Unloved Astrodome Statue of Chief Crazy Horse’s Cousin Moving to Oklahoma

Statue of Chief Touch the Clouds by Dave McGary, Reliant Park, HoustonEven the art is getting out of Reliant Park: The bronze Miniconjou chief with outstretched arms that’s stood warily outside the Astrodome since 1998 will likely be skipping town soon and making its way to Oklahoma. The city council of the city of Edmond voted last week to spend up to $90,000 to remove the 18-ft. tall, 20,000-lb. sculpture of Chief Touch the Clouds from its stone base and transport it about 450 miles north; $50,000 of that amount is scheduled to go toward a “donation” to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for the privilege of extracting the artwork. Arizona sculptor Dave McGary, who gave the work to the Rodeo 15 years ago, passed away earlier this year at the age of 55, from a rare form of kidney cancer.

Former Edmond mayor Randel Shadid, who’s been eager to bring more public artworks to the municipality just north of Oklahoma City, tells the Edmond Sun that “a representative from Houston” had told him that the sculpture of a cousin of Sioux warrior Crazy Horse “has been maintained and is in good structural condition.” But the artist’s widow paints a different picture of how the sculpture’s been treated at Reliant Park: that it’s in bad shape and will need to be refurbished. “They never took care of it,” Molly McGary told a reporter from the Oklahoman last week. Edmond city council’s agreement to spend the money is contingent on the sculpture being in good condition.


The Oklahoma city was not the only suitor for the sculpture, which greets visitors arriving to Reliant Park from the adjacent light-rail station stands outside the Reliant Arena, facing the Naomi St. entrance to Reliant Park from Fannin St. Separate cost estimates had been made for moving the sculpture to Ruidosa, New Mexico, and to a museum in Atlanta. Not going with the sculpture: the granite-faced 15-ft.-tall base bearing the Rodeo organization’s logo, which the Oklahoma art enthusiast who’s spurring the purchase described to the Sun reporter as “too expensive for the city to purchase.”

Strangely, there’s been no news coverage of the sculpture’s impending exodus in its adopted hometown. Without referring to the Houston Sports and Convention Corp.’s plans for the Astrodomethe building’s surrounding towers are scheduled to be imploded this weekend — the Sun simply notes that “the sculpture needs to be relocated by February.

Photo: Randel Shadid via Edmond Sun

Rodeo Astrodome Sell-Off

16 Comment

  • I’d consider myself above average on knowledge of Reliant Park as a Texans season ticket holder and HLSR member….but I can’t for the life of me recall where on the Reliant Park property this statue is. From the link it looks like it’s near Reliant ARENA not the METRORail stop. Is it still there?

  • I was at a Texans game a couple of weeks ago and the statue is still there. It’s located in the Maroon Parking Lot by Reliant Arena.

  • It’s at the northeast corner of the Arena – somewhat closer to the Naomi gate than the METRORail stop. I don’t know how we’re going to give directions during the Rodeo – we often use the Big Indian as a reference point in a part of the grounds where there aren’t many.

  • Just goes to show what everyone knew–Oklahomans have zero taste. I’ve always loathed this hideous barnacle. It’s ugly beyond belief, picture’s don’t do it justice. I always hoped a motor home or 18 wheeler would plow it over. Honestly, I have no clue what this random Indian ever had to do with Houston.

  • What a mess of a story. The statue is not particularly near the Astrodome and it certainly is not in a location where it could be considered to “greet visitors arriving to Reliant Park from the adjacent light-rail station.” I have arrived to [sic] Reliant Park from the adjacent light-rail station many times and have not once caught a glimpse of this statue. Never knew it existed.

  • @Walker, Brian, mollusk, and Bill: Thanks. We’ve edited the story to identify the sculpture’s location correctly.

  • It’s hard to appreciate when it’s on the 10 ft. granite monolith (which is a self-serving pat on the back the to Rodeo officials.) It’s not about the statue it’s all about the committee.

  • Dave McGary was one one this countries premier artists and sculptor…I did many articles on he and his wife…they are a great team….saddens by Molly’s loss…Houston was a better place with the sculptor and heaven is a better place with Dave…..sad to see such negative comments on such a great piece of work….

  • Why would there be an interest in placing a statue in Texas, or Oklahoma, that represents a tribe from the Dakotas?

  • #9: Why this particular Indian I don’t know, but why the “interest in placing a statue in Texas, or Oklahoma, that represents a tribe from the Dakotas” – maybe ‘cuz what the Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne accomplished at Little Bighorn was a point of pride but also the last real threat the Indians as a whole presented to westward expansion, their victory being, in the view of historians and Western writers like McMurtry, a disaster in the sense that it pushed the government to pursue them relentlessly and finally?
    Or whatever, or not. Houston is in a Western state, but it always seemed to me that Texas was something to be discovered only upon leaving Houston.

  • “Strangely, there’s been no news coverage of the sculpture’s impending exodus in its adopted hometown”

    Most didn’t even know of the statue, let alone care for it. Or love it. In no disrespect to Chief Touch the Clouds, he didn’t have any connection with the Rodeo, the Astrodome, Houston and Texas. It’s a headscratcher that he was commissioned to be placed here. It’s great that a city is willing to give the Chief a more proper, caring home.

  • The HLSR wasted no time after the sculptors death to sale ‘ol “Touch the Clouds”. Greedy b@$t@rds.

  • @Blake
    It wouldn’t be the first time we glossed over / ignored moving an Indian to Oklahoma.

  • They should use this money to powerwash the astrodome.
    She needs a bath!!!

  • DNAguy- It’s not an Indian, it’s a statue. #Pffft

  • are they interested in a moldy dilapidated structure full of asbestos and rats? we’ll through the whole dome in for $10k if they agree to cart it off.