by Wade Walker
Tundra: Spirit of the Pack, the hero-sized statue (110 percent of her actual size) will be placed in an area between the new Occhiato University Center and the Masari arena. A dedication will take place on May 1 at 11 a.m., on Tundra’s 11th birthday. Speakers will include President Lesley DiMare, Associated Students’ Government President Antonio Huerta, Coach Monica Potter and several students. The reception will be held on the Masari patio, weather permitting. This event is open to the public.
Tundra will be immortalized in bronze by artist Brenda Daniher of La Junta. She was tasked by the President of the Alumni board of directors, Carol Rickman. The two have paired up before to bring the Thunder Wolf statue to the CSU-Pueblo campus.
Daniher has been sculpting since the age of eight. She began with clay, later progressing to bronze. She has completed over 40 life-sized statues, the largest being a 14-foot by 10-foot bronze Pony Express at the Ft. Sedgwick Museum in Julesburg, Colorado.
“I see the 3-D world differently than most people” she says.
Her process starts with measurements and photos to capture Tundra’s likeness. A frame is made, then latex molds are used to create an outer shell. The outer shell is removed and wax is laid into the mold, then melted out in the foundry. Molten bronze is poured into the hollow shells in a process known as the ancient lost wax process. Welding is the last step which she says is an extremely time-consuming process.
Tundra is not actually a wolf, she is a mix breed that includes husky, but she looks the part and most people are unaware of the distinction. She was rescued by Carol and Mark Rickman. She is an ambassador for the school but she also serves to bridge a wider array of humanitarian efforts. Tundra accompanies Carol to many of her lectures as a docent. It has made Tundra wildly popular beyond just the circle of CSU-Pueblo.
Tundra’s Facebook page “probably has more followers than the alumni page” says Tracy Samora, Director of Alumni relations.
“We just absolutely love all the stuff we get to do with Tundra, being an alum, it is really fun to get back to the university and do all the different things we do with her and we have met so many wonderful people because of her.” says Carol, who received the President’s Medallion for Distinguished Service last year from CSU-Pueblo for her contributions to the university.
The Rickman’s bring Tundra to every home game and at least one road event for all of CSU-Pueblo’s 22 athletic teams every year. They cover all the cost themselves. Their dedication is unwavering and their generosity is heartwarming.
“They do it out of the kindness of their heart and all it cost in return is a McDouble for Tundra” Samora says of the Rickmans.