover Coin will buy a Manny’s, Roger’s, an official C2C drink or a food item from one of the local businesses.
  • Volunteer food runners will take your coins from stations on the perimeter of the Beer Garden and return with your food.
  • All proceeds will go to charities.

To register for the race, click here.

  • Cost per runner is $35.
  • There will also be a Family Race.

“This is one of the hardest 5ks in the northwest,” said Race Organizer John Nelson. “So hard in fact that it is fast becoming a test piece for NW runners. For starters, ‘Snake Hill’ rises nearly 1,000-feet in the first mile of the course. Around mile two you’ll encounter ‘The Uprising,’ a runner obstacle that has been constructed in the middle of a live Celtic battlefield. For your suffering, you will be rewarded with on-course Celtic pipers and a finish line festival that delivers the goods (2 beer gardens, 2 stages with live entertainment, free root beer garden and free hot dogs for children). The Snake awakes!”

Cove to Clover is a 501(c)(3) umbrella charity which distributes all proceeds to local charities, including the Highline Area Food Bank, Hospitality House and Highline District Schools. The organization is very lean, and is run by passionate, local volunteers, and last year raised over $36,000 for local charities.

“Be assured, your participation will be making a positive impact on your community,” added Nelson.

For more info, including all the other related events, check out

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11 Responses to “PHOTOS: Giant Cove To Clover Snake ‘Coyle’ Crashes Burien Council Meeting”
  1. Chris says:

    Lucy and Jack aside, this city council is so unbelievably disconnected with the community, it makes me sick.

    How hard would it have been to actually fill out an Athlete Angel form? Heaven forbid they help sponsor someone to run in the race!

    I’m a little surprised that Brian Bennett and Gerry Robinson didn’t put their best foot forward. I’m NOT surprised by Clark, McGilton or Shaw not participating, as they were seemingly put-off by race organizer John Nelson’s pleas last year as well.

    These old codgers have to go IMO…

  2. Julie Dow says:

    While I love CTC and think that they do a great job for our community, I really object to shaking down our city council for $25 each personally and taking up time allocated for city business with this foolery.
    Our City Councilmember’s make about $100 (yes one hundred) dollars per week for their service. If you like them or not, it doesn’t matter, showing up at a public meeting and trying to shame them into giving up thier pay for the evening is disrespectful of their position.
    If we really need someone to “sponsor” disadvantaged kids to run in the race, why not just let them run in the race? Or do we need someone to sponsor the race sponsors?
    Let our City Council do their job and stop interrupting serious matters with snakes and leprechauns. You can pull those stunts at farmers markets and other public places.

  3. Bonnie Moormeier says:

    Lighten up people – Let’s not turn every thing into a political issue! This is one of many fun events in our community and those who chose not to walk or run can drink or eat or participate in other local community and charity events as they wish.

  4. Though presented in a whimsical manner, I believe this to be serious business.

    My main objective is to inform and inspire the council and public to consider a new approach for showcasing our community. If our leaders can’t afford a $25 student sponsorship, perhaps they can revisit waiving the fees which they charge this 100% charity and volunteer driven event with no paid staff.

    Even if you don’t believe this is the correct venue, I don’t think 3 minutes a year is really challenging the Council’s ability to govern.

    BTW, I learned the approach of issuing personal challenges to city councils from Councilmember Clark. She issued a personal challenge to NP’s City Council to start a Relay for Life team at their council meeting in 2010 (which I happened to be attending).


  5. I forgot to answer why we don’t just let all the need based students run.

    There are some fixed costs associated with each runner on the course (timing chip, shirt, runner’s bib, insurance, free youth runner food/drink). To minimize these costs, we could have chosen to provide a stripped down registration for need-based students (e.g. no expensive t-shirt, untimed) but we didn’t want to risk calling out the student’s unique situation.

    As you may have guessed, $25 is significantly more than the fixed cost per runner. Since the Angel program is brand new, we didn’t know what the magic price would be so that need vs. willingness to shell out dollars would be balanced.

    Remember our primary goal is to maximize our donation to our targeted charities; supporting need-based student runners is a close second.

    With the extra dollars per Angel registrant, we we have an insurance policy to fund even last minute surge sponsorship requests without canabalizing our charity donation fund. If we don’t get a surge, the charities get the extra…that’s win/win in my opinion.

    With anything new of this scale, it’s hard to judge how successfully they will be received. Especially, something as robin-hoodish as the Angel program.

    I’m happy to report that at the moment the need vs. sponsor generosity is being matched pretty closely (about 120 sponsors and students).

    We will see what the maelstrom of the final weeks of registration brings.

    Thanks to all our race and Angel sponsors, school counselors, legions of volunteers and runners/spectators who vote with their feet by showing up.

    We have tapped into the best of our community (I’m just hoping our leaders find some way to support us in some outward way as well).

    Thanks for reading (in case anyone got this far).

  6. Julie Dow says:

    John, starting realy for life challenges running challenges is different than showiing up at a CC meeting demanding that the council cut a check personally or they get hissed at. That hardly seems whimsical!

    And Bonnie, I agree, lots of CTC is really fun and many of us do enjoy it. Ith does alot for our community.

    This stunt cheapned what is so great about the entire community event just to raise a maximum of $150….which they didn’t.. Time and place and all that…..

    • Julie,

      What hasn’t been said is I first graciously thanked them for the City’s greater support (Parks and Rec and Burien Wellness are new sponsors to the event). While it’s true I did put them on the spot, I didn’t demand anything and I didn’t hiss. I simply personally challenged as Ms. Clark personally challenged NP City Council. Surely you can understand why I felt a personal challenge was fair game when their own engage in the same tactics.

      In case you have interest in helping me from committing faux pas in future years, we have an open PR director position…it’s currently one of my many hats that is kind of crushing me at the moment. We’d love to have you on board (this is truly a friendly invitation and NOT a personal challenge).

      Thanks again for your kind comments about the value of the event. I will continue to try to deliver somethiing of value to the community for no pay.


  7. Chris says:

    Well said John. I belive Ms. Dow is missing your point entirely, and indeed “Coyle” showing up at the meeting, was inteneded to be fun.

    As I mentioned in my first post, how hard would it have been to committ $25?

    No hard at all…

  8. You can judge for yourself if I stooped too low. has video of the Feb 28, regular council meeting. I start my public comment at about 08:12. Spoiler alert: I’m not a great public speaker.

  9. Shari says:

    Maybe the reluctance on the part of council members to respond had to do with them wondering if doing so would mean that they’d be confronted at every meeting by reps from every local nonprofit and special fundraising event? Or they may have wondered if doing anything beyond polite listening (ie, writing checks, endorsing in any way) during the meeting itself violated by laws, etc…

  10. mjhoiland says:

    Go C2C volunteers ! How utterly brave of you to work tirelessly in the cold & rain to bring 2 stages of free entertainment, music, dancing, plus a heart healthy race to Burien when the economy is rotten. People don’t have to put money in the pot, but I don’t know of another way to raise $36,000 for local charities than to stick your hand out and ask for help. The first 8mins of public form was harder on ears than Coyle.

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