Anyone driving to or from the East Entrance to Yellowstone National Park on U.S. Highway 14\16\20 over the past decade has likely seen the Wapiti Big Boy.
The seemingly lonely, colorful, larger-than-life statue on a concrete pedestal in the middle of a field about 20 miles west of Cody sports a perpetual smile while serving up a giant Big Boy burger.
It’s the same iconic Big Boy past generations looked for at Big Boy restaurants across the United States.
It’s an authentic Big Boy rescued from a real California Big Boy restaurant.
What it isn’t is abandoned, discarded, forgotten or standing in the middle of that field on the road to Yellowstone by accident.
A Touch Of Nostalgia
“Big Boy restaurants were everywhere (at one time), and I’ve always wanted to have a Big Boy and celebrate what’s great about the Big Boy,” said James Geier, who owns the Wapiti Big Boy statue and the land it now calls home.
Like others around Wyoming and the United States, Geier told Cowboy State Daily that he’s heard the rumors about the Big Boy.
“I’ve heard it all too,” he said. “I heard people say it just showed up, like Easter Island, and nobody knows how it got there.”
Truth is, Geier knows. He put it there, deliberately, in 2013.
He likes that there seems to be this random Big Boy in the middle of Nowhere, Wyoming, that’s become a fun talking point.
An artist who sculpts large works, Geier said the Big Boy also is an extension of his creativity. After rescuing it, he’s kept it repaired and painted so it looks good for those passing by.
In fact, when he took Big Boy down in 2020 for maintenance, its absence was quickly noticed. The rumors flew fast and furious that someone had stolen the Wapiti Big Boy.
“Yeah, I heard that. I took him down for a little paint restoration,” Geier said. “He’s really become a part of the wonderful fabric of our community.
“People kind of freaked out: ‘What happened to Big Boy?’”
Big Boy may the most obvious work of art on Geier’s Wyoming land, but it’s not the only one. An observant eye also can spot some of his other works, like a large bucking horse and a pair of stylized metal trees.
“I’m a sculptor and have a design business,” he said. “My art and the placement of Big Boy was really all about wanting the conversation to go on, whether you’re a tourist going through the world or a local.”
And that’s the whole point, Geier said, creating a unique experience people will talk about when remembering their visits to Wyoming and Yellowstone.
“It’s strategically located,” he said. “I love the conversation that goes on about it. People go home and say, ‘You’ll never believe what I saw on my way to Yellowstone.’”
Want to know what the heck something is in Wyoming? Ask Managing Editor Greg Johnson and he’ll try to find out. Send your “What the heck is …” questions to him, along with high-quality horizontal photos of whatever it is to Greg@CowboyStateDaily.com.