This touching memorial of a cowboy's devotion to his horse recaptures the story of Tom Blanchard, a drover from Roswell, New Mexico, and the events of the night of August 15, 1888.
Blanchard was riding a night watch due to the inexplicable nervousness of the cattle herd he was helping drive to the railway market when he heard a sound overhead like rolling thunder. He looked up to see what he later described as "a real big kind of servin' platter, only with lots of sparkly lights" hovering over him and his horse Rusty. Blanchard dismounted in awe, pausing only to slip his trusty Winchester .30-30 from the saddle scabbard. At that moment a portal opened in the middle of the mysterious craft and a beam of intense green light shot forth, enveloping both cowboy and horse.
Blanchard had the presence of mind to drop to the ground, then watched in horror as Rusty was slowly lifted by the beam towards the hovering object above them. The faithful cowboy clung to the harness in an attempt to prevent his steed from being taken, but to no avail. The frantic animal was drawn into the portal, which sealed immediately. The cowboy got off a couple of good shots before the craft sped away, but he said it was "like a popgun 'gainst a battleship."
The sculpture, apparently by an unknown local artist, was for a long time kept in the window of the Roswell Argus & Bugle, along with a framed copy of the newspaper story. Blanchard, shaken by the experience, took to drink and became a drifter, his ultimate fate unknown.
Acquired in part by a donation from an unknown benefactor in the name of the Area 51 Arts & Crafts Society.
"In Memoriam: 'Rusty' a Great Cow Pony"
Southwestern USA, 20th century
8 cm ~ Brass