Cowboy artist Joe Beeler has created hundreds of statues depicting Western characters and scenes. None, however, have been as challenging as his current depiction of U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater.
"I want to do a good job for Barry and his family," said Beeler, who was commissioned by Paradise Valley to create a 10-foot statue memorializing one of its most influential residents.
"This has been a challenge. I want everyone to be proud of it."
The bronze statue will be the centerpiece of a 1-acre memorial park being constructed on the northeast corner of Lincoln Drive and Tatum Boulevard.
Beeler will be working on the statue during an open house from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in Prescott Valley at the Bronzesmith Foundry, 7331 E. Second St. Admission is free.
On Saturday, attendees can tour the foundry, see demonstrations and preview the clay sculpture that eventually will be used to make the mold for the bronze statue.
Joanne Goldwater, the senator’s eldest daughter, plans to attend the open house along with several Paradise Valley officials.
"What they are doing is going to be a lovely tribute to him," said Joanne Goldwater of Scottsdale. "I hope a lot of people will have a chance to view the statue and park.
"It is going to be very lovely."
The statue will depict Goldwater wearing Levi’s jeans, boots and other traditional Western wear, with a camera slung over his shoulder and a cowboy hat in hand.
"I showed him as a Westerner rather than just a politician," said Beeler, a longtime friend of the late senator.
"He is dressed like he is getting ready to go to the Grand Canyon or the Navajo Reservation. He loved northern Arizona."
Beeler began working on the project six months ago and expects to have the final version completed by early February.
"I don’t have Barry here, unfortunately, to pose for this, so I’ve had to go from memory, photographs and input from people who knew him," he said.
Barry Goldwater moved to Paradise Valley in 1957 where he built a home made of native materials in the shape of an arrowhead.
He named it "Be-nun-ikin," which is Navajo for "house on top of a hill."
He died in 1989 and the home was sold and remodeled through an agreement with the town that allowed the buyer to tear down the walls and raise the roofline.
If you go
What: Barry Goldwater statue open house
Where: 7331 E. Second St., Prescott Valley
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
Info: (928) 772-2378