I love finding weird and wonderful things in unlikely places and who would have imagined that Tulsa, Oklahoma would have a jolly green gold giant. In Tulsa a 23 meter high and 19,700kg statue of a Golden Driller who looks more like an Oscar in a different pose proudly guards the entrance to the Tulsa Expo Center. The giant who is the biggest free-standing statue on the planet was created in 1953 for a petroleum expo (IPE). Following his rave reviews the stud was brought back for an encore at the 1959 IPE but was given a complete makeover. The radiant gentleman’s features were refined and his hand which used to make an “ok” sign was reshaped into a wave. His leg was raised and the figure was positioned climbing a derrick (the top half of an oil rig that looks like an electricity pylon but is actually a lifting device). Again the crowds loved the golden boy and when he was donated to the Tulsa County Fairgrounds Trust authority they once again decided to give him a serious face lift. He was nipped and tucked and made resilient to the strong winds of Tulsa. He was put into a standing position with his one bent arm leaning on a derrick which was brought from Seminole, OK.
The Golden Driller was ready to take up his post outside the Tulsa Expo Center in 1966. Over the years the gentle giant who is now a pensioner has been dressed up in ties and shirts, had his belt buckle changed, been shot at, repainted, vandalized and over exposed to the flash of tourist cameras. The Golden Digger has become a symbol of Tulsa’s oil heritage and a much-loved senior citizen. Since 1979 the Digger of Gold(who actually would be digging for oil) has been the official State Monument. And by the way his shoe size is 393DDD.
Where: Tulsa State Fairground, 4145 E, 21st Street South, Tulsa, Oklahoma