Linda Egle One talented Sandhill’s lady |

Linda Egle One talented Sandhill’s lady

Story & photos by Rosalea Gift
Thedford, Neb.

She’s a remarkable woman, a rancher’s wife, a great mother and grandmother, talented horsewoman and an incredible self-taught sculptor. Linda Egle is a one-of-a-kind person. She lives and breathes the sculptures she creates.

Linda visualizes something she wants to create and then researches the time period, the clothing and the equipment (saddles, spurs, etc.). Once she begins the project, she’s in the studio every morning to “visit” with her “subjects.” This routine continues until she completes the piece.

Walking into her studio is like visiting another planet. It is filled with marvelous creations of horses (her number-one-love after family), Indians, western items (boots, spurs, etc.), and is just homey enough that you really don’t want to hurry away. Howard Terpning prints and a few other artist’s works that she has traded her works for, adorn several of the walls. Linda’s bronzes are evident in every nook and cranny and there’s always a couple waxes that are in stages of development.

She’s done many commissioned works, sold sculptures to all corners of the world, been invited to show in some prestigious places, and through it all she remains just a good ‘ole country gal. She’s not into impressing anyone with eloquent speech, tons of make-up, fancy hair-does, or the latest fashion, but she does impress people with the pieces she creates. Once you see one, you have to have one. There’s a story with each piece.

One of the first commissioned works was a pig for the National Pork Association. Since then she’s completed a kneeling Indian with a spear, a pony express rider that is 3/4th the actual size, a large scene of a family moving cattle in the dead of winter, a squaw standing looking over the water waiting for her brave to return, a cowboy golfing, a cowgirl submerged in an old-fashioned tub, horse heads over a fence waiting to be fed, running horses, steer ropers, calf roper’s horse, four saddles from four different generations, and the list goes on. She also creates bronze feathers that adorn wooden boxes, small cowboy hats, and western pewter Christmas ornaments that are extremely popular.

Linda has just completed a bronze of two little girls who got lost one Sunday after visiting their older sister who was teaching nearby. The little girls Tillie, age 8, and Retta, age 4, were picking flowers and became disorientated and separated. People searched for three days, finding Retta alive, and four more days before finding Tillie, 10 miles north of Dunning. It was estimated that Tillie had walked approximately 75 miles before she died. The Thedford Area Community Foundation board has commissioned Linda to make 20 of the bronzes which will be sold in order to help fund a full-sized sculpture of the girls to be placed on the courthouse lawn in Thedford. The sculpture represents a piece of local history that is unique to the Sandhills’ area.

Her latest projects include a memorial arch, an Indian woman, and a steer tripper tripping a steer, plates, and of course, the Haumann girl’s sculpture. She is also working on a western hat that will be hung on a wooden box and inscribed for Thedford High School rodeo prize.

Her number one supporter is her husband, Norman. He has encouraged her, and at first, when she was a little shy; he was the person visiting with potential customers and selling her creations. He remains very proud of her accomplishments and is there to help set up and tear down shows, deliver huge pieces and accompany her to and from the foundry, whenever possible.

Linda and Norman, ranch seven miles west of Thedford on the Middle Loup River. She enjoys all the ranch activities and is outdoors as often as possible. Please call her cell at (308) 650-0855 before you drive there as she may be somewhere out in a pasture. She enjoys company and will be happy to show you her creations. ❖