We hopped onto the I90 for a bit between Split Rock Creek and Snake Creek with Big Bertha taking the lead. I’m always one to make a quick un-planned detour and this one did not disappoint. As we were driving through the boring landscape, I suddenly spotted a HUGE bull head! My first thought was that someone was extremely proud of their ranch! Boy, was I wrong.
We pulled in and found a very unique Sculpture Park.
Porter Sculpture Park is ran by a single individual, Mr Porter who owned a Sheep ranch that failed in 2008. He told us that when the recession hit, he had to give it up. I can’t recall how long he has been working on the various sculptures found at the park, but there are a ton of unique and somewhat dark and bizarre sculptures. He told us that he fell off the fishbowl and broke his arm at one point. He’s currently working on a horse sculpture, which is supposed to be about 110 ft. tall and made out of railroad iron. The bull (also made from railroad iron) which drew my original attention is aprox 60ft tall and weighs in around 30 Ton. It had to be disassembled from it’s original build site and utilized two cranes to set it up in it’s current position. The Bull sculpture is best viewed from the inside (enter from the back)
Wayne Porter is a metal sculptor who was born in 1959 in South Dakota. He grew up in St. Lawrence, a small town in central South Dakota and learned to weld in his father’s Blacksmith Shop. He made his first welded piece of art at age 12.He graduated from Miller High School in 1978 and attended South Dakota State University, graduating with degrees in Political Science and History in 1982. He has never taken an art class. He subsequently raised sheep for a few years, working on his art in his free time. His art is large in size and much of it is comprised of junk or found metal. His largest sculpture is 60 feet tall and weighs more than 25 tons. It is made of individual railroad ties welded together. In the fall of 2000, he opened Porter Sculpture Park, I-90 exit 374, by Montrose, SD. The sculpture park now has more than 50 sculptures, created by Wayne, along with the poetry that accompanies many of the pieces. In the off season, he works on making more sculptures in the same blacksmith shop where he learned to weld. His pieces are majestic, whimsical, thought provoking, and readily display the influences of the South Dakota prairies that he grew up on and also reflect his quick wit, humor, and diverse interests. He lives with his Australian Shepherd dog, Bambino.
There is some very intriguing poetry that goes along with many of the sculptures. If you happen to be along the I 90 exit 374, make plans to take an hour and check it out! Current admission is $8/pp.