Local dinosaur sculpture headed to Ripley’s museum

Artist Rick Kawchack helps transport his aluminum Styracosaurus sculpture.
Ashley Dishman/Craig Press

On Monday morning, a 2,035-pound dinosaur departed Craig on a flatbed trailer migrating south.

The aluminum sculpture by local artist Rick Kawchack has found a new home with Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! at its museum in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Kawchack completed the massive piece in 2013 after two years and 2,000 hours of work. The life-size likeness was his first venture into creating large-scale art. Constructed from aluminum sheeting, the piece features almost 2 million spot welds on its exterior surface.

Originally intended for a museum in Salt Lake City, the 7-foot-tall Styracosaurus instead took up residence in Craig.

Over the years, many Moffat County residents and visitors have enjoyed the sculpture. Kawchack has previously featured it at local events, including parades and Whittle the Wood.

And now many more people will get the chance to view Kawchack’s work.

Once the sculpture arrives at the Ripley’s museum in Texas, it will be on display in an art garden along with other large-scale pieces from various artists. The art garden is a free attraction that is open to the public, so Kawchack’s work should get plenty of views.

Ripley Entertainment Director John Corcoran shared that while other dinosaur-themed art will be on display in the garden, Kawchack’s dinosaur is definitely unique. Corcoran noted his admiration for “the way that different people (conceptualize) art” and added that Kawchack’s piece is a perfect fit for the museum.

“There wouldn’t be a Ripley’s without people like Rick,” Corcoran said.

For his part, Kawchack is already brainstorming for his next big project. He currently is working on a smaller Tapanuli orangutan sculpture that incorporates scrap copper he has collected over the years.

He’s also preparing to begin work on his next large-scale passion piece. He plans to construct another dinosaur and has his choices narrowed down to three potential species. Once decided, he’ll work on both his smaller and larger pieces simultaneously, with hopes of completing both within the next two years.

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