Have You Seen The Lovely Green Dinosaur of Canadian, Texas?
If you grew up near the Texas panhandle at all, and ever found yourself driving into Canadian, you're familiar with the big dinosaur on the hill. The dinosaur was the landmark letting you know you were almost to your destination.
But there's more to that dinosaur than just keeping an eye on the highway.
Gene Cockrell's Dinosaur In Canadian, TX
The famous dinosaur sits perched along US Hwy 83 on top of a hill. It overlooks the northbound side of the road.
Growing up, my family took a lot of trips to Canadian, TX to see family. My great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins all lived there. We would drive from western Oklahoma, and I would keep an eye out for that dinosaur the entire way.
Not only was it awesome to see a dinosaur in the Texas panhandle, but it meant my time strapped to the backseat was almost over.
The Dinosaur of Canadian, TX; A Labor Of Love
According to the lore, Gene made the dinosaur out of $2,000 worth of concrete. Supposedly he did it so that kids traveling on 83 would know they were almost home.
Here's the part that will tug at your heart a bit. The dino actually does have a name. Supposedly it was named after Audrey, Gene's wife. He named the dino "Aud" in honor of her.
There's More Sculptures Than Just The Dinosaur In Canadian, TX
If you stopped at just seeing the dinosaur, that would be enough. But there's even more once you know where to go looking.
The man behind the dino, Gene Cockrell, made more than just the one dinosaur. In fact, his yard was full of these types of sculptures, and the subjects ranged from more dinosaurs to Jesus Christ.
My father once drove me out to see Gene's yard. We looked at the sculptures, and he was adamant when it came to not climbing all over them. Young me was obsessed with the dinosaurs that apparently lived all over this tiny Texas panhandle town.
How Gene's Legacy Continues In Canadian
According to the information I was able to find, Gene sadly passed away in 2013. His legacy, however lives on. Aud is still out there keeping an eye on travelers heading north on 83. You can also still see his other sculptures too, if you ask around town and find out where to look.