Living on the Long Meadow Ranch near Prescott, Arizona, as a young boy and watching his working cowboy father, Bill Nebeker’s imagination was filled with visions of horses, cattle, roundups, and brandings. He has spent 50 years bringing those memories back to life in his bronze sculptures. Whether the subject matter is cowboys working cattle or roping horses, wildlife, or Native Americans, viewers are drawn into the historic tales Bill portrays.
With 40 years in the Cowboy Artists of America (CAA), Bill is now the senior active member of this historic organization, and he is honored and privileged to have worked alongside the greatest artists in this field. Bill is widely recognized as one of the preeminent sculptors of the horse and cowboy. The personal legacy passed down from his father, and his working experiences with cowboys, give his sculptures the real flavor of life in the Old West as well as today’s contemporary ranching and livestock industries.
Bill was extremely honored when his bronze, Double Trouble, won the 2016 James Bowie Sculpture Award at the Briscoe Western Art Museum’s Night of Artists Show. His next best honor was that his sculpture, Cold Mornin’ Cow Camp, won the 2016 Express Ranches Great American Cowboy Award during the Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition & Sale at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
Being raised in Arizona I have always been fascinated in Geronimo and the Apache Wars. This sculpture portrays one of Geronimo’s warriors as an ever-vigilant sentinel; always watching from a high lookout point, aware of enemies or friends wanting to find his encampment.
In March 1886, Geronimo, and what remained of his followers, agreed to meet General Crook at Canyon De Los Embudos in Northeastern Sonora, to discuss terms of surrender. He agreed to the surrender, but after Crook went back to Fort Bowie in Arizona Territory, Geronimo changed his mind and disappeared into the Sierra Madre Mountains.
Geronimo continued hit-and-run raids in Mexico, Arizona, and New Mexico for several months, killing unknown numbers of settlers and soldiers from both sides of the border. Soon, Lieutenant Charles Gatewood, who Geronimo trusted, sent two scouts to find the great Apache warrior. The Apache Wars finally ended September 4, 1886 as Geronimo agreed to surrender.
I love Western art because it usually tells a story. Sometimes the stories are dramatic or action filled, sometimes emotional and serene, and often humorous. Charlie Russell and George Phippen’s paintings and sculptures showed many scenes of the humorous side of the West, which inspired my art career.
I wanted this bronze sculpture to be a link to the long tradition of our history of humor in Western art. It depicts a hard working cowboy riding a young colt outside the corral for the first time and unexpectedly rides by a bush full of Jack Rabbits. They flush out like a covey of Quail, and so begins a Hare-Raisin’ Ride.