By Julia Barton DIGITAL PRODUCER
BIG SKY — This year’s Big Sky PBR winner will take home a variety of prizes, including a portion of more than $40,000 in prize money, a Big Sky PBR belt buckle, a Gibson guitar and a trip to Turks and Caicos. Perhaps one of the more unique awards, however, will be the “Sky Ride” bronze trophy, hand-sculpted by local artist Sandy Epstein.
Epstein is a full-time Big Sky resident and said she’s been making the Big Sky PBR “Sky Ride” bronze trophy since the inaugural event in 2011.
“I was inspired to create ‘Sky Ride’ through the community spirit that embodies Big Sky,” she said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this town’s biggest event by sharing my artwork.”
The trophy goes through many phases before reaching its final form. Epstein sculpted “Sky Ride” with metal and wax before sending it to Boyer Bronze, a bronze foundry based in Livingston. From there, the sculpture is deconstructed into various pieces from which molds are made and cast in bronze before being welded back together.
The final result—a rider leaning back on a bucking bull, one hand holding on and the other high in the air—will be given to the winner of the Big Sky PBR as a special, handcrafted trophy.
“I’m just thrilled to be a part of this incredible place,” Epstein said, expressing her joy for making the trophy for each year’s Big Sky PBR.