Ryan Bakken, Grand Forks Herald , Published December 18 2011
Grafton teen's tortoise video gains speed on Web (video inside)
GRAFTON, N.D. — Mountain Sunrise Osborne, a Grafton High School freshman, certainly has an uncommon name.
However, he may have an accomplishment that is a bigger novelty than his moniker. He shot a video that has attracted more than 1 million views on YouTube.
The footage is nothing spectacular, as it shows a kitten riding on the shell of a tortoise. But the oddity of a young fur-ball hitching a ride on a seemingly clueless tortoise has caught the fancy of not only Internet visitors, but also the likes of the Ellen DeGeneres Show and a television station in Japan.
The video’s latest splash came nine days ago on “Good Morning America.”
The same day as the ABC network’s morning show airing, Mountain’s video was shown in Grafton High School classrooms. Asked if that made him a celebrity among fellow students, the 14-year-old of few words said “kind of.”
The most frequently asked question by schoolmates was: “Did you get paid?”
No, he hasn’t cashed in on his cinematic genius.
But at his age, Internet exposure may be more important than money.
Mountain, who received his name from being born in the mountains near Flagstaff, Ariz., at dawn, was surprised at his video’s attraction.
“It was at a time that I was putting random videos on my YouTube channel,” he said. “The other ones were basically being ignored. I didn’t think anyone would really see this one, either.
“There really is no point to it. But it’s unusual and brings smiles to people.”
The video resulted after he spotted kitty Shadow sleeping on the back of fellow family pet Beltane, a Sulcata Tortoise with a shell that is about 12 inches by 16 inches. By the time he returned with a camera, Beltane and passenger Shadow were going for a stroll.
Kittens usually look bewildered, but Shadow looks even more flummoxed after being awakened by her bed moving. But after shaking the grogginess, Shadow settles in for the ride. That wasn’t surprising because the cats, dogs and tortoise of the Osborne household peacefully coexist and have the run of the house.
That’s something Republicans and Democrats in Congress should learn. If a kitten and a tortoise can get along, why can’t elephants and donkeys?