Red Dirt Diaries: Monument Work Brings Monumental Struggles
NORMAN, Oklahoma - Few may not know Oklahoma City's Land Run Monument at the end of the Bricktown Canal isn’t actually finished.
Right now, 45 bronze larger than life statues pay tribute to the 1889 land run of Oklahoma Territory.
Norman sculptor Paul Moore started the project in 1999. He works on the pieces that can be 12-14 feet tall inside his Norman studio with his two sons.
“Creating is already the fun part about it,” says Moore.
The work requires leaning over and constantly molding, cutting and shaving each character.
“What we do all day long,” adds Moore.
Paul, Ryan and Todd Moore are currently working on the monument’s 46th piece. The 47th and final piece should be completed by next year and the project will be complete.
But after 20 years, the monument has taken its toll on the health of the Moore family.
“It’s destroyed us physically,” says Paul, who is about to have his fifth back surgery since starting the project.
His youngest son Todd has already had 5 surgeries and Ryan has had a neck fusion.
“Some people think it’s romantic doing what we do. It’s just work,” says Moore, who is in constant pain.
Paul worked 16 hours at the start of the Land Run project, now he hopes to get 5 hours in between ice pack breaks.
“The biggest problem I had was growing old. I never thought of that,” adds Moore.
“For our family it’s really the story of our lives for the last 20 years, the struggles we went through to make it happen. Normal people won’t see that,” says Moore.
Despite the health struggles the Moore family expects to have the Land Run Monument done a year earlier than expected.