Bronze cowboy entertains, scares people stiff in Scottsdale - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Bronze cowboy entertains, scares people stiff in Scottsdale

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So what, or who, is this bronze cowboy? So what, or who, is this bronze cowboy?
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SCOTTSDALE, AZ (CBS5) -

You'll find plenty of art all over the Valley depicting Arizona's Native American and Wild West roots. But there's only one moving bronze statue.

It's just another afternoon in Old Town Scottsdale, but there's something around the corner. Blink, and you might miss it.

"It takes you aback, that's for sure. He scared me," said Judy Iutzwig, visiting from Illinois.

Some have a hunch and do a double-take while they pass. Others take no notice. Then, there are the lucky few; the curious who venture into unknown territory.

"I went to touch him and he put his hand up like this, and I about died," Iutzwig said.

"My heart is still pounding," said Carol Lewis, another unsuspecting passer-by.

"He waved his hand and I almost flew, but he's very cute," said Mary Gant, visiting from Chicago.

So what, or who, is this?

"I got out totally as the artist," the mysterious bronze cowboy said. "I want to duplicate or actually be the illusion of a statue."

His name is Keith Stamets, and he's a retail buyer by weekday and performance artist by weekend.

"He's very good at his job because he got me," Lewis laughed.

"I thought I had no life," Jerry Brannan joked. "But no, actually, he's quite good. It's almost like a mime."

With an old suit, some bronze makeup, and an hour and a half of careful application, Stamets transforms into the old bronze cowboy.

"It's kind of a form of artistry, I like it," said Jackie Rice.

"I'll sit there for hours without making a movement or a sound," Stamets said. "People might walk all day long and I might not surprise anybody. But it's just that one person when they sit down, it changes their life forever."

But once you get up in his grill, the bets are off.

"When they come and sit next to me, it's fair game," Stamets said.

You may think it gets hot and stuffy under that costume, and it is. That's why Stamets said he only performs when it's 80 degrees or cooler. He said the hardest part is keeping his eyes closed.

"It might seem like I'm relaxing but really, I'm concentrating," Stamets said. He also has to pay attention to the occasional child, or someone who has had a few too many.

"Whenever I hear footsteps coming, I pay attention, and sure enough here comes this 9-year-old with a baseball bat," Stamets said.

So if you're not paying attention, you might miss the chance to see an artist at work.

"I think it's great if he's enjoying it and having a good time, then he's making other people laugh, but he might really scare a person bad sometime," Iutzwig said, laughing.

"Keep it up, but don't give anybody no heart attack, though," Gant said.

"If there was any possibility that I thought I didn't look convincing as a statue, I would not be here," Stamets said.

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