While we may lead the world in Super Bowl victories, the United States lags embarrassingly behind other countries when it comes to our giant statue situation. Our largest, the Statue of Liberty, ranks only 47th in the world! This isn’t to say that our great nation hasn’t got a wealth of big statues, however — here is only a sampling of what you can visit right here in North Dakota.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tommy the Turtle

Bottineau, ND

French Realist painter Gustave Courbet once said “Show me an angel, and I’ll paint one.” Boots Reynolds, who erected Tommy the Turtle in 1978, evidently took the opposite approach to art. This jovial 32 foot tall turtle rides atop a giant snowmobile, the frank look of delight on his minimalistic face serving as a reminder that we can all find some enjoyment during the winter months, however gargantuan or reptilian we might be. Rumor has it that Tommy, if able to, would only purchase gas for his snowmobile at a Shell station.

Wally the Walleye

Garrison, ND

As the Walleye Capital of the World, it’s only fitting that Garrison should provide home to Wally. The thought of a 26 foot long walleye is an unsettling one, as it would take a spoon lure at least the size of a car door to get its attention, and just serving it would exhaust the tristate area’s entire supply of tartar sauce. Fortunately Wally is made of fiberglass, and as such would taste terrible.

Salem Sue

New Salem, ND

Salem Sue was built by the New Salem Lions Club in 1974 to pay tribute to the local dairy industry. Whoever designed Sue must have been thoroughly intimate with cows, because she perfectly sports that expression which betrays the innermost sentiment of cows everywhere: “Huh?” At 38 feet tall Sue enjoys the distinction of being the largest Holstein in the world, and the saucy pink vein running across her udder indicates that she’s ready to give up lots of the good stuff. If Sue were real, she would produce approximately 72 gallons of milk in one day, which would be enough to fill a 20’x40′ pool in only a year. Impress your friends and family with this information!


Wahpeton, ND

Wahpper is the world’s largest catfish at an impressive 40 feet long. The silvery beast casts an eternal glare of judgement across the Red River toward Minnesota, disapproving of their frivolous ways and of their never having contributed to the country’s total number of Super Bowl wins. An impressive amount of detail went into the creation of Wahpper — you can see each and every bone in his fins, his gills seem ready to flicker to life, and his long, pendulous whiskers look as though they’re ready to be used for whatever catfish use them for.

W’eel Turtle

Dunseith, ND

Not one to be outdone by Bottineau, the town of Dunseith has also paid tribute to the testudinal form with their W’eel Turtle, which is made of over 2,000 steel rims painted green. This impressive and somewhat odd-looking sculpture not only serves as a testament to mankind’s insatiable urge to create in spite of our own mortality, and as a symbol of der Wille zur Macht in general, but also to let you know that you’ve finally arrived at Dale’s Thrifty Barn, a pleasant little combination gas station, cafe, and motel. There you can buy a Zagnut bar to enjoy while you marvel at the W’eel Turtle at your leisure.


By David Scheller