Gridley Man Hopes to Take Fire-Breathing Dragon to Burning Man

Jan 6, 2013 6:00 PM

"Claude" is a jaw-snapping, fire-breathing, 19 foot long, 7,000 pound dragon. Gabe Zanotto began working on Claude in 1979. He says he had a piece of wood that he imagined to make into a unicorn and rider. But then, Claude morphed into a dragon, which made more sense. Says Zanotto, "I couldn't get the horse out of him, so when I started looking, I realized it was going to be a dragon." Using antique metal pulled from old tractors and other equipment, Zanotto uses heavier materials for the base, and then bolts down random pieces of memorablia, including weaponry, hood ornaments, door knobs, a notory from Alameda County, the key to the city of Biggs, and grandpa's ashes and favorite drinking cup. Gabe says he sometimes takes Claude to fairs or children's hospitals, and the kids get very excited. The A&E channel has offered to haul Claude to Burning Man in Nevada in late August, but Gabe must bring him back, and he doesn't have the money. If you'd like to sponsor Claude for that trip or another event, visit Claude's website at


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