Guarding the entrance to Westward Village RV Park.

Big Wes: Muffler Man Mutant

Field review by the editors.

Yuma, Arizona

Type: Cowboy (shorter than normal)

Arm position: Standard

Accessories: Rifle, Stetson Hat

Improvised Head

The fiberglass rifleman has stood his ground at the entrance to Westward Village RV Park since 1982. We classify this particular strain of Muffler Man as a Mutant because of his non-standard aspects, most notably his misshapen head. In the 1990s, he reminded us of the beneficiary of Civil War-era plastic surgery.

History

The statue began life as a standard Muffler Man Cowboy in 1966, hauled by trailer to various Phillips 66 gas stations around Dodge City, Kansas. In 1971 he was moved to Boot Hill, customized with a vest and a rifle, and christened "Big Matt." That lasted until 1975, when Big Matt was decapitated by a Kansas wind storm. The original owner of Yuma's Westward Village, Don Trigg, bought the headless figure at an auction in Dodge City in 1982. Trigg renamed the statue "Big Wes" and built it a puffy, makeshift head, even adding a motor inside so it would swivel (though this mechanism was never actually used in the Yuma display). The swivel engineering was probably responsible for the head's scrawny neck joint, and the hideous head got blotchier in the Arizona sun.

Restoration

Mutant head, 1990s.
Mutant head, 1990s.

Westward Village was purchased from Trigg in 1998, and In 2006 the new owners hired a local artist to restore Big Wes and give him a better head. In the shade of his hat, the rifleman's painted-on eyes and Michael Jackson nose and lips aren't as shocking now.

Big Wes: Muffler Man Mutant

Westward Village RV Park

Address:
3300 S. 8th Ave., Yuma, AZ
Directions:
At the entrance to the Westward Village RV Park. I-8 exit 2. West on US 95/16th St. for one mile. Left onto 4th Ave./Business 8 for a little over 1.5 miles, then turn right onto Catalina Drive, then left onto 8th Ave. The Muffler Man is a half-mile ahead, right side, just past 32nd St. and the Toys R Us.
Phone:
928-726-1417
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Territorial PrisonTerritorial Prison, Yuma, AZ - 4 mi.
Giant Diamond RingGiant Diamond Ring, Winterhaven, CA - 5 mi.
Official Center of the WorldOfficial Center of the World, Felicity, CA - 10 mi.
In the region:
Remains of the Imperial Dunes Plank Road, Winterhaven, CA - 17 mi.

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September 20, 2019

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