Mobridge has found a friend in John Lopez, an artist who lives in nearby Lemmon.
And Lopez has created another reason why tourists should continue to make their way to Mobridge: a stunning scrap metal sculpture.
With another one on its way.
Lopez helped his neighboring community of Mobridge recently dedicate his "Walleye Up" sculpture, which depicts a cowboy riding a walleye. The piece is near the walking path south of Main Street by the Missouri River.
It is breathtaking, especially in full sun when light is bouncing off the different types of scrap metal Lopez used to create the $45,000 piece.
And then with the river as a backdrop, and just the genius of a cowboy riding a broncing walleye like a rodeo horse or bull. It is pure South Dakota. A must see, just like Chamberlain's recently installed 50-foot, stainless steel "Dignity" statute, depicting a Native American woman draped in a star quilt.
Saws, different types of chains, cutting blades from farm equipment, wires, hooks, wheels and other metals compose the sculpture in Mobridge. Looking close up at the materials Lopez used in the 8-foot high piece of art is fascinating.
Not to mention captivating.
Just like "Dignity," Mobridge now has an instant South Dakota landmark. Something that really highlights what the community already had in its walleye fishing, cowboy heritage and friendly folks.
Mobridge will use Lopez again in creating a $50,000 Tiger for its school. The Mobridge-Pollock School uses the nickname Tigers for its athletic teams.
Lopez creates his three-dimensional sculptures from bronze cast pieces and found objects. He has history in Aberdeen, being a former Northern State student.
Lopez's animal forms give the impression of mechanical workings, gears and Industrial Revolution robotics — quintessential to the sub-genre art form that is steampunk.
"The steampunk community has really latched onto my style of work," said Lopez, whose art can be seen not only across South Dakota but the nation. "I call it hybrid metal art. Because there's parts I sculpt in clay and then cast in bronze."
We applaud the good folks of Mobridge for your forward thinking.
Aberdeen once talked about creating a sculpture walk using the talents of former resident and another world-famous artist in Ben Victor.
Aberdeen should follow Mobridge's lead.
Wouldn't it be great to have an Aberdeen sculpture park featuring works from Lopez, Victor and some of the many other talented artists from this area?
We think it would be a game-changer for a community like Aberdeen that highly values arts, tourists and uniqueness.