It’s no secret that we love our Broncos out here in Colorado. To show our love, there are several art installments around town honoring the symbol of our beloved football team and our western roots.
The most recognizable piece of art is “Bucky”. He crowns the south scoreboard at Sport’s Authority Field at Mile High, Mile High to most locals. He’s a 27 feet, 1600 pound replica of Roy Rogers’ horse Trigger. Bucky is white instead of Trigger’s palomino markings to match the team logo.
Also, on the south side of the stadium is an installment titled “The Broncos”. Designed by sculptor Sergio Benvenuti and a gift to the people of Colorado from Bronco’s owner Pat Bowlen, it is one of my favorites. Slightly larger than real-life horses, it features five broncos, one mare, and one colt running up a water feature that resembles a fast moving Rocky Mountain stream. The band of horses is seemingly headed right into the stadium.
As the gateway for many travelers to Colorado, Denver International Airport officially entered the bronco sculpture crowd in 2008. This installment’s story is where things get a little dark. The official name of the piece is “Blue Mustang”, but most locals call him by a plethora of other names. Blucifer; DIAblo; Devil Horse; Death Horse, just to name a few. Whatever you call him, he is 32 feet and 9,000 pounds of electric blue fiberglass weirdness. Right down to the glowing red eyes and anatomical correctness of genitals and where we get manure.
New Mexico artist Luis Jiminez was commissioned in 1992 to create the artwork. Health problems kept him from meeting deadlines, and the city filed a lawsuit against him in 2003. Perhaps it was fate warning him to abandon the project and give back the money, but he persevered.
Jump ahead to 2006 and the artist is still struggling to finish the $300,000 commissioned piece. In a push to finish it, he was alone in his studio using a rope to hoist a section of the massive sculpture for welding. The hoist broke, and the piece fell on him severing an artery in his leg, killing him. His family finished the work, and the sculpture was installed in February of 2008. However, the tragedy has caused many to claim the horse is haunted or cursed. Some have attributed the sculpture to the horses of the apocalypse mentioned in the book of Revelation ushering in the end of days.
When it was first installed many people were not happy and wanted the piece removed, but he still sits on Pena Boulevard. Depending on if you are coming or leaving the airport, he is the first or last thing you will see.
That’s some spooky stuff. There are many weird tales about Denver International Airport, and I agree that most of the artworks are bizarre and pretty scary for an airport, and conspiracy theories abound.
I like Blucifer. He’s weird, fierce, and haunted, some of my favorite things. The glowing red eyes can seem over the top until you find out that it’s a tribute to Jiminez’s father who was a neon artist. But still. “Blue Mustang” is a killer, and maybe there is a reason he’s placed where you can’t get up close and personal. Maybe there is more to DIA than they are telling us!
Here’s hoping the only thing Blucifer curses is our opponent this Sunday. Go Broncos and Never Turn off the Lights!