“Sculpting Souls,” Ensign, Dec. 1993, 55
A fifteen-foot sculpture of a bucking horse with a rider astride, uniquely done in pure white concrete, greets every visitor on Interstate 84 as they enter Pendleton, Oregon. Entitled Let ‘Er Buck, this sculpture was inspired by the original logo of the Pendleton Round-Up Rodeo. Now more than a logo, this sculpture represents the good that can come when people work together; it was constructed by twelve inmates within the prison walls of the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institute in Pendleton.
The man responsible for the project is Michael Booth, a full-time art instructor at Blue Mountain College. “Prisoners who qualify to work in our art classes experience the pride of accomplishment,” says Michael, a member of the Pendleton Second Ward, Walla Walla Washington Stake. “It builds self-respect, a much-needed commodity here.”
Michael’s artwork has consistently won state, regional, and national art awards. His most recent work is Wagons Ho, a sculpture commemorating the sesquicentennial of the Oregon Trail. It has been installed at an Oregon Trail kiosk (shelter) at the Umatilla County Historical Museum.
Michael and wife, Anita, are the parents of six children.—Anita Booth, Pendleton, Oregon