Bob Burkhart, Owner of Burkhart Bronze, Biography
A fifth generation Montanan whose great-great grandfather – Nelson Story – headed the first cattle drive from Texas to Montana, Bob Burkhart’s artwork is inspired by his life-long ranching background coupled with his experience in the rodeo arena, both as a participant and as a pro-official.
Bob’s commercial foundry (Burkhart Bronze) and gallery are located in Bozeman, Montana, where he and his wife Gloria and their two children-Kimberli and Juaquin-reside in a house that was an original stage coach stop on the Bozeman Trail.
Bob’s sculptures stem from varied life experiences, which lend a unique authenticity to each individual piece. Although Bob’s bronzes range in subject matter, he specializes in genuine western and wildlife images, with his rodeo sculptures highly sough after. His sculptures have received many awards, some of which include a silver medal and a gold medal at the PRCAA International Art Show in Las Vegas; the Cattleman’s Award, Best of Show and Best Sculpture Award at the Omak Stampede. He has done commission pieces for Justin Boots, Dodge Rodeo, the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, US Smokeless Tobacco and the Safari Club International. Bob has also done the Red Lion Trophy for the Pendleton Round Up Rodeo that includes the Steer Roping Trophy, the Barrel Racing Trophy and the Saddle Bronc Trophy. Bob also donates his sculptures to a multitude of worthy benefits.
Bob is a Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association Gold Card member and a Canadian Pro Rodeo Association member. In 1972, Bob was the Montana Amateur Rodeo Association Saddle Bronc champion. Bob was drafted into the Army and ultimately sent to Europe, where he competed in the European Rodeo Association. Most of the rodeos were held in Germany—where he won the All Around as well as the Saddle Bronc championships in 1975. After he was discharged, he competed in the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association, mostly in Saddle Bronc riding—but also did some Team Roping and Steer Wrestling.
He is currently one of the top PRCA judging officials that goes to rodeos all over the nation. He has been chosen by the contestants and coaches to judge the College National Finals Rodeo seven times as well as has worked on the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Riding Event Staff for the past twenty five plus years. He is one of the founders and charter member of the Pro Rodeo Cowboy Artists Association. Bob currently serves as a trustee for the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame and is a member of the Safari Club International and the Southwest Chapter of the Safari Club International.
Bob established his commercial foundry, Burkhart Bronze, 35 years ago in 1977. The foundry is located on the family ranch in a log building that his Grandfather had built in the 1930’s. Bob casts his own sculptures as well as for several other artists.
Every year for the past 15 years, Bob and his good friend and talented sculptor, Jeff Wolf hold a three day Sculpting School at the foundry. The students come from all over the nation as well as Canada—some have never sculpted before to those that have experience with sculpting. Jeff emphasizes teaching the students renaissance realism—learning to sculpt from the inside out. Several accomplished artists attend the school every year and they also offer assistance to the new students. At the end of the three days, the students will have created a sculpture. Most of the students camp at our place and we feed all of the students three meals a day for the three days. (For additional information on the dates and cost of the school, people can contact Bob Burkhart or Jeff Wolf.)
Play the Video Below to see more Bronze Sculptures from Bob Burkhart – Burkhart Bronze.
DESCRIPTIONS OF BRONZES
A Push Into Life
This bronze was done when my son, Juaquin, played football in 6th grade for the local Lion’s Club. It acknowledges his coach giving direction to his young player—pushing him out into the field. The coach taught the boys skills that could be used on the football field as well as in life.
Catch & Release (Bookends)
This is a set of Fly Fishing bookends that depicts the man landing a trout and the woman releasing one.
Fast Horses, Pretty Girls & Ole’ Glory
This sculpture depicts good friend and trick rider, Penny Walton, doing the hippodrome stand honoring the American flag.
In the Nick of Time
This sculpture shows a Saddle Bronc rider being rescued by seven-time National Finals Rodeo pickup man—Ken Clabaugh of Arvada, WY.
This sculpture was done of my son wrestling in his senior year in high school (2009). It is the “Bill Townsend Sportsmanship Award” trophy that is awarded annually to the wrestler that exhibits the best sportsmanship and is permanently displayed at the Bozeman High School.
Safari Club International – The African Big Five
The following next five sculptures were done—one per year—for the Southwest Chapter of the Safari Club International. They depict the five most dangerous African big game animals.
- Cape Fear (Cape Buffalo)
- Deadly Stalk (Lion)
- He Knows You’re There (Leopard)
- His Undivided Attention (Rhino)
- Serious Intentions (Elephant)
Waiting on the Navigator
This sculpture shows the rope horse with all his tools standing and waiting on the cowboy to compete. This piece is the “Tie-down Roping Horse of the Year” award for the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit for ten years.
When Gold Buckles & Silver Halters Meet
This title infers the world champion Saddle Bronc rider that is awarded a “gold buckle” being matched up with the world champion Saddle Bronc Horse who is awarded a “silver mounted halter”. When this match up occurs, one of these two world class athletes will come out the winner. This sculpture is used as the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit “Doctor Keith Peterson Lifetime Achievement Award” for perpetuity.
The Western Art Rodeo Association is proud to have Bob Burkhart as a member.
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