RANCHERS MARK AND MIKE MARLEY loom 18 feet high on either side of US 285. One points an accusatory finger at the other, who has adopted a “What, me?” stance. “I’ve always wanted to be larger than life,” Mike says. “Now I am.” Cowboy Ruckus was dreamed up by artist John Cerney while he drove around his hometown of Salinas, California. “I saw two prostitutes arguing across the street from each other,” he says. “It was a scene that couldn’t be ignored for its drama. It stuck with me.” Cerney’s many oversize pieces in numerous states include a UFO cutout adorned with LED lights south of Roswell. He thought the open range on the Marley Ranches was the perfect spot for two cowboys having a huge beef. He took pictures of the men and painted them on both sides of plywood cutouts. The Marleys’ ranch hands then built their metal frames. But the two men had never modeled before. “It took a bit to get them loosened up for the pose I wanted,” Cerney says. While they appear to suffer an eternal case of sibling rivalry, the ranchers like Cerney’s depiction. “He’s a talented artist,” Mark says.
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Cowboy Ruckus straddles both sides of US 285, a few miles southeast of Vaughn. See more of the artist John Cerney’s work.