Bronze reenactment of land run takes shape

Monday, October 3rd 2005, 12:55 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A dramatic bronze reenactment of Oklahoma's 1889 Land Run took shape Monday with the dedication of seven more statues as part of huge monument in downtown Oklahoma City.

The larger-than-life-size monument will be longer than a football field and will be one of the longest structures of its kind in the world. It is being built as part of the state's 2007 centennial celebration.

``Oklahoma City is a great tourism and convention location and the Land Run Monument is our answer to many well-known attractions, such as the St. Louis Gateway Arch,'' said Lee Allen Smith, chairman of the Oklahoma Centennial Commission.

Gov. Brad Henry and U.S. Rep. Earnest Istook, R-Okla., were among those praising the seven newest statutes dedicated on Monday. They were sculpted by Paul Moore of Norman and included three horses and riders, a wagon drawn by two horses and a cannon.

All the statutes depict Land Run events of April 22, 1889.

The dedication came just two hours before Istook was to formally announce he would run for governor, but neither he nor Henry mentioned the pending campaign. Henry, a Democrat, has said he will seek a second four-year term.

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, a Republican, sat between the two men at the monument site along a canal that snakes through the Bricktown area of downtown Oklahoma City.

Cornett praised Henry for his help persuading the New Orleans Hornets to play most of their home games in Oklahoma after the Hornets left homeless by Hurricane Katrina.

The mayor applauded Istook for securing federal funds for Oklahoma projects and also said the country's ``moral fiber was better off'' because of his stay in Congress.

Blake Wade, executive director of the Centennial Commission, said the monument ``recreates the great spirit and determination of Oklahoma's early settlers, many of whom overcame obstacles of epic proportions to create a new life and a new state. This spirit lives on today as Oklahomans continue to carve a promising future in so many ways.''