Sunday event was perfect 'coincidence'

Monday, December 2, 2002

Talk about good timing! It doesn't get any better than it did Sunday afternoon when the McCook Bison's state championship victory celebration coincided perfectly with the unveiling of Gary Ginther's majestic "Prairie Bull" sculpture.

On a beautiful autumn afternoon, hundreds of Bison fans joined players and coaches for a triumphant march up Norris Avenue. The proud, upbeat stream of red -- including red jerseys, red firetrucks, red convertibles and, even, a red light -- culminated at Norris Park, where players helped the sculptor, Gary Ginther, unveil the marvelous "Prairie Bull."

Conceived as a tribute to the heritage of the McCook area, the life-size and life-like Bison sculpture was originally intended to be introduced during McCook's Bison 2000 Reunion.

But a series of hitches -- including the artist's illness and fund-raising challenges -- held off completion until this year.

As it turned out, the delay proved fateful. While Ginther was putting the finishing touches on the symbolic work of art, the Bison football team was rolling to victory over 13 consecutive opponents, carving a name for the Bison as one of the most dominating teams in Nebraska Class B history.

An impressive championship display will be created at the high school, reminding students, staff members and visitors about the magical and magnificent Bison football season of 2002.

And-- as an added remembrance -- the community at large will see the Prairie Bull at Norris and E. The bronze sculpture will be placed on a pedestal erected on front lawn of the historic Carnegie Library building.

Called "Tatanka" for the Indian word meaning buffalo, the stately sculpture is modeled after a bull bison in the Lyle Hutchins herd near Wilsonville. The campaign to build the bull began four years ago when McCook alumni and the Bison 2000 Committee joined the High Plains Museum to finance the impressive Bison symbol.

The Prairie Bull is seven feet long, four feet wide, slightly over four and a half feet tall and weighs 850 pounds.

For years and years to come, the reclining buffalo bull will transport McCook citizens and visitors back to those days in the mid-1800s when bison reigned supreme on the Great Plains.

And, as a wonderfully appropriate bonus, the Prairie Bull will be a reminder to all of the McCook Bison's fantastic football season of 2002.

For McCook football fans, it doesn't get any better than this. Sunday's ceremony was an exquisite ending to an incredible season.

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