Winners at the Palomino World Championship Show (Tunica, MS, July 8-19, 2015) received a unique award – a Cowboy Bronze statue, custom created by artist Clay Gant. Each of his sculptures is created by first making a detailed clay sculpture, then a master mold. Clay does his own castings and the finished statues are resin pours coated with a pure bronze plating. They are mounted on solid walnut bases, and he sculpts a variety of breeds and color patterns all right here in the U.S.A.
Clay says 90% of his business is the equine awards he makes, but he also has a gift line and is experimenting with new techniques – Cowboy Crystals. Clay is a self-taught artist and has been creating these sculptures for 15 years. He shapes the horses out of clay with great attention to detail and body style, making sure his statues accurately represent the breeds (and colors) for which he is making them. His name reflects his goal to make sure that “any cowboy can afford us,” he said. His line also includes the Cowboy Bronze Collection with scenes from his Rusty Spur Ranch in the Ozarks.
“I saw a need and put things into place; this is a niche market,” and Clay has fulfilled the need. “Every winner who gets an award gets a Cowboy Bronze,” he emphasized. “A Cowboy Bronze has become the award to strive for. Others have tried to match us, but it has been with imports with less detail; and this is not what Cowboy Bronze is about.”
Clay’s career started with horse training and showing, which led him to develop the Cowboy Bronze line of awards. He does a lot of custom work, i.e., for the Palomino Show and the World Conformation Horse Association (WCHA), but his business is more far reaching than local horse shows; it’s international in scope. “We ship all over the world,” he said.
His home base is Sweetwater Ranch in Edwards, Missouri. It is in this rural area that Clay practices his other artistic vocation: shooting wildlife images with his Nikon camera. “I thought I knew how to hunt until I started shooting with a camera. Then I learned I knew virtually nothing about spotting wildlife. Most of my camera shots now are within bow shooting range. But I try to get closer and closer” to the subjects. He shoots images of eagles, deer, foxes, turkeys and other wildlife at his ranch.
See more of Clay’s creations on his website: www.cowboybronze.com
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