Golden Driller Statue – Tulsa, OK
The Golden Driller is a 75-foot-tall (23 m), 43,500-pound (19,700 kg) statue of an oil worker, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The structure is a steel frame covered with concrete and plaster. It is the sixth-tallest statue in the United States and has been located in front of the Tulsa Expo Center since 1966.
A version of the Golden Driller was originally built in 1952 by the Mid-Continent Supply Company of Fort Worth as a temporary feature of the International Petroleum Exposition. Six years later, one was erected again for the 1959 show. Due to the positive attention it attracted, the company donated the statue to the Tulsa County Fairgrounds Trust Authority which had it anatomically redesigned and permanently installed in front of the Tulsa Expo Center for the 1966 International Petroleum Exposition. The statues right-hand rests on an oil derrick that had been moved from a depleted oil field in Seminole, Oklahoma.
An inscription at the base of the statue reads: "The Golden Driller, a symbol of the International Petroleum Exposition. Dedicated to the men of the petroleum industry who by their vision and daring have created from God's abundance a better life for mankind."
In 1979, the Golden Driller was adopted by the Oklahoma Legislature as the state monument.
As part of an online promotional contest sponsored by Kimberly-Clark in October 2006, the Golden Driller has named the grand prize as a top ten "quirkiest destination" in the United States, winning its nominator a $90,000 international vacation for two.
His stats are said to include: Belt size - 48 ft in circumference, Shoe size- 393DDD, and Hat size - 112 hard hat. His belt originally read "MID-CONTINENT", but was changed in 1979 to the current buckle that says "TULSA".
On May 20, 2020, as part of Tulsa's bid for Gigafactory 5 construction by Tesla, Inc., the original "Tulsa" on the statue's belt buckle was replaced by the world "Tesla," to create a caricature of Elon Musk. This was the first time wrap advertising had been applied to the driller's face.
The Golden Driller is still the tallest free-standing statue in the U.S. He's so high that he rests his gloved right hand on a real Oklahoma oil derrick. Built of steel and concrete, he weighs nearly 22 tons and is expected to survive 200 mph tornadoes. The plaque at his base dedicates him "to the men of the petroleum industry who by their vision and daring have created from God's abundance a better life for mankind."
To show how much Tulsa now loves its mega-roughneck, in 2011 it gave the Golden Driller a thorough inspection (which found him to be in excellent shape), and coated him with a new layer of state-of-the-art mustard paint, which its suppliers said will last 100 years.