Sculptor Gary Greff has a dream: turn the area around his hometown of
Regent, North Dakota, into a tourist destination. The retired school
teacher started honing his vision in 1992, when he erected a huge metal
sculpture of Teddy Roosevelt riding a bucking horse along State Highway 8
three miles north of the town. Then came the Tin Family, a covey of
pheasants — including a 60-foot-long rooster — and the world’s largest
grasshopper. Thanks to Greff’s skills, the section of Highway 8 that
runs between Interstate 94 and Regent has been officially designated by
the state as the Enchanted Highway.
In 1998, Greff added Geese in Flight along Interstate 94 east of
Dickinson (Exit 72). From the highway, it looks like a giant mobile
suspended on a hilltop; as you get closer, the 75-ton sculpture comes
into focus. Built of used oil-well pipes and oil tanks, the “sunray” (as
Greff calls the pipes that spread out 360 degrees) is 156 feet long and
110 feet tall; the largest goose has a 30-foot wingspan. In its 2004
edition, Guinness World Records called it the largest scrap-metal
sculpture in the world.
Greff has since added a sculpture of a giant deer (it
reportedly required two cranes to lift its 35,000-pound mass), with
plans in the works to create a sculpture of giant fish leaping from a
scrap-metal pond. Gary can be found most days working at one of his
sites near Regent — welding, sandblasting or painting.