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Gene Cockrell's Dinosaur

Field review by the editors.

Canadian, Texas

In early 1992 Gene Cockrell (1927-2013) took $2,000 dollars worth of concrete and steel and built a dinosaur on a bluff outside his home town of Canadian, Texas. He did it, he said, so that local children heading up US Highway 83 would always know that they were almost home. He also wanted curious travelers to ask about it in town, then be directed to his house to see his yard art. He named the dinosaur "Aud" after Audrey, his wife since 1947.

Gene Cockrell and Audrey (1994).
Gene Cockrell and Audrey (1994).

Aud is 50 feet long, 17 feet tall, and weighs a ton. The road to the top of the bluff is gated, but Gene took us up for a few photos in 1994 (and we've stopped in the years since to snap pics from the highway). "Watch out for the rattlesnakes," he said. The view was impressive but we mostly eyed the weedy ground.

Gene told us that he painted Aud black and gold because those are the colors of Canadian's high school football team. "I don't especially like it, and nobody else does either. But when they say something to me, I say, 'Well, what color was dinosaurs?'"

For years Gene regularly visited Aud to give her a new coats of paint and patch her bullet holes. It was a labor of love, and the bluff could be an unforgiving place at times with Texas weather (and rattlesnakes).

"I tried to give the old gal to the city manager one time," Gene told us with a smile. "I said, 'It only costs about $40 to paint.' And he said, 'Ha ha, no you don't!' He didn't fall for it."

Gene Cockrell's Dinosaur

US Hwy 83, Canadian, TX
On a hilltop overlooking the northbound side of US Hwy 83. Five miles south of Canadian, or 45 miles north of I-40 exit 163 (Shamrock).
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Big Spur on a PoleBig Spur on a Pole, Canadian, TX - 4 mi.
Gene Cockrell's Yard ArtGene Cockrell's Yard Art, Canadian, TX - 5 mi.
Moon Astronaut StatueMoon Astronaut Statue, Wheeler, TX - 28 mi.
In the region:
Field of Rusting Classic Cars, Pampa, TX - 42 mi.

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