The Casey Tibbs Foundation has announce plans to create a Sculpture Garden that will open this summer at the Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center in Ft Pierre. This historic project was conceived by the late Johnny Smith who envisioned a “garden of bronzes” to recognize the many saddle bronc champions from South Dakota. Smith, a former Casey Tibbs Foundation Board member, was an avid supporter of rodeo, at all levels, and was well know throughout the state for his 40+ years in the livestock sales business
“We are excited to have this addition to the Rodeo Center site,” said director Cindy Bahe. “It will feature the large bronze statue of five-time world champion saddle bronc rider, Billy Etbauer. The garden, which will be located on the north side of the building, will be built with long-term plans to accommodate two additional bronzes.” The garden will also serve as a gathering area for receptions and special events at the Rodeo Center.
Rodeo fans can help build the sculpture garden by purchasing an engraved brick to be installed in the garden floor. “Purchasers can choose the text, brand or logo they prefer to have etched into the brick,” said Bahe. “It will be a great way to preserve a family’s name or brand.” Businesses can get their company name and/or logo etched into bricks as well.
“The sculpture garden and large statue will be unveiled on Saturday, June 1, 2013,” said Board President Dayle Angyal. “We are planning a special event in the afternoon at the Rodeo Center in conjunction with the 20th annual Match of Champions bronc match that will take place later that evening at the Stanley County Fairgrounds. It will be an exciting day of western culture and bronc riding.”
The large statue of Billy Etbauer scoring an 89 on Harry Vold’s great saddle bronc, Painted Valley, to win the 2009 Cheyenne Frontier Days saddle bronc event, is being created by Tony Chytka. It is being funded by the proceeds from sales of smaller bronze replicas. A limited number of the small bronze statues are still available for sale.
“The sculpture garden is a great way to preserve South Dakota’s saddle bronc heritage,” said Board Member and project leader, Tom Bown. “South Dakota has had more saddle bronc champions than any other state, and still produces some of the best saddle broncs in professional rodeo. We created the sculpture garden to provide a way to recognize these champions.”
Interested parties can contact the Rodeo Center for more information about the sculpture garden bricks, small bronze replicas or any pertinent information.