Local

The Benton Franklin fair is gaining a new icon— and he’s 16 feet tall

Look for this 16-feet cowboy at the fair

Robert Mross is an artist who made an 16-feet tall cowboy for the Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo.
Up Next
Robert Mross is an artist who made an 16-feet tall cowboy for the Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo.

The Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo hired a local artist to create a statue for the fair this year. He says it’s the coolest commission he’s ever had.

The 16-foot, lasso-tossing cowboy will greet visitors at the entrance to the fairgrounds on Oak Street in Kennewick.

The sculpture is made of mostly salvaged metal, including sheets of expanded metal, 120 feet of steel rod and 100 feet of piping. And all of it was bended by hand.

Robert Michael Mross, who lives in the Tri-Cities part of the year, has been a welding artist for 20 years.

But he said the project is entirely unlike anything he’s done before.

“Just the process was totally different,” he said. “When they first asked me to make a piece of art, I had all these great ideas. Then I read the contract and it had to be able to move, the wind couldn’t blow it down. I’m talking about a 20-foot piece of art.”

At first, he was just going to design something simple — a man standing, with a rope going straight up and down.

“But again, I don’t take easy,” he said. “I don’t get that.”

Instead, his cowboy will be suspended on one leg to give the illusion of him jumping through a lasso.

Next week, fairgoers can watch Mross finish up the final details of the 400-pound sculpture.

He will paint part of it at a live art showcase in the new HomeTown Maker’s Market.

Fair officials said they want the cowboy to stay as a recurring figure at the fair for years to come.

The fair parade is Saturday in downtown Kennewick, followed by a demolition derby that night. The fair opens Tuesday and ends Saturday, Aug. 24.

  Comments