The long-abandoned Tumble Inn's "Sizzlin Steaks" giant neon cowboy recently lost its head, but don't worry, it wasn't destroyed by wind or vandalism—it was taken down on purpose, for restoration.
The 70-year-old iconic neon sign, located in Powder River, Wyoming depicts a giant cowboy that Jake Nichols of the Cowboy State Daily describes perfectly as oozing "kitsch and caboodle nostalgia from hat to boots." Nichols explains that the cowboy sign has a new owner, Jonathan Thorne, who intends to restore the sign and bring it back to its former glory:
Thorne is a semi-retired engineer who has the time, passion, and means to revive the Tumble Inn sign. He thought it was the right thing to do for Natrona County and Wyoming at large. He has no plans, however, to go into the bar business.
"The paint is coming off and it is starting to rust. I'm an engineer, so I knew corrosion was going to take hold and soon it would be too late," Thorne said. "I bought it on faith. I'm betting if I take this leap and start a restoration project, there are people out there who also want to help.
"This is not about me. This is for Wyoming."
Thorne will be working with a team of specialists to restore the giant cowboy—including artist Samuel Austin; John Huff, former owner of Yellowstone Garage in Casper, Wyoming; San Francisco-based sign restoration company SF Neon; and neon expert Connie Morgan. And Wyoming-based videographer Anthony Stengel will be filming the process—hopefully for a future documentary!
To read more about the restoration effort and to see some awesome photos of the neon cowboy, read the rest of the Cowboy State Daily feature here. And for some history and old photos of the Tumble Inn, check out the video, below.