It looks likely that one of the iconic chrome bulls at the former Kansas Coliseum will go to Maize South High School and the other to the Delano Historic District.
The future of the bulls has been in question for a while. Britt Brown Arena at the Coliseum complex closed early last year.
For years, the two bulls faced each other as if about to fight. Now, they might be separated.
Artist John Kearney created the bulls, made of chrome-plated car bumpers, in 1972. They took their spot at the Coliseum when it opened in 1978.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The sculpture, titled “Two Steers,” is listed on the Smithsonian American Art Museum Registry and in the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System.
A group representing Maize South approached Sedgwick County last spring, saying that it would pay to repair the bulls.
County commissioners weighed several options, including repairing the sculptures and keeping them at the Coliseum complex, where the Kansas Pavilions still operate; repairing them and giving them to either Delano or Maize South; repairing them and donating one to each place; and giving one to Delano and one to Maize South with those groups paying for repair.
Assistant county manager Ron Holt said that Kearney’s wife, speaking as the artist’s representative, told the county it would be OK to split the bulls up.
County staff recommended that the county pay for repairs and donate the bulls to Delano with a stipulation that the historic district agree to a maintenance plan. Delano said the bulls would be a fitting tribute to the area's history of cattle drives along the Chisholm Trail.
But a majority of commissioners say they don't want to spend county money to repair the bulls only to give them away.
The cost of repairing the bulls to museum quality was estimated at $87,560.
During a meeting with county staff on Tuesday, Commissioners Karl Peterjohn, Richard Ranzau and Dave Unruh said they would support giving one bull to each organization with the expectation that each group pay to repair the bulls. Commissioner Tim Norton did not comment on the issue, and Commissioner Jim Skelton did not attend the meeting.
One of the bulls can’t be moved until it is repaired, Holt said, adding that Maize South has indicated it would like that bull.
Commissioners are scheduled to vote Sept. 21 about the bulls’ future.
Reach Deb Gruver at 316-268-6400 or email@example.com.