Dave Hodges is about as western as a transplanted Pennsylvanian can be. Although he lived in Bradford, Pennsylvania, until graduating from high school, his yearning for the West was fueled by tales of cowboys and American Indians.
As soon as Dave finished high school, he headed for New Mexico to study horseshoeing. His farrier skills helped him land a job in Montana. Dave quickly realized that horseshoeing didn’t pay enough to buy a ranch. So, he went back to school and, in 1979, graduated from Montana State University with a degree in range management. By this time, he’d met and married Carmen, who shared his dream of becoming a cattle rancher.
The two managed to save enough money for a down-payment on a small ranch, but their timing was off. Ranching in the 1970s and ’80s had gone downhill, along with the oil industry. So Dave supplemented their livelihood with his art. Much to the couple’s surprise, art collectors enjoyed Dave’s work, and ranching soon took a backseat.
Though ranching was no longer his primary interest, Dave remained dedicated to the Longhorn breed. His herd began with the purchase of a Longhorn bull in 1975, which he crossed with his Hereford heifers. In 1979, he bought Longhorn cows, and today keeps 20 to 30 head on his 200 acres.
Dave’s art has taken him to the White House in Washington, D.C. The Montana Arts Council chose him and four others to make an ornament for the White House Christmas tree, and Dave and Carmen were invited to join First Lady Laura Bush at the unveiling ceremony.
Dave’s bronzes are based on his own life experiences and everyday pleasures, including hunting, fishing and ranching. He says his art allows him to share his life with those who can vicariously relate to and enjoy the lifestyle that he so treasures.
Dave Hodges Fine Art, Box 975, Big Timber, MT 59011;877-932-6181;[email protected].