GUEST POST BY DAINYA SAPERGIA
Icon noun \\ˈī-ˌkän\\ A person or thing regarded as a representative symbol of something.
It seems as though icons are thing of days gone by. As the days go by faster and the world speeds up exponentially, it becomes increasingly difficult to find those people that we relate to as deserving to represent an entire culture. But in the newly unveiled 2013 Calgary Stampede poster, one such individual is cemented in history as just that: an icon of the cowboy culture.
Vern Lonsberry is the cowboy’s cowboy. A man who has spent his life making his living on the back of a horse. He has epitomized the qualities that we look up to and expect in the western culture. Rugged, resilient, tough and dedicated to his craft, these would be the qualities that attracted Duke Beardsly to capture Vern’s likeness for the equally iconic piece of Stampede history.
Duke Beardsley is a fifth generation Colorado native, raised on his family’s ranch in the eastern part of the state. Growing up drawing and painting cowboy images, his unique blend of modern art styling and traditional western iconography reflects his upbringing and has made him a popular favorite among fans of contemporary American western art. A perfect candidate for the face of the 2013 Calgary Stampede.
“I took one look at Duke’s work and made up my mind,” says Bob Thompson, incoming chair of the board, Calgary Stampede. “Duke is someone who truly understands the western lifestyle.”
This is evident in his taste of subjects. Beardsley’s original artwork was unveiled last evening during the Stampede’s Showcase Stir,Up! event, depicting Vern about to swing a ‘houlihan’ loop. We don’t know where he was roping or what he was swinging to catch, but just by looking at Beardsley’s work, we can feel the authenticity that makes Lonsberry the icon that he is.