At some point you have to go big or go home. I decided it was time to borrow dimensions from Uncle Geno’s stallion named Frenchman’s Mr. Tough, and then I stared at the scrap pile, visually searching for the graceful curves of a flowing mane and tail. I grabbed the wire-feed welder, acetylene torch, and plasma cutter, then shaped slices of long, curving strips of sheet metal. Then, I welded on hand tools, shovels, chains, files, barbed wire, five western-themed bronze castings, and even truck shocks to form the forearms, gaskins, and cannons of the horse’s legs.
These many hidden elements are tucked throughout the piece; I even included the small model I used to perfect the proportions, welding it into Iron Star’s chest. As the piece came together, every once in a while Geno would recognize one of his former tools. People like to joke that they have to keep the good wrenches away from me. But, I never use anything they could still use. Honest. I really don’t.
The collection of materials in this life-sized horse created an obvious stir in Hill City, South Dakota, after the local arts council purchased the sculpture for the town. Passersby still stop to identify the farm and ranch implements that, from a distance, give the impression of a beautifully conformed horse. The impression is so strong that cowboys who drive by pulling horse trailers have reported that their horses actually whinny when they pass Iron Star!