NORMAN, Okla. — Pulled into the full light of day for the first time, artist Jocelyn Russell could finally start to see what she’d been working on for the past year and a half.
“He’s big,” exclaimed Russell. “He’s really big!”
She continued, “I’m definitely stoked. This is a lot of months of work trying to get this done on time.”
Standing nearly 13 feet high and weighing in at more than 3,500 pounds, this is the largest sculpture of Secretariat, complete now in mid-October and ready to start a 900-mile race from Norman to Lexington, Kentucky.
“I hadn’t actually seen him in good light yet,” admitted Russell. “The sun’s always been behind him.”
We first saw this sculpture in early January as Russell covered her larger than life foam model with clay.
Molds made from her model became bronze at Norman’s Crucible Foundry.
It took eight months but foundry owner Mark Palmerton is happy too.
“Great sculpture,” he says. “Just a good situation.”
“I paid him five bucks to says that,” laughs Russell.
On a crisp Tuesday morning, Secretariat rode her own big trailer, for the first time, to what would be a series of stops.
The first was at Norman High School where Russell’s longtime friend and art teacher Tauri Sims got to see the finished project she and her students helped with last year.
“They got to see it all along the way,” she says.
Travel time to Kentucky takes three days.
There were more scheduled stops to make, more excitement to build before a weekend unveiling at the Keeneland Race Track in Lexington.
With the finish line nearly in sight, Jocelyn playfully suggested that her big horse might try to pass them at some point.
“Especially at the finish line,” she smiles. “So I think I’m going to be checking the rearview mirror.”
‘Big Red’ never liked to follow anyone.
“He doesn’t like to finish last.”
Russell’s Secretariat sculpture is scheduled to arrive in Lexington sometime late Thursday night.
If you want to follow the horse and trailer on its journey, go to their Facebook page here.
‘Is This a Great State or What?’ is sponsored by WEOKIE.