To commemorate a legendary hometown hero, Yuba Sutter Arts & Culture announced that the Cotton Rosser Bronze Statue project is now up and running.
“Cotton is legendary in the professional rodeo world and was inducted into the Pro Rodeo
Hall of Fame in 1995,” a release issued by Yuba Sutter Arts & Culture said. “He is equally legendary here in his hometown, as an entrepreneur and owner of Flying U Rodeo, one of the most successful stock contracting firms in professional rodeo, as well as Cotton’s Cowboy Corral western wear store in Marysville.”
According to David Read, executive director of Yuba Sutter Arts & Culture, plans for this project have been in the works for years.
“Local community leaders came together and felt that honoring Cotton because of the positive impact he’s had on the region and his national reputation was the right thing to do,” said Read. “Public art for a cause is important especially when it is done to honor a group of people or an individual who has done so much to help create the identity of a place, in this case Marysville and all of Yuba-Sutter. There is also an economic development component to what Cotton has accomplished over his many years in business. The Cattle Drive, Marysville Stampede Rodeo and ancillary events like Sodbusters have been going on for decades and are part of the fabric of our community.”
The plan is to create a one and a quarter times life size bronze statue of Rosser on horseback doffing his hat to an admiring crowd as he enters the rodeo ring, which will be about seven tons of patinated bronze sitting atop a concrete and brick base.
Read said Marysville City Councilman and designer Stuart Gilchrist has already created several renderings of the statue that will be put in place in Plaza Park on First Street in Marysville, just to the right of the Silver Dollar Saloon and Bok Kai Temple – a location chosen so Rosser can look over the Yuba-Sutter Cattle Drive each year.
According to Read, sculptor Jeff Wolf has signed on to create the monument as well.
“The artist we have chosen started as a rodeo competitor in high school and had a 10-year pro career before taking up art full time,” said Read. “He has known Cotton for decades and had his first and last pro rodeo bull rides on Flying U bulls.”
Wolf said it is a great honor for him to be selected to create something to honor an icon like Rosser.
“Everybody in the rodeo world knows Cotton Rosser,” said Wolf. “You mention his name and everyone knows who that is, even today.”
Wolf said it is his job as a sculptor to work as hard as he can to create something that will honor not only Rosser’s great rodeo legacy, but also the great human being that he is.
Even more than 40 years later, Wolf said he remembers watching Rosser ride in rodeos and the way he presented himself while at events.
“He is the greatest rodeo showman of all time,” said Wolf.
Wolf, who has been sculpting since he was five years old, said his rodeo background has been a great help when designing a piece to honor Rosser and all he has done for the rodeo community.
“The first money I won in rodeo was on one of Cotton’s bulls and the last bull I rode was Cotton’s also,” said Wolf.
The public will have the opportunity to learn more about the project and Wolf during a free meet-and-greet event that will be held Saturday, Oct. 23, in the Gallery at Yuba Sutter Arts & Culture, 624 E St., Marysville, from 4-6 p.m.
During the event, Wolf will have samples of his work on display and the grand finale of the evening will be the unveiling of the model of the sculpture of Rosser on horseback.
Read said they have just kicked off the fundraising part of the project at this time.
“Depending on the success of the fundraising campaign, we are hoping to have the statue in place in time for the 2022 Cattle Drive and Stampede,” said Read.
For more information, call (530) 742-2787.