Debra Copenhaver Fellows
Deborah Copenhaver was born and raised on a cattle and quarter horse ranch in northern Idaho. Her father, a World Champion Bronc Rider, supported the family with his winnings. She and her younger brother Jeff grew up on the ranch often alone with their mother. Work on the ranch was shared by all, and a life long passion for horses grew from those responsibilities. It was at this time that Deborah sold her first drawings of horses. Competition was a way of life for the Copenhaver family. Deborah won barrel races before she was a teenager and was a member of the Girls Rodeo Association. She had her first race horse at twelve. Her brother Jeff roped calves and won calf roping competitions at an equally young age.
Deborah attended college at Washington State University where she earned a full scholarship. Her second year of college she attended Fort Wright College of the Holy Names in Spokane Washington where she met a nun, Sister Paula Mary Turnbull, who taught sculpture. At 19 she sculpted her first commissioned bronze for the city of Spokane, James Glover. Deborah received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a Fine Art major following study in Italy where her passion for sculpture came alive.
Deborah and her brother loaded their horses and left Washington to compete in the winter rodeo circuit . By the second go round of Houston and no winnings, Deborah loaded both horses and headed for Phoenix with just enough money to get to a friend’s ranch in Chandler. During this stay she went to Prescott and met Ernie Phippen who ran a western art foundry. Her world came together. She went back home gathered all of her belongings and returned to Prescott to get a job as a head wrangler in a dude ranch. That year she cast her first bronze… and started her art career ….Jeff won the last go-round at Houston and went on to win the World’s Championship.
Within four years Deborah was commissioned by Gonzaga University to sculpt a monument of Bing Crosby. The project took her to Queen’s New York, to Roman Bronze Works, the foundry that cast bronzes by Charlie Russell and Frederick Remington’s bronzes. This was the first of many monuments that she would create. Deborah won competitions to create veteran memorials including the Inland Northwest Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Montana State Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Washington State Korean War Memorial. She also received commissions to do monuments of Henry Kaiser, James Irvine, Frank Erwin of the University of Texas and created a monument for The Boy Scouts Of America. In 2012, she won the competition and was commissioned by the state of Arizona to create a monumental bronze of Barry Goldwater for Statuary Hall in Washington D.C. In 2016 Deborah created a monumental bust of William P Clark, California Superior Court Judge for Rancheros Visitadores in Santa Ynez, California. In 2017 San Antonia Sculpture Trail LLC commissioned a monumental sculpture of Jim Bowie for the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas.
Monumental Sculpture Installations:
1971: James S. Glover Sculpture, Founding Father of Spokane, WA • Glover Junior High, Spokane, WA
1978: Bing Crosby Monument • Gonzaga, University, Spokane, WA
1979: Adolph Coors 1 • Coors Industries, Golden, CO
1980: Benny Binion Bust • Hall of Champions, Colorado Springs, CO
1980: “Legacy of Old West Trails” • Old West Trail Foundation • Rapid City, SD
1982: William Nefsy, First Security Bank • Miles City, MT (also located in the Speaker of the House Office, U.S. Capitol Building)
1983: Inland Northwest Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Monumental 8’) Riverfront Park • Spokane, WA
1984: Tribute to the Cowboy (Monumental 12’ Equestrian) • Horseshoe Casino
1984: Frank Irwin (Monumental Bust) • Irwin Performing Arts Center University of Texas Austin, TX
1986: Henry J. Kaiser (Monumental Bust) Kaiser Aluminum Corporation • Napa Valley, CA
1986: Montana Vietnam Veteran Memorial (Monumental 14’ Sculpture) • Missoula, MT
1989: Father Arthur Dussault (Monumental Bronze Bust) Gonzaga University • Spokane, WA
1990: Boy Scout Monument, Boy Scout of America • Diamond Lake, WA
1990: Hecla Mining Company Centennial Monument • Hecla Mining Company, Coeur d’ Alene, ID
1992: Korean War Veterans Memorial • Capitol grounds, Olympia, WA
1994: Lady of the Sea Monument • Anacortes, WA
1996: San Francisco Zoo Monument • San Francisco, CA
1997: James Irvine II Monument • Irvine Regional Park, Orange County, CA
2001: “Tribute to Ranching” • Santa Cruz Fairground & Rodeo Assoc. Sonoita, Arizona
2006: “Giving Thanks” • Booth Western Art Museum, Cartersville, GA
2007: “A Texas Legacy” monument • Museum of South Texas History, Edinburg TX
2008: Boy Scout Troop 325 Monument • Boy Scouts of America Spokane, WA
2010: Boy Scouts of America Monument • Prescott Arizona
2012: Barry Goldwater Statuary Hall • United States Capitol, Washington D.C.
2016: William P. Clark, • Rancheros Visitadores, Santa Ynez, California
2017: Jim Bowie • Alamo, San Antonio Texas
“Living in Southern Arizona with her husband Fred Fellows, Deborah is devoted to creating fresh, original and accomplished sculptures which express her heartfelt feelings for the Western way of life. Surrounded by splendid Southwest scenery and a string of good horses, she is assured an ample supply of inspiration for a lifetime.” –Deborah Copenhaver Fellows
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