GLENDO – There will be 307 silhouettes designated to be put up all over Wyoming, each representing the 307 state and each weighing approximately 1.25 tons.
Resilient enough to stand the test of time and hearty enough to withstand the Wyoming wind, Gary Waldo, founder of GW Mechanical created a strong vision for sprucing up a sparse Wyoming landscape.
According to Kelly Bethke of the Oil City News in Casper, Wyoming, GW Mechanics is “uniting Wyoming through metal art silhouettes.”
“Because of their passion for Wyoming, they have been collaborating with 307 First in their “Metal Art Project,” which consists of creating and placing western-themed metal silhouettes across the Cowboy State,” Bethke published in the March 25, 2001, issue of the Oil City News. “Our history is in Wyoming,” said Dean Cline, President of GW Mechanical. “We don’t know anything else, and we have to promote what we know.” GW Mechanical adopted Highway 20/26 between Casper and Shoshoni with the plan of placing nine silhouettes along that route. This stretch of highway is very desolate, and that became one of the primary reasons why GW Mechanical chose it. Overall, the goal of the entire project is to have 307 of these silhouettes placed across Wyoming. Many of these metal art pieces have been placed over the last year, including a few in downtown Casper as well as some along several highways. “Our theme on this is what I like to call ‘western’ or as some say, ‘the Pony Express’,” said Cline.”
Keith and Kara Micke, who purchased Micke’s Restaurant in 2008 noticed the silhouettes as they were traveling a long stretch of highway 26 west of Casper. They knew immediately that they wanted to purchase one to put in front of their restaurant in Glendo.
It was a mixture of Wyoming pride and Glendo pride according to Keith Micke.
Kara is originally from Dubois, where Kara’s family owned and operated a restaurant in Dubois, Bernie’s Cafe. Keith was a ranch manager and now sells Vita Ferm mineral for livestock.
Kara first noticed the silhouettes between Casper and Shoshoni during visits to see her dad while he was placed in hospice.
“Keith and I stopped one day and noticed the 307 First logo and contacted Eric (Ruckle) on Facebook,” she said. “From there we learned about the process of getting one in Glendo and approached Kelly (Wenzel) about funding the project. This is for the whole community and we are proud to have such a great piece of art at the restaurant. 307 First is a great Wyoming organization, we would love to see more silhouettes across Platte County.”
Kelly Walsh who attended the delivery and setup of the new Glendo setup was thrilled to have it put Glendo on the map. Eventually there will be a cutoff at 307 of these silhouettes and the organization 307 First will be putting out a statewide map listing each silhouette and where each one is located.
“I just wanted to help Kara out and help fund this project,” Wenzel said. “When I first heard about it, I just loved it. I love Wyoming, I was born and raised here; born in Rawlins and went to high school in Buffalo.”
To set up the process, someone has to offer the land and the cost of the silhouette is paid for by private and corporate sponsors. Wenzel wanted in to make it a reality in Glendo where she now resides and she was proud to put up her $4300 investment in the landmark.
“I was pretty excited to see it drive up on the flatbed truck and to be present when they erected it,” Wenzel said. “This year Glendo is 100 years old in its incorporation so it’s going to be pretty exciting to have it here for Glendo Days this year June 18.”
The idea for a cowboy with a cup of coffee over a campfire and his horse was something that the Micke’s though would be the perfect icon to sit outside of their restaurant. A cowboy outside drinking coffee and many cowboys inside drinking coffee.
The silhouette was delivered by flatbed trailer May 17 and with a single skidloader, Keith Micke had not only the silhouette in place, but decorative rock boulders that added to the ambiance. Well… almost. One of the rocks was so massive that Bellwood Boats’ owner Paul Bauder had to bring in a heavy-duty frontend loader to finish the job.
Within two hours the masterpiece of art was placed and officially part of Glendo’s 100-year celebration. It was almost if this unknown cowboy and his horse rode in for all the excitement.
For information on how you can begin the process of ordering a silhouette, you can call Eric Ruckle at 307-415-4369 or call and speak to Kara Micke at Micke’s Restaurant in Glendo.