The Derrick Floor Display

“The 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 project.

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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