Minneapolis man over the moon after completing toothpick replica of Apollo 11 rocket

For most of this life, Greg Kelly has been fascinated with space.

So when it comes to the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest accomplishments in human history, the Minneapolis man is understandably over the moon.

"I was just a young whipper snapper high school graduate," he said. "I remember people running to TV sets to see what was happening, and I ran over there, too."

Back in 1969, Kelly was one of the millions watching on TV as Neil Armstrong became the first person to step on the moon.

"Then I see the man; Neil Armstrong sets his foot down," he said. "This is one small step for man...then I said, ‘this is really cool,’ and I just ran off into the streets."

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, Kelly built his own monument: a replica of the Saturn V rocket that carried the Apollo 11 astronauts into space, as well as the launch tower and mobile platform that transported the entire apparatus to the launch pad.

The model is 4.5 feet tall, 2 feet long and 1.5 feet wide and it’s made entirely out of toothpicks, as well as a few bamboo skewers and coffee stirs. You may remember, back in 2018, Kelly built a replica of U.S. Bank Stadium out of 6,000 toothpicks!

"I made it so it’s transparent [so] you get an idea of what the internal structure is like," he said.

It took Kelly seven months of working two to three hours a day and 3,000 toothpicks to finish his version of the Saturn V.

What’s even more amazing than the delicate, intricate work it took to create his creation - he did it all while battling complications from prostate cancer.

“I could have said, 'I’m not going to do it, I'm too ill,' but I just told myself, ‘I'm going to do it no matter what and go for it, just like these guys did. They went for it and they got to the moon.'"

For Kelly, the historic moment is proof of what people can do when they put their minds to it - and the same could be said for his latest creation. 

“I’m overjoyed I got to finish it up and have something to show off,” he said.