Western Sculptures by Fritz White
Yokin' Up

12.5" high x 6" x 4"

Mention a pioneer wagon train and the image that comes to mind is that of a horse-drawn wagon. But, pioneers who wanted to improve their odds of completing the journey with all their possessions intact powered their wagons with oxen. As best, ox power was about sixty percent as fast as horse power. But oxen made the entire trip. Horses died along the way and fared poorly in the mountains.

I have had many ideas for pieces involving oxen. Yokin' Up is the first. It is early morning and the train is moving on. This pioneer has brought his teams together and is preparing to yoke each pair. I wanted to show a conservation man in support of the oxen's stability. The costume and the cleanliness of the man are conservative even for 1970. The flat-brimmed hat, square-cut chin whiskers, trim vest and trousers reveal a solid, successful midwest farmer of the time.

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