501 Levi ® original fit and tall & big original fit jeans for men. That says it all about this 47 -foot cowboy.

That says it all about this 47 -foot cowboy.

Levi jeans began in 1873 and in 1960, these famous original fit jeans were made especially for the first and only 47-foot statue of a cowboy.

Today the reputation for the Levi name continues as did the popularity of those original fit blue jeans had earned for the cowboy.

 

W. H. Wheeler's big cowboy

 WHO BUILT THIS STATUE??

 WHO ACTUALLY MADE THESE JEANS?

A Reputation Builder!

I would like to personally thank a very dear person, Angelica Paez, who has generously allowed me to show this picture of the big cowboy with his right foot on top of the curio shop porch.  She is the owner of this picture and is a Vintage photo collector.  I am indebted to her and am proud to display this beautiful picture of my dad’s business and the big cowboy he so dearly loved.
She is the owner of this picture and is a Vintage photo collector.  I am indebted to her and am proud to display this beautiful picture of my dad’s business and the big cowboy he so dearly loved.
The big tall cowboy was built by my dad, William Harry Wheeler in 1960, and wore real denim blue jeans, made by the employees of a Levi manufacturing plant nearby.
The big tall cowboy gained his vast reputation throughout the United States, because not only was he the tallest cowboy statue, but that he had the esteem, the art, the love and the recognition for wearing real Levi Strauss jeans.
Tourist loved and remembered the big cowboy even today.
“He’s the one that has the real jeans on him, right?”  they ask.  This is often the response of older people who may have seen or heard about the tall cowboy. 
The cowboy was built well to prepare him for the harsh Texas winds and bad weather.
That foresight was the genius of my dad.  He had his degree in Music; not art, not construction, nor engineering: he just figured it out and planned his steps accordingly and perfectly.  
Levi Strauss has that same ingenuity and innovation projects especially to bring you a quality product, such as the 501 original fit and the 506 regular fit jeans for the big and tall man.  
The 501 was the original and the first to be called jeans—an original to fit the big tall 47-foot cowboy!

Memories Anyone?

I remembered a little about how my dad made the big cowboy, as the cowboy was referred to in those days.  I can not tell fully about how the cowboy was built, but I do have definite memories of some things I observed my dad arduously working to finish.  
I even helped.  Once I put the tile on in the shower at the new motel he was building.  Most of the time he did the work himself, but sometimes he had his friend help with the motel.
Most of the creative works concerned various aspects of my dad’s curio shop business. My dad worked very hard to build the cowboy; in fact, it took him almost a year to finish the cowboy.  He worked full time at the air force base about 30 miles away editing training manuals.
But after work and on weekends, he worked on the cowboy.  He used some kind of heavy fencing wire to form the frame of the cowboy.  This picture (copyrighted) shows him working on the frame of the cowboy’s face.
                                                                                                                                                                           dad working on the frame of the head
One day he was shaping the hand on the ground in front of the curio shop.  He kept looking at his own hand first to shape the big cowboy’s hand to determine where to bend the thick wire.  I was standing on the curio shop porch.  I will never forget how he looked up and smiled at me.   I believe at that moment, I realized he was a special person who was creative and a genius.  Yet his kindness and love for his family filled that wonderful smile.
Then a tourist came by and asked my dad, “What are you building?  An airplane?”  My dad smiled and winked at me.  “No,” my dad responded, and then, in turn, told the tourist to do something strange.
Dad said,  “Look over the west over there.”  The tourist turned around looked in that direction—my dad was about the middle of the cowboy frame at the time.  “Do you see a cowboy boot down there?”
The tourist nodded.  “Now turn your head to to the East, over there.”  The tourist nodded again and turned his head to that direction.  “Do you see a cowboy hat? dad asked the tourist.
The tourist responded by opening his mouth wide and scratching his head he exclaimed!  “Oh!  You’re making a cowboy, not an airplane!”  He and dad had a good laugh about that.   Most people simply could not picture the end results of several things my dad built over the years.
I remember that story clearly since I was standing on the porch of the curio shop at the time.  Not only was dad kind and humble; he was humorous too.
Tourist would stop to take pictures of the cowboy and then they would go inside the curio shop to buy their souvenirs.  They could touch the cowboy and take their pictures standing next to him.   Small children even stood or sat on the boot.  People all over the United States took pictures and admired the big cowboy as we affectionally called him.
After school, my twin sister and I would take turns watching the curio shop to wrap up packages and give out change to the tourist, while my sister then had to wash dishes after the evening meal.  That arrangement helped my mom to do other things she planned on doing.  I admired my mom, but this story involves only my dad’s artistic abilities.
The next day, my twin sister would take care of the curio shop and I would have the job of washing dishes.  We learned a lot from the tourist as well as from my parents.
There were a lot of good memories in my life.  I was one of the fortunate ones.  My mom was talented too.  She composed music, accompanied musicians on the piano and taught advanced piano students.
My dad, of course, did other amazing things and always kept busy.   When dad sold the business and moved, our love for the cowboy with his real Levi original jeans was never far behind us in our memories.
The  Trick of the Trade!
In 1959, when the jeans were finished at the nearby manufacturing plant, they were then delivered by a truck right to dad’s curio shop, where a crane lifted the cowboy’s jeans out of the package to help dad adjust and prepare them later to be put on the cowboy.  After the jeans were conveniently placed around the cowboy, dad was then able to sew the jeans on the cowboy.  Burlap had to be wrapped around the cowboy first to protect the jeans from the cemented body.   The cement was the kind that would not crack easily, but I do no know what it was called.
This is the only picture of a newspaper clipping I have of my dad adjusting the new jeans in order for him to sew them on the cowboy.
The cowboy's tall big jeans
Dad built his own scaffolds which allowed him even to reach the top of the hat and the face to paint as well as to sew the rest of the cowboy’s clothes.  Both shirt and jeans were sewed on with strong Sailors’ thread.
Today, that task is easily accomplished by a self-driven automated truck and would have helped dad tremendously with his arduous work he labored to sew on the cowboy’s clothes.
Artist William Harry Wheeler’s cowboy, with the real Levi jeans and the curio shop named the Corral Curio Shop, were soon to become a landmark in people’s estimation everywhere— then and today!
Yes, those jeans were the ‘hit of the day’.  Levi’s® had been about coveralls, but it was the teenage group that started calling them jeans or just Levis®.
Those jeans the cowboy wore were the symbol of the new look by the young people who saw or perhaps heard about the cowboy who wore his jeans so proudly.
Now, people everywhere remembered their moments when they fell in love with their jeans.
I am not sure the 501 original fit jeans were the style meant for those wonderful employees from the sewing manufacturing plant, but I am sure they were the blue denim jeans for that cowboy; I for one love so much.  Unfortunately, there were forced to close when LS&Co were closing their factories to have them made overseas.

A Real Life Magazine Story?

In 1960 we were told Life Magazine was interested in taking pictures and doing an article with an interview with the artist about the cowboy soon after the cowboy was finished.   We were all excited since Life magazine was a well known everywhere.   It would have been great publicity for the curio shop and Motel 
Unfortunately, at the last moment, they changed their mind.  We never learned the reason for their cancellation.   When we thought they were still interested in writing an article with pictures, dad had me stand next to the sign that gave the specifics of the cowboy while he took a picture.
By that time the cowboy had his denim blue jeans and a real shirt was sewn on his cement frame that had been wrapped in burlap as mentioned before.
If you look closely, you can see part of the name Levi Strauss and also part of the name of the builder, William Harry Wheeler. (sorry, this is the only picture I have)
                             Standing next to the sign.
I remember those happy days showing the big, tall cowboy comfortably wearing his blue denim Levi jeans and the yellow shirt with the blue stripes and snap buttons clearly shining in the sun and under the stars at night.
Dad had his creative ideas many times in his life that were quite exceptional; yet, he remained humble.   Perhaps if dad had sent a script or a letter to the editors of Life magazine and included pictures of everything (dad could really write an entertaining story!), I believe they would have scheduled a different time to do the article.   But alas, dad was not the type to promote his own artwork.   He never called or wrote them.

One of Judy’s Favorite Quotes.

Talent hits a target no one can hit.
Genius hits a target no one else can see.
—Schopenhauer—

 What Kind of a Cowboy Was He?

The cowboy’s image was of the 1950’s American cowboy and a rancher who worked very hard all year long on the ranch; at a time soon fast disappearing.
If you like, you can Google the entertaining movie/documentary by YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWXte6o8DoE
This film focused on the time in the 1940’s and 1950’s about the stalwart cowboy rancher my dad had already known about.  That was the cowboy’s image.
It is your story also, dedicated to the rugged men who love their jeans; being either from cowboy “country” to the sophisticated city streets of New York City and whether involved with work or at play.
As Amazon once quoted from Levi Strauss and Co, “—Levi clothes are loved by the people who wear them from presidents to movie stars, farmers to fashion icons, entrepreneurs to the everyman.   ‘Live in Levi’s’ asserts with confidence and pride that Levi’s clothes are indeed for everybody who’s not just anybody.”
Not all of you are cowboys, but you are men who enjoy and are comfortable wearing 501® Levi® original fit and tall & big original fit jeans for men.
Many of you have worn jeans for many years, but reading about the cowboy here and learning a little about his story,  I hope when you buy your jeans that you will remember the handsome cowboy who has been around for over 50 years and is still standing!!
Please comment about this story.   I would be very excited to hear from you.   You can make a short statement or ask me a question.   Thank you for reading about my dad’s story.   His name was William Harry Wheeler.   I am his 73-year-old daughter.
I am very interested in hearing from you. and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.  I will answer as quickly as possible.
Thank you for reading about the Big, Tall 47 foot cowboy
Sincerely
Judy  Kingsberry, founder of my website, https://findmejeans.com                           The big cowboy
I have edited my story here.   I have had so many wonderful responses and am thankful for such positive feedback.
Please email me and write your email, so that any new websites I build you can read a different one that I will attempt to entertain you and everyone else.  I am just having fun.
Maybe someone would like to have a discussion on what they would do to the cowboy if he was in good condition?  What would you do also with all the property now?
 Or do you think it would be a fine idea, if I made a website, just about my dad?  What would you write about your dad?   And how would you let others know about him?
I would love to see a live event as you can make here.   Thank you all.  My motto:  “Everyone has a story.”  Be sure to read my other pages and posts.   They are entertainment for all my visitors!
By by.                                    smiles on a bench