Fraser River Days will feature dedication of ‘Ike Fishin’ the Fraser’ statue
The $60,000 Ike Fishin in the Fraser River bronze statue is set for its debut Aug. 9 during the Fraser River Days event.The statue will include an elaborate flowing waterfall, said Fraser Town Manager Jeffrey Durbin.The town committed $5,000 Wednesday to help fund some of the site work. Durbin said Fraser originally seeded $2,500 for the initiative.This is a good project, Durbin said. Eisenhower was a neat part of our local history.The sculpture displays former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Valleys most famous visitor, in his fly fishing attire. During the Eisenhower administration, Fraser became known as the Western Whitehouse. The sculpture will be installed along the banks of the Fraser River where Ike used to fish. It will stand adjacent to the Lions Fishing Ponds, near Safeway, in the Cozens Ranch Open Space.Sculptures give communities an identify, said Artist Howard Nevill, who sculpted and cast the 9-foot-tall bronze statute.Eisenhower was 5 feet, 10 inches tall. Things larger than life-size take a while, he said.He said that there are already three sculptures of Eisenhower in his military garb, but this will be the first of him in his recreational garb. Many politicians are expected to be at the dedication, he said. Even though Ike is hollow, he still weighs 900 pounds. A crane will have to haul and deliver him. The former president will be covered with a parachute until the dedication, Nevill added.Its going to be a big deal for Fraser, he added. Its turning out to be a big thing. Theres a lot of people coming from Denver as well as all over. He said a miniature sculpture also will be dedicated to the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kan., where Ike grew up.Nevill said it was a complicated project. The artist visited the library to pick photos of Eisenhower to use before the molding. They brought me in and gave me some white gloves to wear, Nevill said. He went through several piles of pictures and library employees made copies for him. He started his work on the statue at the Grand Mountain Bank in Fraser so people could watch the sculpture take shape. He used up to 400 pounds of clay. The clay image was completed after a year. Nevill then cut the statue into pieces and brought it back to his studio. There, he covered the statue with a rubber mold and wax, so the foundry could cover it in ceramic and melt the wax to create a hollow cavity. Workers then poured bronze into the empty area, and Nevill welded the bronze pieces back together. Once things are cast in bronze, theres not much thats going to hurt it, Nevill said. Its the toughest most resilient metal in the world. Bronze is forever. Its become a semi-precious metal.We live in just a generic, throw-away Wal-Mart world. Nobody sees things made of quality anymore. The Lions Club led in fundraising for the sculpture.The Lions have been a great partner, Durbin said.The Winter Park & The Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Grand County Historical Association, The Rotary Club of Winter Park and the Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited also contributed.
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Local commercial rafting companies remain unsure if or for how long they’ll be able to guide trips this summer down the traditional 6-mile portion of the Blue River north of Silverthorne.