Son of statue builder buried under Earl Bunyan
Jene LaRocque, son of "Earl Bunyan" statue builder Fred LaRocque, was granted a longstanding wish to be buried under Earl, in New Town, North Dakota. Jene, 83, died in a Montana nursing home in late September; he was cremated, shipped, and interred in New Town in a ceremony attended by family, friends, and an American Legion color guard.
Earl is supposed to be the brother of forest gobbler Paul Bunyan.
"Cowboy of the Plains," reads the simulated wood slab that stands at Earl Bunyan's feet. "Dreamed up by Fred and Berd LaRocque, 1958." Both passed away in the 1960s. The spelling may have been "Bunyon" for a time, but that seems to have been remedied when the statue underwent a restoration in the 1990s. Earl is not beefy -- he's about 19 feet tall and thin -- a stringbean with a moustache. He stands atop a pile of rocks, wears a cowboy hat, boots, and tight-fitting jeans.[10/05/2003]