CASPER, Wyo. — A new statue now resides outside the industrial building at the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds. The piece of art is the result of the artistry of sculptor Chris Navarro and the initiative of longtime community member Helen Wolff, who commissioned the piece.
The statue, which celebrated its unveiling and dedication today, depicts a young girl cradling a sheep and standing in front of a horse. Entitled “6 Miles South,” the sculpture represents Wolff’s experience as a child in the 4-H program and later as an educator in the program.
Wolff taught in Natrona County from 1968 to 1995, focusing on home economics at the former East Junior High School. She commissioned the statue roughly a year ago, and she said seeing it finally installed was a humbling experience.
“It feels like I’ve made it,” she said with a wide smile. “I’ve done something my parents would be proud of — and my husband.”
Navarro first ironed out the design by building a miniature sculpture, he said. After that, he set about creating the final piece.
“With composition and design, it’s best to start small. After that, I was able to do the actual piece,” he said. “This is one-and-a-quarter life-sized.
“I’m very happy with how it turned out. It looks great, especially in front of the new awning the industrial building got.”
The girl in the sculpture is modeled after a current 4-H student in Natrona County, Audra Merrell.
“They had me stand on this big wooden, spinning platform,” she said.
While she spun, Navarro took photos from several angles to use as references later, mother Janet Merrell added. All the while, Audra Merrell held a stuffed animal to replicate the sheep in the final product.
“We didn’t even try to use a real [sheep],” Janet Merrell said with a laugh. “We wouldn’t have been able to get it to stay still.”
Mother and daughter agreed that it was an experience they won’t soon forget.
“Just to be part of something unique like that was an amazing experience,” Janet Merrell said.