The Trail Ahead :

Three of the seventeen figures of "The Trail Ahead..."

The Jal Cowboy Sculpture Project, entitled "The Trail Ahead...", was conceived by Jal artist, Brian Norwood as a means of honoring the ranching heritage of this southeastern New Mexico Community.

The town was named after a cattle brand used on the nearby Cowden Ranch.  The brand consisted of a "J" on the left shoulder, and "A" --minus the crossbar-- on the midsection and an "L" on the left hip of the cattle.  Because of the prominent markings, the cattle quickly became known as "the Jal's", and the men who worked them became known as the "Jal Cowboys".  When the town was formed, it only seemed natural to call it Jal.

The seventeen metal silhouettes which make up the sculpture are located on a ridge approximately two and a half miles north of jal, just off of NM Highway 18  The four mounted cowboys and thirteen cattle are constructed from 1/4 inch steel and each individual figure is support by a framework of four inch or six inch pipe.  The frames extend six feet into the ground and are secured with concrete.  The tallest cowboy measures over 20 feet tall and his horse is over 21 feet long.  The smallest figure, a calf, is approximately 7 feet tall.  The entire sculpture stretches out for more than 400 feet.


The sculpture was paid for by donations from current and former Jal residents, and area ranchers and businessmen.  The fundraising began in January of 1999 and was handled by the Jal Chamber of Commerce.

Seven sheets of steel, each measuring 10 ft. by 40 ft. and weighing 4,084 pounds were delivered in September, 1999.  Norwood began drawing the figures onto the steel shortly after delivery.  

He began cutting the figures using a plasma arc torch in late September.  The cutting phase of the project was completed just after Thanksgiving.

Welding of the pipe frames began just after the first of the year, 2000.  The welding was done by Jal resident Gene Armstrong, with help from his son Gooser.  The holes in which the frames would be placed were dug by Fulfer Electric Company, and with the help of a crane supplied by Merryman Construction Company, the sculpture was completed on March 17, 2000.  All of the labor, equipment, and portions of the materials necessary to complete this job were donated by area individuals and businesses.

Dedication of "The Trail Ahead..." was Labor Day weekend 2000 to coincide with Jal Schools Y2K Reunion.  It is hoped that this project honoring Jal's past will have a positive impact on its future by attracting tourists from throughout the nation and the world.

So........if you are cruising down Hwy 18, those figures looming in the distance are...
"The Trail Ahead..."
It's Truly Awesome, Isn't It?

For more information on "The Trail Ahead...", contact
Brian Norwood at PO Box 106, Jal, NM  88252
or by phone at (575) 395-3042
or by e-mail to:

Download and print our brochure for more information on "The Trail Ahead"

Note:  Brochure is an Adobe Acrobat Document.  To download, right click and choose  "Save Target As" to your desktop.  When download is finished, you can click on the icon on your desktop to open and print.  You must have Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer to open this document. RIGHT CLICK HERE!  

A within our site is a clickable link to more information!

The Woolworth
Community Library

Smack dab in the heart of Jal, NM is one of the Permian Basin's premiere libraries. Visit them 


The Sculpture

You've heard about it, now see and read all about our world renown 
Cowboy Sculpture,
"The Trail Ahead"! 
Click Here!


A Museum for Jal

Well, folks, it's looking like Jal may finally be getting a museum!!
Learn more about it...

Click Here!


Moving to Jal?

Download our PDF Relocation Packet
(Click on the truck!)


Let us send you our
relocation packet full of info about our city!
Click Here!

While you are here,
take a look at our
Jal, New Mexico
photo album.
Fun people, places &
things happening in Jal!
Click Here!

Thanks for visiting us here in 
Jal, New Mexico!
Come back and see us again real soon!

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