Photo by Matt Stensland
Six-year-old Lowen Epstein of Steamboat Springs plays on part of a bronze statue that was unveiled Wednesday in front of the Routt County Courthouse.
Six-year-old Kevin Kaster did not want to climb down from the sparkling new statue on the Routt County Courthouse lawn when his mom asked him to.
That is exactly the response local artist Sandy Graves was hoping for when the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association unveiled her bronze statue - dubbed "Steamboat Legacy" on Wednesday evening.
"It represents the spirit of people here," Graves explained, "It's something I hope the young and old can enjoy together."
A group of more than 60 people including all ages and walks of life gathered to celebrate the Chamber's centennial birthday, which technically occurred in 2007 but finally came to fruition with the completion of the statue. The sun came out just in time for families and friends to chat over light refreshments while timeless tunes by Bruce Springsteen played in the background.
"We wanted something that would represent a lasting legacy and tie Steamboat's heritage to its future," said Sandy Evans Hall, executive vice president of the Chamber. "It's playful and engaging and sturdy so that kids can climb on it."
The statue of three children playing on a seesaw took more than a year to complete. Graves spent countless hours - she had no idea how many - working on tiny details that are symbolic icons of the Yampa Valley.
Look closely for the "Yampa bear," as Graves calls it, on the back of the little boy's oversized boot, which represents the big animals that occasionally wander into the city. Or spot the "snowflake spur" on the back of the little girl's cowboy boots, which represents the Steamboat Springs icon.
Symbols cover every inch of the statue, and Graves said she hopes people will take some time to try to seek them out. There will be a sign posted nearby describing each symbol and where to find them.
"Overall, the statue is very simple," Graves said. "I wanted to show the three industries we are known for: mining, ranching and skiing."
The Chamber requested that children be used in the statue to represent the future of Steamboat. Each child is dressed in oversized clothing, "like they are playing dress-up in their parents' clothes," Graves said.
Donations from the community and local businesses covered the statue's $80,000 price tag, with the largest donation coming from Steamboat resident Les Liman and his wife, Linda.
"We are very happy with how (the statue) turned out," Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said after the unveiling. "It's a great fit for who we are."
- To reach Kristi Mohrbacher, call 871-4243 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org