Scary Giant Cowboy Statue
On every carefully planned road trip, the Roadside Team invariably ends up facing one day packed near-to-bursting with impossible attractions and miles that must be covered.
At the height of summer, daylight can hang on beyond 9 pm, illuminating just one more vital attraction or monument. So, perhaps, we pencil in a few too many stops, one too many 80-mile detours, and too much long, featureless driving.
One August, that sequence happened on Trip Day 5, which began in Carlsbad, NM and ended about 1:30 am three states away. Was it a mistake descending 700 feet in an elevator in Carlsbad Caverns, or backtracking through the mountains to pinpoint the Flying Paperboy of the Guadalupes? Was the detour to the Miracle Tortilla worth it? Was it smart to linger in Roswell to find every alien photo op?
We think so, as you'll read in our reports. One unexpected reward along the tail end of Day 5 -- this hitherto undocumented "Big Tex" statue, which loomed out of the blackness as we sped through the Panhandle crossroads of Conlen, Texas. One of us revived from a bleary stupor in the co-pilot chair and stuttered "s-s-s-statue.... STATUE!!"
Or did we dream it?
No, we did not. In the light of day, the cowboy is less terrifying, but still weirdly distorted. He's about 20 ft. tall, with a supporting back-brace to keep him from crashing over in high winds.
It's the most bow-legged giant cowboy that we've seen.
The cowboy's origins: he dates at least back to the 1950s, when he was the bow-legged entryway into the Cowboy Cafe in Dalhart, Texas, which promoted a "free museum" along with a souvenir shop.