53 Statues You Need to See Before You Die

historical western bronze statuesNearly half a century after Denver denizens commissioned Preston Powers to create Closing of an Era, the city put its faith in a prominent sculptor who, at the age of 11, had moved to Denver with his family in 1871. In 1917, Alexander Phimister Proctor showed Denver Mayor Robert Speer a model of the Bronco Buster he had been working on after attending Oregon’s Pendleton Round-Up three years earlier.

By 1920, the finished Proctor bronze was dedicated.

Yet what most probably don’t know when they look at this bronze in Civic Center Park is that Proctor had to bail out his model, Bill “Slim” Ridings, who had been arrested for cattle rustling. The artist couldn’t finish the sculpture without the Pendleton rodeo competitor.

With True West recognizing the Denver Art Museum as this year’s top Western art museum in the nation, Denver and these two larger-than-life sculptures seem a fitting start to our selection of historical sculptures all Old West enthusiasts should see before they die.

—The Editors

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