Derrick Floor,” a highly unique bronze sculpture project
depicting four roughnecks making a connection in a fabricated
bronze drilling rig setting. Artesia MainStreet commissioned
highly respected sculptor, Vic Payne, in conjunction with
Eagle Bronze Foundry & Gallery – to work on this
To further the contributions of the oil industry, the “Pioneers
of the Oil Industry” bronze sculptures are incorporated
into the overall project. These pioneers are Martin and Mary
Yates, Mack Chase and John R. Gray.
In 1921 Martin Yates Jr. got New Mexico's first state-issued
oil-and-gas lease, working that part of the Permian Basin
sticking into southeastern New Mexico. On a site picked by
his wife Mary brought in a gusher on April 9, 1924. It became
the first commercial oil well in New Mexico and led to subsequent
discoveries of vast amounts of oil and gas. The sculpture
has his wife Mary pointing out where to drill.
John R. Gray and Mack Chase are two of the town’s
most prominent supporters. Both started their careers young
in the oil industry and became great friends over the years.
In 2001 John R. Gray passed away leaving a legacy of community
giving, friendship and a man that truly made a difference
in some many lives during his time here. Over the years Mack
Chase has diversified his talents into pecan farming, cattle
and game ranching and aviation. Mack Chase like his friend
remains a altruistic member of the community in supporting
many community projects all the while improving the quality
of life for young and old.
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