Sold! if You’ll Take It Away: Rodeo Sends Reliant Park Chief ‘Touch the Clouds’ Statue Packing

Statue of Chief Touch the Clouds, Reliant Arena, Reliant Park, HoustonThe Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo last Thursday approved the sale of its 18-ft.-tall painted but weathered bronze statue of Chief ‘Touch the Clouds’ from outside the Reliant Arena to an Oklahoma City suburb — for $50,000. The statue of the Miniconjou chief, who fought alongside his cousin Crazy Horse at the Battle of Little Big Horn, was donated to the Rodeo 16 years ago by its sculptor, Dave McGary. Reports that the Rodeo was looking to offload the sculpture from its perch about 300 yards southeast of the Astrodome surfaced late last year, a few months after McGary died of liver cancer.


Art enthusiast and former Edmond mayor Randel Shadid explains to an Oklahoma news outlet the deal his city will be getting: The sculpture of the Great Plains chief alone, in its current “worn, but otherwise in good shape” condition, he says, is worth $150,000. Moving the statue to Edmond should cost $40,000 by Shadid’s estimate, and another $25,000 would pay for refurbishing it — which the operators of McGary’s sculpture studio in Ruidoso, New Mexico, have offered to do. Grand total: “Shadid estimates that the sculpture’s worth could jump to $400,000 to $500,000 if the faded patina on the sculpture is redone.” Edmond’s city council voted last year to pay up to $90,000 to buy and transport the 20,000-lb. bronze artwork, to a yet-to-be-determined municipal location. When it’s taken from Houston, likely in April, it’ll be extricated from its larger and heavier granite base.

Photo of Chief Touch the Clouds taken in January: EricEnfermero/Wikimedia Commons (license)

So Long, Chief

6 Comment

  • Oklahoma does love Indians. I’m glad the chief has found a new home where he’ll be appreciated.

  • So, in other words, Shadid is only interested in the piece because he’s looking to get a deal?

  • And yet another piece of significant artwork leaves Houston. While I do approve of the new location (let’s face it …. it will be in Indian country) it is a shame that Houston places little value on art much like it’s few remaining architectural treasures …. I am surprised they didn’t sell tickets to watch them bulldoze or blow the thing up. :/

  • I always thought this sculpture was so ugly, it just has a tacky cigar Indian about it. I appreciate the great art of Remington and Rissell, but this is just an awful piece of “Artwork”, it’s true Oklahoma was established as The Indian Homeland, but the state is the actually the buckle of the Bible Belt, the most conservative state in the union, Indians have very little way in the running of that state, get real.—good riddance, weird statue.

  • Shannon, those Oklahoma Indians are just as much a part of the Bible Belt as the rest of Oklahoma. I have real Indians in my family and, other than wanting treaties honored (something neither left nor right seem to have any interest in), they are as conservative as OK itself.

    Anyway, the statue is ugly as sin, but it will do well in the land of Cherokee Gothic.

  • Luckily it didn’t get crushed by falling helices (grammar?).