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Donalda plans statue of popular steer-wrestling horse Willy

Donalda’s world-famous steer-wrestling horse Willy will soon be recognized with a life-sized bronze statue in the village.

At the Calgary Stampede in July, champion cowboy Greg Cassidy announced that Willy, his family’s highly decorated steer wrestling horse, will retire later this year.

The 24-year-old brown gelding has carried bulldoggers to four world championships, six Canadian titles, an Olympic gold medal and more than $3 million in prize money.

“Willy’s hometown of Donalda is recognizing Willy’s remarkable contribution to the sport of steer wrestling with a bronze statue depicting him at work,” states a press release from Don Todd, Becky Clement and Forrest Hagen.

The “Willy Project,” led by energetic volunteers from the Donalda Community Arts Society will see the installment of a life-size bronze sculpture of a galloping Willy, carrying a leaning bulldogger about to grip the horns of a fleeing steer.

The proposed location for the sculpture is on the east side of Railway Avenue with the picturesque coulee providing a suitable backdrop for the artwork.

Planning for the project has been underway for more than a year and fundraising initiatives to help offset the costs of the project, currently budgeted at $200,000 have already begun.

They include the sale of a limited number of maquettes of the final statue design and a two-day poker rally on horseback on Thanksgiving weekend in Donalda.

Donalda Community Arts Society is seeking interested sponsors to join the fundraising campaign.

Donalda is well-known for its local attractions including the Worlds Largest Lamp, The Lamp Museum, restored creamery, the Donalda Gallery for the Arts and recently opened hiking trails through the coulee.

Future tourism projects, including the reinstallation of the rail line from Stettler in 2011, will help ensure that the artist and participating sponsors of the “Willy Project” are well recognized.

For more information on the project or fundraising and sponsorship opportunities contact:

Todd at 403-883-2294, Clement 403-883-2436 or Hagen at 780-860-1313