Now that Dodge City’s newest statue has a location, it’s time to celebrate.

The life-sized bronze statue of James Arness as Marshal Matt Dillon will be placed on the southeast corner of the Dodge City Visitors Center near Third Street and Wyatt Earp Boulevard. The statue joins life-sized statues of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday along with El Capitan the longhorn steer, along Wyatt Earp Boulevard.

The statue was crafted by artist Tony Cipriano.

"Tony is our third artist," said Jim Johnson, president of the Trail of Fame board back in March when the Arness statue miniatures were announced for sale to pay for the life-sized version. "Mary Spurgeon did Wyatt Earp and Jan (Zoble) did Doc, so this is our third artist.

"Marshall Dillon is terrific. The artist did a great job of capturing his character."

The Dodge City Trail of Fame recently announced the statue’s unveiling will be at 3 p.m., Sunday, July 30. A dedication banquet will follow in the El Vaquero dining room at the restored Santa Fe Depot.

Banquet reservations are limited to 70 seats and will be on a first come, first served basis. Reservations will close as of Monday, July 24.

Guests and speakers include Janet Arness and several of the Arness grandchildren, James Surtees, Ginny Fazer (Arness' agent and publicist), Ben Costello, Ben Bates (Arness' stunt double) and Cipriano.

There will be a "meet and greet" in the Depot lobby with doors opening at 6 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7. A menu will soon be posted on the Dodge City Trail of Fame website at www.DodgeCityTrailofFame.org when it is confirmed.

Future statues may be a buffalo and Bat Masterson.

"The buffalo is because the community was first called Buffalo City," Johnson said. "It was renamed Dodge City after Fort Dodge.

"Bat has a large history here in Dodge City and he needs to be another statue. I’m retired and these take a lot of time so I'm not sure I'll be still here to see a statue of Bat make it."

Support for this event and the bronze sculpture is courtesy of the City of Dodge City and the Dodge City Convention and Visitors Bureau, J.A.G. Construction, The Dodge City Trail of Fame, The Mariah Fund, The Community Foundation of Southwest Kansas and other donors from Dodge City and elsewhere.

Tickets for the banquet are $30 per seat. Reservations can be made by calling 620-561-1925 or by email to mattstatue@gmail.com. A cash bar will be available. Payment can be made via PayPal (to: bmwwxman@gmail.com) in advance, with check, or with cash on check in. Walk-ins are not possible due to the catering planning. Reservations will be confirmed. No credit cards can be accepted.

 

To contact this writer email rbluhm@dodgeglobe.com.