Roadrunner sculpture.

Recycled Roadrunner

Field review by the editors.

Las Cruces, New Mexico

The giant recycled roadrunner -- 20 feet tall and 40 feet long -- has been an icon of Las Cruces ever since artist Olin Calk built it in 1993. Back then it stood at the city landfill, and was made exclusively of items salvaged from it: Olin's way to call attention to what he called, "consumption, recycling, and just looking at stuff we throw away."

In early 2001, Olin stripped off the old junk, replaced it with new junk, and moved the roadrunner to a rest stop along Interstate 10, just west of the city. The roadrunner could be seen for miles, and gained a wide new audience of fans. Signs around the sculpture warned of rattlesnakes, but when we stopped by to visit people were blissfully trudging out to the big bird anyway, to pose for snapshots or examine the junk (We did, too).

Roadrunner sculpture.

By 2011 the Roadrunner had deteriorated, partly from the elements, partly from grabby visitors. Olin stripped it down and brought it back to his house. It sat there for three years, waiting for the city to decide its fate. Cool heads prevailed, and the Roadrunner was returned to the rest stop in June 2014. By then the landfill had closed, so Olin re-feathered it using thrift store rejects and scrap metal salvaged from the Las Cruces recycling center. It now has eyes made from Volkswagen headlights.

The roadrunner is now also perched atop a fake rock, which Olin hopes will discourage souvenir-hunters and the occasional idiots who in the past would "ride" the roadrunner. As far as we know the rattlesnakes are still there, too, so watch out.

Recycled Roadrunner

Address:
I-10, Las Cruces, NM
Directions:
In a rest area on the south side of I-10, just west of Las Cruces and just east of the Picacho Ave. exit, between mileposts 134 and 135. Only accessible from the eastbound lanes.
Admission:
Free
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Stabbed Lovers Haunted RestaurantStabbed Lovers Haunted Restaurant, Mesilla, NM - 4 mi.
Billy the Kid Gift ShopBilly the Kid Gift Shop, Mesilla, NM - 4 mi.
World's Largest Chile PepperWorld's Largest Chile Pepper, Las Cruces, NM - 4 mi.
In the region:
RV Muffler Man, Hatch, NM - 32 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in New Mexico

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in New Mexico.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use RoadsideAmerica.com's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

February 24, 2018

My Sights

My Sights

Create and Save Your Own Crazy Road Trip!

Try My Sights

Roadside America app
Roadside Presidents app

New Mexico Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Corbin, Kentucky (Feb 19-25, 2018)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

Sightings. Arrives without warning. Leaves no burn marks. A free newsletter from RoadsideAmerica.com. Subscribe now!
RoadsideAmerica.com Hotel & Motel Finder

Special online rates for hotels & motels.

Book Online Now

 

Favorite Quirky City Sights