As the two iconic battling moose towered above, Dennis Riedhammer chiseled mortar away from the sculpture’s base, one rock at a time.
Riedhammer’s job this week is just one part of a process to restore the base of the bronze sculpture in East Grand Forks, Minn., which contained a serious design flaw.
Originally, the base had a lichen cover that allowed water to penetrate the concrete, Riedhammer said. Minnesota’s summer and winter temps ate the concrete and it did what concrete does in Minnesota: expand and contract and erode. “It was probably designed down south,” Riedhammer joked.
Riedhammer hopes to complete his part of the job by week’s end. Then the concrete crew arrives to finish its mission of pouring, stamping and staining the new concrete base.
In 1998, Cabela’s commissioned Beverly Paddleford of Lancaster, Wyo., to create the bronze monument for the new store in East Grand Forks. The 1¼ life-size sculpture of two sparring bull moose is called “Northern Challenge.”
The sculpture project isn’t the only work being done at Cabela’s. Inside, customers will discover that gear in the southwest quarter of the store isn’t where it used to be. Employees are altering space in what was the camping department. Backpacks now reside in what used to be the Bargain Cave, where shoppers used to find discounted clothes and gear. A sign outside the room now says, “Bargain Cave is closed.”
Bass Pro, a privately held company, bought 82 Cabela’s stores a year ago for $5 billion. The East Grand Forks store at 210 Demers Avenue, all 60,000 square feet of it, was one of them.