Just south of Santa Fe is The Dinosaur Ranch. Actually, its an otherwise mundane business which owner Larry Wilson turned into a roadside attraction when he built a couple of giant, realistic prehistoric critters out of rebar, wire and polyurethane. Wilson had been interested in dinosaurs since his childhood, building the first one for his granddaughters.
"They came and said 'Grandpa can you make a dinosaur,' so I said Id try, Wilson said. "Of course, I dont think they were expecting anything that big."
Wilson said he had a large piece of rebar that suggested a brontosaurus. "I kept adding onto it and it took on a life of its own," he said.
Wilson sold that bronto and three other of his first dinosaurs to the city of Claytons Chamber of Commerce. "Theyd found some dinosaur tracks in an arroyo so they thought this would be a good way to promote that as a tourist attraction," he said.
Other dinos would soon replace the originals.
For quite a few years now, the dinosaur display has featured a western dino -wrangling theme with a polyurethane cowpoke astride a polyurethane horse, roping a tyrannosaurus rex.
In a nearby coral there are more monsters - a mamma and baby brontosaurus, a stegosaurus, and an honorary dinosaur - a giant horny toad. Wooden owls are mounted on the four corner posts, in a futile attempt to keep birds away from the creations - birds presumably fearing owls worse than they do dinosaurs.
Then, over at the building that houses the business, there's another tyrannosaurus looking as if hes bursting through the wall. "He was originally outside," Wilson said. "But he fell over and broke his legs."