Bit by bit, the little pocket park at the corner of McLane and Main in Payson, Deming Pioneer Park, is becoming a place of note.
First it was created as a place to display and honor Payson's past with the construction of the facade of the J.W. Boardman Mercantile Store, which once stood on the site, and its exhibit cases feature the stories of how Payson was built.
Next the Rotary Clubs of the area contributed an old-fashioned clock in celebration of the club's centennial - the story goes that Boardman's was the place to get the official time for many years.
The Mail Trail monument, commemorating the riders who carried mail between the Rim Country and the Verde Valley, was recently placed at the southwest corner of the park.
Now, a reproduction of Frederic Remington's famous bronze, "Bronco Buster" is in the center pedestal of the park.
Dick Wolfe, who spearheaded efforts to get the park built when serving as a Payson Town Council member, has been trying to get the statue for years from Gary Martenson, developer of Bison Ranch in Heber-Overgaard. Martenson's company, Bison Homes, was the presenting sponsor of the 2006 World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo, and has recently purchased property adjoining the town hall complex.
"I approached him years ago," Wolfe said of Martenson, "and he said he would like to donate it. So, we had the pedestal for it built when the park was constructed."
Wolfe said he felt the "Bronco Buster" was especially appropriate because Main Street is where the early rodeos were held.
"We wanted to wait until we had something appropriate to replace it with," Martenson said of the time it took to bring the statue to Payson. He said there is now a statue of a rearing stallion where the Remington reproduction formerly stood in Bison Ranch.
Martenson said, there are about 15 of the monumental bronzes at his Bison Ranch development. He has owned the Remington reproduction for two or three years.
A formal dedication for the bronze will be held at a later date to be announced, Wolfe said.
According to information on the Web site bronzeoutpost.com, Frederic Remington (1861-1909) depicted the life of the cowboy during the 1880s and 1890s better perhaps than any other artist of his time. He thought of himself as a true citizen of the American West.
A native of Canton, N.Y., Remington left college at the age of 19, looking for adventure in the West.
Remington operated his own ranch in Kansas and in 1886 he gave it up as a failure and came back to the East.
The experience served him well in his later career as an artist.
"What success I have had," Remington once told a newspaper reporter, "has been because I have a horseman's knowledge of a horse. No one can draw equestrian subjects unless he is an equestrian himself." As an artist, Remington first made a name for himself as an illustrator and painter, and began sculpting only 14 years before his death in 1909. "I was impelled to try my hand at sculpture by a mental desire to say something in the round as well as in flat. Sculpture is the most perfect expression of action. You can say it all in clay."
The first Remington in clay was "Bronco Buster," completed in 1885.
The fact that the original statue was completed in 1885 makes it even more appropriate for Payson, since the area's first rodeo took place in 1884.
-- To reach Teresa McQuerrey call 474-5251 ext. 113 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.