“Living close to Yellowstone National Park has its advantages,” relates Dan Smith, “especially when the bison rut is at its peak in July and August. There are three to four thousand bison in the park gathering in groups of 50 to 300. If you put yourself in the right place, you’re really going to see the dust fly.”
This access gave Dan a leg up at this year’s Masters of the American West Exhibition and Sale where the 30” x 48” “Heavy Hitters” took home the 2011 Bob Kuhn Wildlife Award for best wildlife painting. “It’s an incredible honor,” Smith states with awe. “I’m the youngest to have been selected for this award. You always hope that your work will be recognized, but never expect it. To be included in the ranks of Bob Kuhn, Tucker Smith, Ken Carlson and Kent Ullberg is a privilege.”
“Heavy Hitters” focus is the look in the eyes of a 2000 pound, six-feet tall by twelve-feet in length bison in rut that lets you know he means business. The ferocity of this intent combined with all that mass is an extraordinary display. The snorting and pawing of dirt builds to the point where the two males make contact. You know by the look in left-hand bison’s eyes that this is the real deal.