GLENDIVE, Mont. – Glendive, a small city in eastern Montana, has its own talented, remarkable artist in Pam Harr – probably one of the best artists in the country – if not the world.
The owner of the Bridger Bronze Gallery, Pam lives on a farm outside of Glendive and creates bronze sculptures in her shop.
She donated a bronze sculpture her late husband, Harvey Rattey, created – of a working cowboy on a horse with a cattle dog – to the GATE show raffle as a way of honoring his legacy.
Tickets for the raffle can be purchased from the Glendive Chamber or from GATE board members.
“Harvey always loved cowboys, and Angus cattle, and he was a calf roper at one time. He has done bronzes of wildlife, animals, and western scenes,” Pam said. Harvey passed away three years ago.
In addition to donating a bronze, Pam will have a booth at the trade show, where she plans to display some of her smaller bronzes, and some of Harvey’s.
“From day one, I have always had a booth at the GATE,” Pam said. She enjoys meeting all the producers in the region and the townspeople.
All her bronze sculptures are limited editions. They come numbered, and she only casts so many of a certain bronze.
Pam’s artistic career didn’t really start until she graduated from college. After receiving degrees in physical therapy, she began working with children with physical disabilities.
“Working with children made me want to share my experiences with that by sculpting,” she said.
Pam simply took a class in bronzing and immediately started sculpting bronzes. It was as simple as that. She never really thought of herself as an artist - Pam calls her sister the artist in the family.
“I didn’t start with drawing on paper. I think in a three-dimensional way, so it had to be sculpture,” Pam said.
After her first husband died in Vietnam, she met Harvey at a Charles Russell art show in 1976. They were married, and lived in Oregon, and then in Bozeman, Mont., with their six kids.
In Bozeman, they were part of the art foundry for 20 years.
In 1981, Pam was inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame for her bronzes of pioneer women.
Harvey, who was a great calf roper in his younger years, was inducted into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame last year.
Harvey was contacted by an agriculture organization in Australia to do a sculpture of a bull, and he later sculpted a girl showing a steer that was used as a trophy.
In their retirement years, the couple wanted to move away from the bigger city.
“We wanted to get back to Big Sky Country, to a small, rural town where people were really nice,” Pam said.
They visited Glendive and fell in love with the town and the people.
“We bought a farm near Glendive with a farmhouse, and Harvey built another house later. We have lived here since,” she said. “It is a wonderful place to live, and very beautiful. Makoshika State Park is so beautiful.”
Since being in Glendive, Pam has been giving back to the community with her amazing bronze sculptures. She has created both small and life-sized bronzes, and donates all her labor and time. Pam hopes it helps bring tourists to Glendive.
She has to have help with paying for the large bronzes. It costs some $55,000 just to bronze a life-sized sculpture.
Her beautiful life-sized bronze of a child feeding a pony and apple was installed on one side of Glendive’s Towne Street Bridge.
Pam created a life-sized bronze of three dogs waiting for their kids to come home, which is placed in front of the high school.
Another bronze uniquely tells the story of agriculture. A bronze of Ty Milne, previous owner of the John Deere Implement Shop (Milne Implement) shows him as a child with a stick playing with his dog. Milne made many contributions to Glendive.
Every one of Pam’s bronzes tugs at the heart, and she has many of pioneer women, children and animals.
“I have always been fascinated with pioneer women,” she said.
A life-sized bronze of Narcissa Whitman, a missionary who crossed the Rockies, holding her toddler daughter who died in the river, evokes emotion.
Pam also constructed a veteran’s memorial of a life-sized bugler and a life-sized flag-draped casket for the Northeast Montana Veterans Memorial at Fort Peck.
Visitors can plan on seeing Pam at her booth with her bronze sculptures at the GATE trade show, and her gallery is located at https://bridgerbronze.com.