Thirty years after the Bronco Buster statue dug its hooves into the north end of downtown’s Barney Allis Plaza, the 16-foot-tall cowboy atop a bucking horse may soon become more of a destination point.
New seating is planned for the site across from the downtown Marriott hotel under a proposal that the City Council is expected to approve Thursday.
Some $250,000 will be spent on benches, tables and other improvements, where now there are only scattered picnic tables. The money is coming from a trust fund administered by the city. Friends of the late Dutton Brookfield, a two-time mayoral candidate, established the trust for the upkeep of the statue, which was erected in 1985.
Even after the upgrades are paid for, there will be more than enough money left in the trust to maintain the statue, Councilman Scott Taylor said.
The sculpture has a controversial history. At the time it was installed, art critics denounced it as unimaginative. They said it was not so much a representation of Western artist Frederic Remington’s original, as supporters claimed, but an outright reproduction of the 2-foot-tall first casting that sits in the Oval Office at the White House.
Supporters claimed that the opponents were merely being snobs.
That argument isn’t heard much now. But those who would reignite the fight, or simply want a place to rest while taking in the view, are likely to find a more comfortable place to do so later this year, Taylor told the city finance committee Wednesday.