Fort Pierre’s Casey Tibbs statue down for reconstruction
for Tri-State Livestock News
Recent travelers on Highway 83 through Fort Pierre, South Dakota note “something missing” when they can’t find the larger than life fiberglass statue of native son Casey Tibbs, at the 1st Street junction.
That’s because the venerable piece of heritage is “in for repair,” or more like “rebuilding” from more than a quarter century of buffeting by rain, wind, hail and snow driven by the volatile winds which haunt the path of the Big Muddy.
The authentic art – built for Casey’s sister Dolly Muir – originally decorated a supper club in Kirkland, Washington. Dolly’s wish to have it relocated to Fort Pierre was fulfilled after her death as her son Boyd Muir and granddaughter Dana Bosa brought it to South Dakota, where it claimed a niche as the iconic symbol for Tibbs’ home town. After Casey’s passing in the 1990s, it seemed perfect for the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center (CTRC) to grow up on the shale bluff just above the statue.
Fortunately city employees doing routine cleaning realized the fragile condition of the concrete base before the statue fell. It was removed to indoor storage in May, with professional restoration contingent on funding, as the community of Fort Pierre and the CTRC plan for a strongly stable and attractive base when it’s re-set at the original location.
Cowboy tradition sprung up as “the hat was passed” to raise restoration funds during the CTRC’s 27th Annual Casey Tibbs Tribute Dinner Nov. 5. If you weren’t present and want to help, contributions are being accepted at the CTRC Facebook page or by contacting the CTRC at (605)494-1094. A “Go Fund ME” drive is also underway at: gofundme.com/caseytibbsstatue.
With the hometown premiere of the documentary “Floating Horses – The Life of Casey Tibbs” pending, it will be especially nice to get his symbolic statue restored.