Will Reddington’s passion for working with metal goes back to his days of welding, as a teenager.
Today, Reddington owns Outlaw Art Company, where he has created custom metal art for nearly 20 years. Working with metal comes easily to Reddington — his family has been involved with building and restoring classic cars for generations.
“I make all kinds of things, from realistic roses out of steel, all the way up to 40-foot, 50-foot sculptures,” says Reddington, of Lucerne Valley.
One of his recent projects took him to Sturgis, South Dakota, where more than 500,000 people gather annually for the largest motorcycle rally in the United States. At the center of the action is Full Throttle Saloon, where rally-goers are welcomed to the 600-acre campground on which the saloon is located.
The owner of the saloon, Michael Ballard, commissioned Reddington to build two massive metal sculptures for the motorcycle rally earlier this year. For the project, Reddington teamed with David Hammock, a metal artist from Huntsville, Alabama.
The two men built two sculptures to honor the lives of legendary motorcycle builders Indian Larry and Jesse Rooke, who were both killed in tragic motorcycle crashes.
The sculptures are suspended roughly 30 feet in the air and weigh several tons each. The metal sculpture built to represent Indian Larry measures 40 feet high by 40 feet long, while the sculpture for Rooke comes in at about 23 feet by 18 feet tall.
Ballard came up with the concept for the sculptures, He then gave Reddington and Hammock the freedom to create.
“Everything was just freehand. We didn’t plan anything out. We didn’t sketch anything up. We went for it,” says Reddington.
The sculpture of Indian Larry is designed to mimic his signature move – the one that made crowds roar. “Indian Larry was known for doing a stunt where he stood on the seat of his motorcycle while driving at 60, 70 miles per hour,” says Reddington.
Both motorcyclists represent the theme Full Throttle Saloon aims to embody: the working man and the building of America.
Reclaimed materials were used to build the impressively lifelike sculptures. Some pieces were even used from the remains of the Full Throttle Saloon’s original location, which was destroyed in a fire in 2015.
Reddington constructed the interior structure of the sculptures with thick, reclaimed steel pipes, a few of which originally came from oil fields in Alaska. The area surrounding Full Throttle Saloon can receive winds up to 70 miles per hour in the winter, so Reddington needed to construct the structures to withstand harsh weather conditions.
It took about three weeks for the men, working between six to 20 hours a day, to construct each sculpture. A telehandler crane was brought in to lift the sculptures of Indian Larry and Rooke onto their respective metal bikes.
The entire process was recorded by Ballard and posted on Facebook, drawing the attention of fans worldwide.
Reddington has found meaning in his art through the opportunity to work with others. He said that he enjoys the collaborative process of working with clients, listening to ideas and making suggestions along the way.
“It’s nice to be able to make someone else’s vision come true,” he said.
What’s on the horizon? Ballard is inviting Reddington and Hammock back to work on an even larger piece, which will be unveiled next August at the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.