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Meet Rita the Rock Planter in Victor, a second giant wood troll sculpture in Colorado by Thomas Dambo

Meet Rita, the newest troll to grace Colorado's mountains
Meet Rita, the newest troll to grace Colorado's mountains 02:25

Just south of Cripple Creek sits the Colorado town of Victor, a mining town with sprawling mountain landscapes and rolling hills. Now, one of those hills also includes "Rita, the Rock Planter." 


"Rita is next to an old gold mine that is like from the mid-late 1800s where people would come with pickaxes and dig holes and try to search for the gold ore in the ground," Sculptor Thomas Dambo explained. 

"She took a nap back in the late 1800s and when she woke up here again, like a couple of weeks ago, she noticed a couple of small holes in the mountain," Dambo said with a smile on his face. "and she said 'Oh that's dangerous, maybe a squirrel or a human or somebody would fall into the hole and get hurt' so that is why Rita is now covering up the holes so nobody will get hurt."

Dambo famously already created one of his 100% recycled wood troll sculptures for Breckenridge, Colorado, which since its installation in 2017, has had its own legendary tale and even a reggae song dedicated to the difficulties in the placement of the wooden giant. Now he's back for another round, or, more accurately, his 119 round.

"We have trolls on 16 or 17 continents," Dambo said. "I would love to get one in every state!"

The artist never explicitly said the sculpture is in reference to trying to fix disruptions humans create for the earth, but with the backdrop of the Victor and Cripple Creek Gold Mine, it's hard not to connect the two. 


"I understand that we need resources," Dambo said. "I couldn't do this interview without the gold in the chip in the camera and the microphone, but we all have to take responsibility and leave the world at least as good if not better than when we entered it." 

Dambo also noted he was sure the mine was planning on using profits to help restore areas they had disrupted due to operations. 

When looking at his work as a whole, the sculptor is very lighthearted and said he simply wants art that everyone can appreciate, and it fun. He does intend to have people think when they see the trolls, but it's not his only mission.  

"We are emptying the natural resources of our world then we are turning them into landfills, we are filling the oceans and the air and the Earth with trash," Dambo said. "Speed that up and how does that look in 200 years if we continue like that?"

Over eight days, Rita was put together thanks to the help of around 50 volunteers, and a whole lot of wood from old pallets, now given a new purpose. 


"This is made 100% only from things that were something before," Dambo said. "I think that is a valuable lesson for all of us to understand that something made of something old can be exactly as good as something made of something new, especially made with your own hands."

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