1/10/2013 8:03:00 AM 'Rosie on the House' reaches out to fans to raise money for Prescott Valley statue
Debbie Gessner works on the clay version of the “Not-So-Gentle Tamer” statue, whose bronze casting and installation in the Town of Prescott Valley can only be completed when fundraising efforts bring in a total of $87,000.
Photo courtesy Les Stukenberg
Rosie Romero of "Rosie on the House" fame is challenging Arizonans to help raise money for the "Not-So-Gentle Tamer" statue that will one day stand in Prescott Valley.
The statue is being sculpted by Debbie Gessner of Bronzesmith Fine Art Gallery and Foundry from a painting by historian and artist Bob Boze Bell.
Romero is a well-known Arizona columnist and radio personality on topics of interest to homeowners. For the past several years, he has broadcast his live radio show from Jersey Lilly Saloon on the day of the annual Yavapai County Courthouse Christmas lighting event and Prescott Chamber of Commerce Christmas parade.
"It's a great opportunity for Prescott to shine," he said this week. During Arizona's 2012 observance of statehood in 1912, Romero said he "invested heavily on topics related to the centennial," such as housing styles unique to Arizona and special centennial projects, as well." I am a huge lover of Arizona. We were shouting out Arizona projects all year," he said.
When Kathy Murphy-Reilly of the Bronzesmith went to Jersey Lilly during the broadcast, she brought a small "Tamer" statue for Romero to see. He later stopped by the Bronzesmith to see the statue in person. He then mentioned the statue on the air and challenged listeners to match every dollar, up to $2,000, they contributed to the statue's completion.
"We raised $4,000 the first week," Romero said, adding the challenge is posted on his website www.rosieonthehouse.com or people can donate by calling toll free 888-Rosie-4-U.
Romero has lived in Arizona since 1965, loves its recreational opportunities and "the way the state is governed and the history of Arizona." He appreciates the "Not-So-Gentle Tamer" statue because it recognizes the pioneer woman, "the unsung heroes" in the settlement of the state.
The idea for a statue in recognition of Arizona's 2012 centennial year began with Prescott Valley Councilwoman Lora Lee Nye, who chaired the gala celebrating Arizona's birthday that took place in Prescott Valley on Feb. 14, 2012. In order to help pay for the event, the gala committee decided to conduct a drawing for one of Bell's watercolor paintings, and Nye chose "Not-So-Gentle-Tamer." Ed Reilly, owner of the Bronzesmith, took this a step further by suggesting a statue be made of her.
Bell's inspiration for his painting was his grandmother Louise Guess, the wife of an Arizona rancher who he remembers "quietly dispatching rattlesnakes with her trusty hoe."
The 10-foot-tall statue is standing in her garden, dressed in attire of the times, holding a shovel in one hand and a headless snake in the other. The large-than-life creation is ready for bronze casting when the fundraising goal of $87,000 is reached. To date, the fundraiser lacks $30,000 for the statue to be completed and dedicated this spring, Murphy-Reilly said.
"Because Rosie is so popular, well respected and has a very large audience, he has helped promote and build awareness about the centennial monument around the state," she said.
The public is welcome to stop by the Bronzesmith, 7331 E. 2nd St., Prescott Valley, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday to see the statue and to meet Gessner.