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Remington sculpture installed in Central Point

CENTRAL POINT — Artist Frederic Remington was known for capturing the enduring spirit of the American West. And some of that same spirit was required recently to give one of his iconic statues, "Broncho Buster," a new home on a downtown sidewalk.

An 8-foot-tall bronze casting of Remington's famous bucking bronc and rider was installed Wednesday morning after months of haggling, acquisition and repair.

Once situated outside Two Pines restaurant in Shady Cove — alongside castings of Remington's "Rattle Snake" and "Pony Express" — the statue was discovered in a mini storage unit by Debbie Saxbury, chairwoman of the city's Downtown Beautification Committee.

Saxbury, who had admired the statues for years before the restaurant relinquished them last year in a liquidation sale to repay creditors, was rafting the Rogue River for a class reunion this year when she spotted the statues at a mini storage facility.

"The second I got off that raft," she says, she contacted the storage facility and managed to track down representatives of the liquidation trust within days of the statues being sent to auction.

Because the bucking bronc had a damaged tail, city officials were able to negotiate the price down to $3,500; similar versions of the statue have run from $7,000 to beyond $100,000.

Sarah Garceau, recreation coordinator, said she was unsure whether the beautification committee could have afforded the statue if it had been in pristine condition.

"We originally were told that the tail had been fractured and would need to be brazed with bronze to repair it," Garceau said. "After some investigation, we discovered that the tail had at one point been completely broken off because people were climbing on it."

The area that was repaired is now shiny with copper and bronze, but will fade and blend within a year or so.

Garceau said city officials hope to persuade residents to stay off the artwork.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at buffyp76@yahoo.com.