One of the Two Steers that had faced off for decades in front of the Kansas Coliseum has gone solo at his new home at Maize South High School.
The chrome bull, all shiny and restored by volunteers, was dedicated Friday evening before the schools first home football game of the season.
I think we got a great deal, said James McDonald, a Maize South parent who approached the Sedgwick County Commission last year with a request for the artwork after the Coliseum closed. The commission decided to give one of the bulls to the school and the other to the Delano district.
But the sculptures needed hauling away, and they needed work.
It took a lot of elbow grease to erase virtually 35 years of snow, salt, dirt and grime, McDonald said. It hadnt been touched in all that time.
The other half of the sculpture is in the hands of the city of Wichita and will be placed in Delano Park when its restoration is finished, probably in six months to a year, said Doug Kupper, director of the citys park and recreation department.
Two Steers was sculpted by John Kearney in the late 1970s and had stood outside the Coliseum since 1978. Both Delano and Maize South had requested the sculpture Maize South looking for a mascot for its Mavericks, and Delano to mark its place in history as the end of the Chisholm Trail. The commission decided to split up the sculpture to fulfill both requests.
The city of Wichita voted just last month to accept its half of the gift, Kupper said. He estimates that it will cost $40,000 to repair and place the bull in a secure, appropriately landscaped place in Delano Park at Douglas and McLean. Thats where the Ben F. McLean Memorial Fountain is, along with a plaque marking the place where the Chisholm Trail once ended.
We want to do it right, Kupper said.
The sculpture will have to be anchored, uplighted and probably elevated to protect it from any errant cars, he said. Kupper said he expects the bull to be placed so that its heading west toward Delano, even though cattle in the late 1800s headed east across the river to the railroad tracks and off to Chicago.
McDonald said that various volunteers including one Maize South dad who is a welder and another who works at polishing cars helped on the restoration of the schools bull. One of the bulls horns needed to be reattached, for example.
The booster club put half the money down for about $6,000 in foundation work, and fundraisers will help pay the rest, McDonald said. Landscaping will be done around the sculpture this fall.
You could have put thousands of dollars into it, McDonald said. Im in contact with the sculptor and sculptors wife. You could have spent many thousands of dollars to bring somebody in to work on it. ...
What weve been able to do and afford to do has made it really nice. Nowadays with the public school system, money is tight. Were extremely excited and happy we could get that.