OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee Main Street is raising funds for the bronze cattle drive sculpture project that will be installed in Flagler Park #5 in downtown Okeechobee.
At the Oct. 8 meeting, Kathy Scott of Okeechobee Main Street said the goal is to have the sculptures installed in 2021, when the State of Florida will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the arrival of cattle in Florida.
After meeting with local cattlemen, the Okeechobee Main Street committee decided the sculpture should reflect the Okeechobee County cattle industry of the 1950s when the county was better known for Brahman and Brangus cattle.
The project combines local history with art. “We would like this not only to be a sculpture in the downtown park but also a story about the community,” explained Mrs. Scott.
Sponsorships start as low as $250. She said sponsorships could honor a local business, organization or individual. Smaller donations of even a few dollars are welcome, she explained.
“We want everyone to be involved, and all donations are tax-deductible,” she said. She noted the project has a gofundme account.
The goal is to have the project completed in time for the 2021 anniversary of the arrival of cattle in Florida.
“We plan to have the artist commissioned by the end of this month,” she said.
The artist, J. Michael Wilson from Utah, has over 30 years of award winning sculptures, said Mrs. Scott.
The project will consist of 10 bronze sculptures and will include a horse with rider, calf, dog, six cattle and a cowboy on a fence. The sculptures will represent a historical cattle drive celebrating the ranching lifestyle in Okeechobee County as well as celebrate the 500 year anniversary of the first cattle brought to Florida. In 1521, the earliest Spanish explorers and seven Andalusia cattle arrived on Florida shores.
In other business at the county commission meeting, Okeechobee County 4-Hers shared news of recent awards. Tatum Bickel competed in the state 4-H horse show and in the youth division of the extreme mustang challenge. Shelby Sumner was recently chosen as a state 4-H officer. She said in her position as the state 4-H reporter, her job is to promote 4-H. She explained this is National 4-H Week and the year’s theme is “inspiring kids to do.” Shelby also had the opportunity to be on the 4-H Dairy Judging Team that competed in September at the 51st Annual Youth Dairy Cattle Judging Contest at the All-American Dairy Show in Harrisburg, Penn. The Florida team took first place and all of the team members placed in the top 10 in the individual scoring.