Friday, October 12, 2018

Wyoming Cowboy

Wyoming Cowboy
 by Chris Navarro
University of Wyoming campus
corner of East Grand Ave. and 22nd St.
Laramie, WY
October 2018
The plaque on the base of this sculpture shares the artist's thoughts about his work, Wyoming Cowboy:

“The silhouette of a cowboy riding a bucking horse has long been the symbol of the State of Wyoming. The cowboy astride a bucking horse represents the toughness, pride, spirit, and independence of Wyoming. 

The scupture has been modeled on the great bucking horse Steamboat. This famous bucker bred in Wyoming was voted “worst” bucking horse of the year at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Celebration in 1906 and 1907. Steamboat was jet black with three white socks and had a powerful build. When he was a colt, he sustained a broken bone in his nose that caused him to make a whistling sound when he buck, and that is why the cowboys gave him the name Steamboat. The old-time cowboys said Steamboat would buck his heart out and wouldn’t quit.

The sculpture shows the determination and spirit of both the horse and the rider in a contest of one man against one horse. In the early days of rodeo, to make a qualified ride, a cowboy had to stay aboard his horse until it came to a standstill. The rider was not allowed to pull leather or grab any portion of the saddle. He was allowed to fan the horse with his hat, which dressed the ride up and made the horse buck harder. The sculpture carries the brand and symbol of the University of Wyoming. Both represent our western heritage and the best of Wyoming.” ~  Chris Navarro

Chris Navarro's work can be seen in many locations in the United States. Photos of his sculptures can be seen here.

A distinctive silhouette of Steamboat and a cowboy is featured on Wyoming license plates and is copyrighted by the State of Wyoming.


  1. I love this one too (as well as Breaking Through). Thanks for the comments from the artist as well. Very interesting. I would love to go to a rodeo some day.

  2. You always find interesting things to share on your blog. I've gone to several rodeos in my life but I didn't know the old rule of qualifying when the horse came to a stand still. I'm not sure I've ever seen one do that. On the other hand, the memory isn't what it used to be either! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great memory for me, many years ago we stayed in the hotel in the back and passed by this cowboy several times.

  4. Steamboat is a great name for a horse!

  5. Beautiful sculpture! Raw power!

  6. Beautiful.

    I think we may have seen one of his works in Scottsdale, Arizona.

  7. Now the statue is familiar to me but not the story--fascinating!
    Thanks for sharing that!

  8. IS that the silhouette that we saw as we entered WYOMING? on the sign? Great story and I Did not know about the rules about coming to a standstill. My goodness, that's a much harder rule !


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