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Bridges: Eclectic Irsay Collection is beyond comprehension

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Jim Irsay says his upcoming exhibit of the incredible artifacts he’s assembled is a way to give back to the fans.

After seeing a portion of it in the basement of his home, l can attest to the fact that those who attend his free display of the collection on Sept. 9 at Lucas Oil Stadium will certainly not go home disappointed.

With some 80 incredible items in tow, the often misunderstood yet benevolent Indianapolis Colts owner is looking forward to the obvious home field advantage when making the most recent stop of his “tour” where he will also treat those in attendance to a free performance of his All Star Band, which will include the likes of Buddy Guy, John Hiatt, Kenny Wayne Sheppard and a special performance by one John Mellencamp to cap it off.

Colts owner Jim Irsay speaks with media while sitting on a Zamboni. (Photo/Paul Chiodo)

To call this impressive museum-worthy collection anything other than world class would be a shortcoming of the greatest order, as it contains not only what is arguably the greatest collection of vintage guitars on Earth in addition to items relating to history and even pop culture.

Now I ask you, where else can you find Muhammad Ali’s boxing shoes along with Abraham Lincoln’s pocket knife? For the guitar enthusiasts, Irsay’s phenomenal collection includes the Fender Mustang that belonged to the late Kurt Cobain, not to mention an ultra-rare butterscotch colored 1952 Fender Stratocaster.

As Irsay prepares to take both his priceless collection and his band through Europe and beyond, it’s worth mentioning that the always-candid philanthropist makes it clear that these remarkable treasures are not for sale.

“I wouldn’t take a billion dollars for all of it,” Irsay said as he sat upon the Zamboni machine that keeps the ice ready in the rink he constructed to benefit the youth hockey program his grandson competes in.

“This is indeed a spiritual trek for me and these artifacts will continue to live on long after I’m gone as they should.”

Notes: While the viewing of the collection and the concert are free, one must have a ticket to enter. Visit thejimirsaycollection.com for details.

My sincere thanks to Steve Campbell and Larry Hall for the access to both Jim Irsay and his mind-boggling collection.

Danny Bridges. who just might ask Mr. Irsay for a test drive of Hunter S. Thompson’s vintage 1973 Red Shark convertible, can be reached at 317-370-8447 or at bridgeshd@aol.com.

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