ELKO — Located in the center of the Horizon Hospice Memorial Rose Garden, the Artzaina Zain (“The Watchful Shepherd”) statue is visible from Idaho Street.
The statue was crafted by then-Elko High School art teacher Lowell Swensied in 1969. It was modeled after Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker,” according to city sexton Jan Petersen.
When it was first installed, the statue was of a miner panning gold. In 2000, a small group of Elkoans decided to modify it. The group felt a Basque sheepherder was more representative of the community than a sluice miner. The plaque states the statue is “preserving our Basque heritage,” and mentions the Euzkaldunak Elko Basque Club.
Soon after the modification, it became a tradition to place a Basque beret and scarf on the statue during the National Basque Festival every July.
The sheepherder is located in Main City Park, surrounded by roses and plaques in memory of those who have died.