A giant bull's head is just one of the many cartoon-like creatures welcoming tourists to the Porter Sculpture Park in Montrose, S.D.
Vultures that represent politicians and buzzards holding giant knives are just some of the over 40 creations that came from the inventive mind of Wayne Porter, a blacksmith who uses his appreciation of history to create metallic works of art at his establishment.
The cornerstone of Porter Sculpture Park is a 60-foot-tall bull's head that greats motorists driving along Interstate 90 heading to South Dakota's Black Hills, reported the Associated Press. Porter spent approximately three years creating the 25-ton bull's head which is mostly made out of railroad tie plates. Porter claims that this is most likely, the largest bull's head in the world.
If anyone builds one bigger, I'll know about it, Porter said, reported the AP. And if they did, they're crazy. I'm not going to argue with them.
The size of the piece is so amazing and welded to near perfection that Kelly Ludwig, a Kansas City graphic designer listed the park on an iPhone app she created called The Best Road Trip Ever!
It is amazingly impressive on its scale, Ludwig said, reported the Associated Press.
Porter is a metal sculptor who was born in 1959. He grew up in a small town in central South Dakota and began learning to weld from his father, who owned a blacksmith shop. According to his official biography, he made his first piece of art, a bronze metal horse, as the age of 12.
After attending South Dakota State University, he raised sheep for a few years, while creating metal sculptures in his spare time.
Two o'clock in the morning, people would just have a ball on it, he said.
Eventually, hordes of people began showing up interested in viewing Porter's creations.
I said, no, no, it's right on Main Street. You don't have to pay me, he said. They said we're paying you.
His brother helped him purchase land along Interstate 90 and opened his Porter Sculpture Park in 2000.
He works on his art in St. Lawrence in the same blacksmith shop where he learned to weld during the rest of the year, according to his official biography. His pieces are majestic, whimsical and thought provoking and readily display the influence of the South Dakota prairies that he grew up on reflect his quick wit, humor, and diverse interests. He lives with his Australian shepherd dog, Bambino.
Porter offers guided tours when he is available.
He hopes to continue building upon some of his most prominent sculptures. He created a skeletal fish holding an umbrella using actual pipes.
I want to pipe in water someday, Porter said, creating the effect of rain.
Porter even hopes to add a musical element his creations of several red monks that people often mistake to be grim reapers.
I love Gregorian chants, he said.
Porter said he unsure how many people visit his park each year, but he will keep creating, even if the people stop coming.
When I'm really busy I can't count them, he said, reported the Associated Press. And when I'm not busy it's not worth counting them.
Porter's next big project is a 40-foot-tall horse. It could take several years to complete.