Dodge City, Kansas: Dennis Hopper's Muffler Men (In Transition)

Dennis Hopper owned two Muffler Men, which he customized into La Salsa Man and Mobil Man. His estate gave the giants to Hopper's birthplace of Dodge City, which displayed them indoors -- for a year. La Salsa Man reappeared elsewhere in town in 2016.
Directions:
Formerly inside the Western State Bank Expo Center. Mobile Man stored in an undisclosed location. La Salsa Man deployed elsewhere.
Hours:
Removed from public view July 2014.
Admission:
Free
Status:
In Transition

Dodge City, Kansas - Muffler Men: American Giants Ep. 10
Muffler Men: American Giants Ep. 10: A pair of Muffler Men created for Dennis Hopper's traveling art show in 2000 have embarked on a new life as Dodge City landmarks. Watch Video.

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Salsa Muffler Man.

Dennis Hopper's Muffler Men

The late Dennis Hopper was an artist as well as a movie star. For the first ten years of his life he lived in Dodge City, Kansas; his adult relationship with his birthplace was rocky.

So Dodge City isn't quite sure what to do with a gift bequeathed to it from the Dennis Hopper Art Trust: two Muffler Men customized by Hopper into "La Salsa Man" -- a caricatured Mexican -- and "Mobil Man" -- a gas station attendant. The county commission unanimously voted to put the statues in Dodge City's new expo center.

The city commission unanimously voted against it, but that's where they were unveiled on May 21, 2013. A letter from the administrator of the Dennis Hopper Art Trust describes the statues as, "large, impactful, and a defiant blend of Californian and Southwestern culture mixed with Hollywood grandeur."

They don't really fit with the expo center's usual displays of tractors and irrigation pumps, so Dodge City wants, eventually, to move them to an outdoor park near its Boot Hill Museum. But there could be problems with that as well; these unique Muffler Men are technically works of art by a famous person; La Salsa Man was once exhibited in Paris. Sticking them outdoors in Dodge City might not be in their best interests.

As Dodge City vice-mayor Brian Delzeit explained to us, "We get high winds, hail, ice, and snow. It will be interesting to see how the fellows stand up to our weather." Brian also mentioned that the Boot Hill Museum, years ago, had its own Muffler Man -- a cowboy named Big Matt -- but he's gone now.

Brian didn't go into details, but we know why the cowboy left town -- he was frequently decapitated by the Kansas wind, and eventually moved to Yuma, Arizona, with an entirely new (and strange) head.

[RoadsideAmerica.com Team, 05/24/2013]

The La Salsa Muffer Man reappeared on public display in 2016.

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