What’s The Deal With San Angelo’s Sheep Statues?
I admit it. I'm new to San Angelo. I love the town so far, but I must admit when I first got here and started looking around, I was confused. While many cities have statues of war heroes and other local dignitaries, here in San Angelo, the only statues I could find were of sheep.
In fact, there are over 100 sheep statues, each unique in their own way. The newest one went up at the Railway Museum on Saturday. SanAngeLoki sits proudly in front of the museum. This sculpture is sponsored by Sterling City Mayor, Lane Horwood and was created by artist Shaydee Watson.
Sheep are noble animals. They figure prominently throughout history. Even so, surely, all of San Angelo's statue worthy heroes aren't sheep, or are they?
Sheep played a valuable role in the development of San Angelo. In fact, San Angelo "ewes"-d to be called the "Wool Capital of the World". At one time, the area produced more than one million pounds of wool annually. Not anymore, though. A post 2011 cycle of drought has caused a steep decline in sheep and now average annual yields are about half what they were at their peak of about 500,000 pounds annually. That's still a lot of wool.
The story of how we got the sheep walk of fame is really quite incredible.
If you ask locals you'll get differing stories. The real story goes like this. In 2007, Downtown San Angelo Inc. decided tha ta parade of fiberglass sheep statues was a lot more exciting than trying to re-organize the "Miss Wool Of Texas Pageant" which had been a San Angelo staple from 1952-1972. Maybe the "Miss Pull the Wool over Their Eyes Pageant" would have been an interesting concept, but I digress.
Now, there are more than 100 sheep on the sheep statue parade.
To get their very own sheep, sponsors choose their own artist from a list approved by Downtown San Angelo Inc. and have to pay $1600 plus the artist fee. Designs must be approved. The messages must be "friendly" and meet community standards.
If you ever want to see all the sheep, you can go to Downtown San Angelo, Inc.'s website and download the gallery and then follow the Google map directions. Plan to make a day of it, because there are now over 100. They are all worth the effort.