Iconic sculpture finds its home at CSU stadium

Rocky Mountain Rumble, the magnificent bronze sculpture created by the late Dawn Weimer, Friday was lowered onto its two pedestals, where it will greet fans entering Colorado State University’s on-campus stadium.

The massive statue, measuring 21 feet long, 7 feet high and weighing 2,000 pounds, depicts two Rocky Mountain bighorn rams doing battle. It is a fitting image for the stadium, where the Rams will compete starting Aug. 26 when they host Oregon State.

“It’s been a long process, but it really looks great,” said Doug Max, CSU’s senior associate athletic director for facilities. “A lot of schools have their mascots and other figures in bronze outside their stadiums, but there’s nothing like this. This will be iconic.”

Long journey home

The sculpture originally was to be installed at Hughes Stadium, but when plans were unveiled in 2015 to build an on-campus stadium, it was decided to postpone installation until the new stadium was ready.

The striking piece will be set in an area near the north entrance. It will be landscaped to mimic a spot in the nearby Rocky Mountains, where scenes of bighorn rams doing battle play out every autumn.

The massive work was Weimer’s final creation before her advanced Alzheimer’s disease made work all but impossible. Weimer died in February at age 73.

She initiated the process in 2003, molding a 41-inch version of the piece, which features two rams – The Old Man and Challenger – locked in battle. From its inception to the long-anticipated installation Friday, Rocky Mountain Rumble was a 14-year labor of love.

Bittersweet day

Her husband, Tom, was at the ceremony. He called the installation “bittersweet” but knew he had to be present on a warm June afternoon.

“It’s a special day but I’m also a little sad because Dawn wasn’t here to see this,” Tom Weimer said. “It’s such a beautiful piece, and it took a great deal of effort – and her God-given talent – to finish the project.”

During her rather brief sculpting career – she had been a painter before discovering her love for sculpting in bronze – Weimer created 120 pieces. Examples of her work are spread across the country but primarily Loveland, where she lived and worked, and Fort Collins.

CSU home to first and last works

At CSU, her “Ram Proud” bighorn – a 12-foot bronze that has become a campus landmark – stands near Moby Arena. Her “Annie the Railroad Dog” – a tribute to a legendary Fort Collins pooch – stands at the Old Town Library.

Tom Weimer (BS Business Administration ’66) couldn’t help but note that his late wife’s first large bronze creation, Ram Proud, and her last, Rocky Mountain Rumble, are both displayed on the CSU campus.

“It’s fitting,” Tom said.