BEMIDJI, Minn. (AP) — Five students at Northwest Technical College have completed a 10-foot-by-16-foot scale model of the Crazy Horse Memorial.

The Pioneer of Bemidji reports the model, which took about a year to build, will be placed inside the Crazy Horse visitor center this summer. It will first be open for public viewing on May 5 at Bemidji State University’s Bridgeman Hall.

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The Crazy Horse Memorial is a mountain near Custer in the Black Hills of South Dakota being carved to show a Lakota Indian warrior riding a horse and pointing into the distance. The work has been going on for decades.

From the greened valleys and sanded mountains to the thousands of replica ponderosa pines dotting the landscape, almost every part of the model has been custom-built or precisely placed by the NTC design team. Even the mountain is made from rocks taken from the actual Crazy Horse grounds.

The model was based on a bronze sculpture worth about $30,000 that was loaned to the NTC design team by Ruth Ziolkowski, wife of late sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, who began carving the mountain in the 1940s.

NTC instructor Lyle Meulebroeck said it’s been a difficult project.

“The last few weekends we’ve put in 30 hours a weekend finishing the model,” Meulebroeck said.

Student Vince Houser said the most challenging part of the project came after poking 3,000 trees in the model — then learning it would take 3,000 more trees to finish the job.

Student Anthony Milano said it was sometimes difficult making decisions about how to transform the landscape.

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“We have a rendering which we based everything off of,” he said. “But sometimes we had to ask, ‘Would this look good?’ Then we’d talk about it.”

Monique Ziolkowski, daughter of Ruth and Korczak Ziolkowski, was at Bemidji State earlier this week to see the model for the first time.

“I’m still taking it in,” she said. “This is something I’ve thought about my whole life. I was raised with this vision.”

She said she was impressed by how professional the students and instructors were last year when they came to Crazy Horse to pitch their idea of making the model and donating it to the memorial.

“You could tell by the way they acted and their mannerisms that they knew what they are doing,” she said. “I’d seen some of their work on other projects. You knew it was going to be a nice job.”

Rollie Noem, chief operating officer at Crazy Horse, said the students’ model will be prominently placed in the welcome center.

“Everyone that comes to Crazy Horse will see this,” he said. “It will be seen by millions of people.”


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