Few would argue that there's not a lot going on in Western North Dakota these days, which is exactly what worried former school principle Gary Greff. As a native of Regent, a small town about 30 miles from Interstate 94, Greff knew his farming town would become yet another casualty of progress if he didn't find a way to make his town a destination in and of itself.
Then, in 1989, Greff had an "If you build it, they will come" moment when he saw a hay bale strongman built by a local farmer caused folks to pull off the road to snap pictures of the creation. With zero experience welding or creating art, he began building the world's largest metal sculptures and placing them along the "Enchanted Highway," or Highway 21.
By 2006, Greff had completed a total of seven mammoth sculptures for the 32-mile stretch of road. All are thematically related to the western North Dakota's cultural and historical roots. For instance, in one sculpture Teddy Roosevelt dominates the rolling hills, while in another, grasshoppers five times the size of a car feast on golden wheat rising from scoria rock beds.
The only sculpture visible from the Interstate 94 is "Geese in Flight," a beautiful rendering which earned the distinction of the world's largest scrap metal sculpture by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2002.
Though he continually builds prototypes and mock-ups for his next sculptures, Greff's sole funding comes in the form of contributions from visitors, either by cash donations or revenue generated at the Enchanted Highway gift shop, located in downtown Regent. He also has plans to open an RV park, dinner theater, cafe, and motel in the town to fully accommodate visitors.