Three of the seventeen figures of
"The Trail Ahead..."
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Download and print
our brochure for more information on "The Trail Ahead"
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
within our site is a clickable
link to more information!
Smack dab in the heart of Jal, NM
is one of the Permian Basin's premiere libraries. Visit
You've heard about it, now see and
read all about our world renown
"The Trail Ahead"!
Museum for Jal
it's looking like Jal may finally be getting a museum!!
Learn more about it...
Download our PDF Relocation Packet
(Click on the truck!)
Let us send you our
relocation packet full of info about our city!
While you are here,
take a look at our
Jal, New Mexico
Fun people, places &
things happening in Jal!
for visiting us here in
Jal, New Mexico!
Come back and see us again real soon!