Mammoth (the Animal) Event in Bluff Utah

In Bluff UT, during the winter solstice (21 Dec 2012), the town’s folk are going to burn a 16-foot-tall mammoth in effigy.  The mammoth will be burned at 8 pm in a ceremony complete with flaming spears to set the “mammoth” on fire.

Effigy of Mammoth in Downtown Bluff Utah

Effigy of Mammoth in Downtown Bluff Utah

No, no, no, I’m not making this up.  My imagination is not that good.

The mammoth, which currently stands proudly in an empty field near the center (wherever the hell that is) of the town of Bluff, located approximately 100 miles south of Moab, was constructed using only sticks, branches, and two support poles.  The effigy is the work of J.R. Lancaster, Scott Pachak, and a group of 30 volunteers.

Bluff Mammoth Prior to Fire (Photograph by J.R. Livingston)

Bluff Mammoth Prior to Fire (Photograph by J.R. Lancaster)

I’m no expert on monumental art, but the Bluff wooden mammoth is good stuff.  It is every bit as good as the Sun Tunnels or Spiral Jetty.  Perhaps even better.  Good work J.R. and Scott.

So why build a 16-foot-high wooden effigy of a mammoth (and then torch it)?  According Pachak to bring attention to the local rock art . . . some panels are purported to show mammoths.

Bluff Mammoth on Fire, Winter Soltice, 2012

Bluff Mammoth on Fire, Winter Soltice, 2012

Of course, why didn’t I think of that?

According to Andrew Gulliford, a Fort Lewis College professor, “Who needs to go to Nevada for the Burning Man Festival when you can go to Bluff and burn a mammoth.”  Isn’t Fort Lewis College in Colorado where recreational pot smoking is now legal?

Good point professor!  Let’s keep the tourism and crazy money in the 4-Corners area.  Hell, I’m as crazy as the next guy.  And Bluff is the undiscovered jewel of southern Utah.  There are nice places to stay, good food, Anazasi ruins, petroglyphs, river running, etc.

I’ll see you there.  More reports later?  Who knows.  For a slideshow by J.R. of the Mammoth project click here.

Postscript:  for those of you who missed the burning ceremony, here is some video footage:  http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://i4.ytimg.com/i/7HOt9VtXwbrc6_Qf9RImEw/1.jpg%3Fv%3D4fc532bd&imgrefurl=http://www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3Dzvam_073rTs&usg=__nd8vlalSd-iHGl1qENqRenPRxhw=&h=88&w=88&sz=3&hl=en&start=45&zoom=1&tbnid=OMEP1XFYPM57gM:&tbnh=77&tbnw=77&ei=fIjbUMzxCOGQ2AXC5oGoCA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dburning%2Bmammoth%2Bbluff%2Butah%26start%3D40%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Dactive%26sa%3DN%26gbv%3D2%26tbm%3Disch&itbs=1

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This entry was posted in Art, Entertainment, monumental, paganism, pilgrimage, utah. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Mammoth (the Animal) Event in Bluff Utah

  1. Rick says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I saw this mammoth last week on my road trip through the desert southwest and had no idea what it was.

    • John Poling says:

      On 12/8 I spent about half an hour with the mammoth and the artist who was still doing some work on the beast. The mammoth is absolutely amazing and I am sorry that they are going to burn it.

      • rogerdhansen says:

        If you have a good photograph of the “completed” mammoth, I would appreciate it. I had planned on going to the burning on the solstice, but that is no longer possible. If you are going to the burning, I would appreciate a photograph.

  2. Pingback: Tired Road Warrior

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