FORT PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) Before this week’s snows fell, construction got underway on what will be the Johnny Smith Memorial Sculpture Garden, just outside the main entrance for the Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center in FortPierre. The garden will be to honor South Dakota’s great saddle bronc champs and a grand opening event is planned for it on June 1, in conjunction with the annual Match of Champions bronc ride that will also be held that day. Center officials are continuing to sell engraved bricks that will be installed in the garden and Monday is the deadline for those who want to have their brick in place for this summer’s opening. Rodeo Center Director Cindy Bahe says people can choose the text, brand or logo they want etched into their brick. There are two different size bricks and they range in price from $100 to $150. A small fee is added for those who want a brand or logo added on the brick. Bahe says the bricks are a great way to show off family names, ranches, farms, brands or even businesses.
Board member Tom Bown stresses that brick sales will continue into the next few years, but those that want their bricks in place for the June 1 celebration should place an order in the next few days.
Not only will June 1 bring the grand opening for the sculpture garden, but it will also feature the unveiling of the garden’s first statue-a large bronze of Billy Etbauer on the saddle bronc Painted Valley. It is being created by Tony Chytka and the almost life-sized statue is being funded by the proceeds from the sales of smaller bronze replicas. A limited number of the small bronze statues are still available for sale. Plans call for the addition of two more bronzes at the garden in the future-possibly depicting two other South Dakota saddle bronc champs; Casey Tibbs and Clint Johnson.
Forms for the bricks are available online at http://www.caseytibbs.com/garden%20pdf%20fillable%202-2013 or at the center.
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