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Two-story space cowboy to be erected along Route 66

December 17, 2018

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A new lofty landmark is on its way to Route 66.

Mary Beth Babcock, owner of Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios, plans to erect a 20-foot space cowboy outside her gift shop.

The store’s mascot, “Buck,” will be an example of a Muffler Man, one of the large Fiberglas advertising icons that came to symbolize the Mother Road during its heyday.

“I’ve always just loved Route 66, and the roadside attractions are the main things the people get excited about while traveling the route,” Babcock told the Tulsa World .

The project originated after Babcock watched an online presentation by Joel Baker, a Coloradan who has tracked down and restored about 150 of the Muffler Men over the years.

“I just got the bug,” she said. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh. What if we could build a roadside attraction here at Buck’s?’ I just fell in love with the idea of it.”

After Baker concluded it was best for Babcock to build her own behemoth, she reached out to Enchanted Castle Studios’ Mark Cline, who has constructed about 15 of the bigger-than-life figures. To underwrite Cline’s building of Buck, Babcock set up a gofundme.com page geared to raise at least $25,000. More than $13,000 has been contributed.

The money will go toward Buck’s construction, the cost of transporting him to Tulsa from Natural Bridge, Virginia, and setting him up along the Mother Road. Keri Fothergill, a city staffer Babcock knew from her days at Oklahoma State University, helped her through the permitting process.

“This was the cool thing,” Babcock said. “The city wants to see stuff like this. So they were like, ‘We want to see how to make this happen.’”

Buck will be set up around April. Local artist Chris Wollard is building the rocket the space cowboy will be holding.

Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios opened in June and celebrates the Mother Road with themed items such as books, shirts, buttons and signs. It is at the former site of a 1950s PEMCO gas station.

“I have this 1950s shop and I want to keep the wanderlust of Route 66 and keep that history but also have something new,” Babcock said. “Being in retail, I realize the importance of what something like this can do for the route and the community and for Tulsa.”

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Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

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