Community leaders have taken another step forward in adding an artwork centerpiece to the Tom McCall Road/Highway 126 roundabout.
An online survey was made available in January through Survey Monkey that was open until Feb. 3.
"Your answers will be compiled and shared with the Tom McCall Roundabout Feature Committee," the survey read, "and will help inform their recommendation to Prineville City Council and Crook County Court."
At a Prineville City Council meeting Tuesday night, the results of that survey were revealed, and the top vote-getter should be familiar to local rodeo fans – a bucking bronc rider that mirrors the longtime Crooked River Roundup logo.
City Engineer Eric Klann, who has helped spearhead the art project, said that the Western history and heritage continually emerged during the initial community survey. So all the artists considered for the project and the different artwork pieces were expected to play off those themes.
"We selected Greg Congleton," Klann said. "He lives in Bend and grew up in the Paulina country."
Congleton's work is already on display at the Prineville City Hall Plaza, where his bronze "Maverick" stands as a centerpiece.
"We gave him the results of the survey, and he came up with different options," Klann said. "We got that down to a top five that we liked."
Artistic renderings of those options were provided on the survey. The first option was the bronc rider without a base, and a second option was similar but included a base. The third option was a girl riding a horse atop a base reading "Prineville." That same base is featured in the fourth option, but that one shows a man leading the horse. The fifth option is a foal followed by a mare walking along a base that rests on a partial wagon wheel.
Klann showed that a roughly equal number of people favored the man leading the girl on the horse and the two bucking bronc options, but added that if you add the two bronc riding options – with or without a base – together, it is the clear favorite.
Opening discussions on the bucking bronc option, Klann presented the iconic photo of bronc rider Manuel Enos on War Paint, taken in 1957. Crook County Commissioner Jerry Brummer, who has been involved in the roundabout art project, was then invited to talk about the famous horse.
"War Paint was the bucking horse of the year in 1956, 1957 and tied for it in 1959," he said. Brummer said the horse came from the Klamath Indian Reservation and had a reputation for not only wanting to buck riders off but hurt them.
"He was the one you wanted to draw," he continued. "You could win money."
That reputation is reinforced in a history piece about the Crooked River Roundup posted on its website:
"Ronnie Raymond made his debut as a saddle bronc rider at the Roundup in 1956. He drew War Paint, one of the great bucking horses ever and the one featured on the logo of the Roundup with Manuel Enos on board. Manuel had ridden War Paint earlier in 1956 at the rodeo in Redmond and won the event there. The picture that is used as a logo was taken in 1957 here in Prineville. Shortly after the picture, War Paint won, and Manuel Enos ended up in some of Crook County's fine soil."
Brummer said he really likes the bronc rider idea for the roundabout centerpiece; it appeals to him as both a rodeo and history fan.
"I think this would represent our community well," he said.
City Councilors Teresa Rodriguez and Gail Merritt, who both serve on a focus committee for the project, did not disagree with the option, although they both acknowledged a fondness for the man leading the girl riding a horse.
"I got a lot of feedback on that one because a lot of us who were raised that way, we were the little girl on the horse," Rodriguez said.
No official votes were taken on the artwork option, but the council directed city staff and others involved with the project to move forward with the bronc rider idea. Next steps include a decision on whether to go with a bronze statue or a less expensive steel version. Rodriguez prefers bronze while Merritt prefers steel.
Klann suggested the city could reach out to Congleton and request mockups and cost estimates for both styles to help project leaders decide.
Other decisions will need to be made about how to landscape the area surrounding the roundabout sculpture and how to raise funds for the project.
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