Raising money continues for statue of country legend

By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

Mark Watson is still very much a man with a personal mission.

The May 29 fundraiser and street dance for the Billy Joe Shaver bronze statue helped bring the project’s goal to an estimated 15 to 20 percent of what the outlaw country icon will need to stand downtown. But in order to realize his vision, Watson recognizes he still has work to do.

The May event was a success, having cleared about $7,000, and bringing in an average of 100 people to the event. The crowd enjoyed the music of five bands, some using the talents of Shaver’s former bandmates.

The real success of the festival, however, was the online auction.

“The auction saved us,” Watson said.

While attendance was good, it was the memorabilia that brought in just under $12,000 for combined additional funding. Several collectible pieces were up for auction, including gold records, shirts worn by Shaver, an autographed guitar donated by Martina McBride, and a pocket calendar with concert dates among the items sold to music fans.

The next goals for seeing the statue completed include planning new fundraisers (Watson is considering a memorial golf tournament), and making sure the statue looks just right.

The statue is being designed by artist Payne Lara, who also worked on the Brent Thompson statue. Like the other bronze installations downtown, the funding is paid for by individual and organizational donations, and will have a QR code that tells Shaver’s biography and also include a sample of his music.

If donations surpass the needed financial goal, additional features, such a pedestal and more defined facial details, will be added to fine-tune the statue’s look. The final approval of the statue will be granted by Shaver’s family, and Watson envisions the placement of the statue on the block near the Palace Theatre to commemorate Shaver’s legacy.

“Once we get to where we are able to get the statue covered, everything else would be great,” Watson said.

In the meantime, Watson still looks for new ways to reach out and connect with people. Until the funding goal is reached, he will continue to knock on doors and make calls every single day.

“We’re going to get this done,” Watson said.

Billy Joe Shaver passed away in October of 2020.

For more information and to donate, visit the Billy Joe Shaver Statue Fund Facebook page, the Billy Joe Shaver statue webpage, or visit the Online Payments section of the City of Corsicana website, click on the drop-down menu, and scroll until the “Donations – Billy Joe Shaver Bronze” option appears.

Tax deductible contributions can also be made by calling 903-654-4874, or sending donations to:

City of Corsicana
Attn: Parks and Recreation
Billy Joe Shaver Statue
200 N. Twelfth Street
Corsicana, TX 75110

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