British Columbia

Alberta chainsaw artist to carve public memorial for bullrider Ty Pozzobon

Alberta chainsaw artist Marina Cole is working on a sculpture to commemorate bull-riding legend Ty Pozzobon.

'I just want to bring something to Ty's family that will be able to fill a tiny piece of their heart'

Marina Cole started working with chainsaws in 2016 and will now carve a piece in memory of Merritt, B.C., cowboy legend Ty Pozzobon. (Chainsaw Spirit)

Chainsaw artist Marina Cole will sculpt an image of the late bull-riding legend Ty Pozzobon for his family and his hometown in B.C.'s southern Interior.

The City of Merritt and the Pozzobon family commissioned Cole to create a piece to display publicly in memory of the young rodeo champ after she won a local carving competition. Pozzobon, 25, died in January 2017 and was later diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease linked to repetitive brain injury.

"He's touched so many people in his career and he's so young," Cole told CBC's Doug Herbert on Daybreak Kamloops.  

"I think foremost, I just want to bring something to Ty's family that will be able to fill a tiny piece of their heart,"  she said. "I couldn't imagine losing my child. It would be so tragic."

Cole will begin carving this week and plans to incorporate all or part of a bull along with Pozzobon's image. But she said all her ideas have to be approved by the city and Pozzobon's family.

Pozzobon's family said that Ty suffered "numerous" concussions in his bull riding career. A post mortem examination of his brain revealed the 25-year-old had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease. (Ty Pozzobon Foundation)

When the news about Pozzobon's death broke last year, Cole was drawn to the story.

"I'm from Medicine Hat, there's a lot of rodeos everywhere we go" she said. "Something like that is shocking to everyone."

Cole has been carving for six years, and less than two using a chainsaw. 

"It's not that easy when you're working with pieces of wood that are hundreds of pounds each," Cole said.

For this piece, she plans to use a lot of glue, screws and dowelling to hold the monument together. She hopes to have it ready for September 2018. 

With files from Jenifer Norwell

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