What about Bob?: Barnes County museum will lose Bob the triceratops unless it can come up with $1.4 million
VALLEY CITY, N.D. - Bob, one of North Dakota's oldest residents, could be forced to leave the state soon due to money issues. Bob is one of the largest and most complete triceratops found to date, according to his owner. His 65-million-year-old b...
VALLEY CITY, N.D. – Bob, one of North Dakota’s oldest residents, could be forced to leave the state soon due to money issues.
Bob is one of the largest and most complete triceratops found to date, according to his owner.
His 65-million-year-old bones have been on display at the Barnes County Historical Society since last June.
However, unless the museum can raise $1.4 million to buy Bob from the people who excavated and preserved him, he will go bye-bye, curator Wes Anderson said Friday
“Dinosaurs don’t grow on trees. They are rare and special things,” Anderson said.
Most dinosaur skeletons in museums are replica castings or assemblages of fossils from several animals, Anderson said.
“That’s why Bob is exciting. He was one creature … wandering around North Dakota,” Anderson said.
Bob’s been a huge draw for the museum, raising monthly attendance from about 50 people to 1,000 or more on average, he said.
The triceratops is owned by Hell Creek Relics, a privately funded business run by Alan Komrosky of Valley City.
Komrosky said it took 11 years and 21,000 man-hours of painstaking work to free Bob from the rock where his bones were found in 2003, plus a steel frame that had to be built to mount the skeleton.
Now, he says the first $1.4 million to come along buys Bob, lock, stock and massive triple-horned skull and frill. The investors want their cash – including the owners of the land where Bob was found – and Komrosky has to get money to get back into the field and search for more fossils.
“We’re beating the drum constantly to find someone who will say ‘Yes, this is a worthwhile project,’ ” Komrosky said.
“I’ve put a lot of time, money and effort into it. Eventually, I’m going to have to let it go,” he said. “Finances are finances.”
Bob is 26 feet long from nose to tail and the skull measures 7 feet 3 inches from the tip of his beak to the end of his fringe. Plus, Bob has nearly 90 percent of his large bones, Anderson and Komrosky said.
The dinosaur was found in the far southwestern part of the state in Bowman County on the Craig and Bobbi Egeland ranch, a couple of miles from the South Dakota border, Anderson said.
Bobbi Egeland, Bob’s namesake, saw part of the triceratops’ shoulder in 2003 and chipped away at the area to see what lay beneath.
The remains come from the Hell Creek Formation, which spans parts of the Eastern Montana Badlands, northwestern South Dakota and southwestern North Dakota.
The fossils in that area are 65 million to 70 million years old, which puts them in the Late Cretaceous period.
Hell Creek fossils include a wide range of plants and animals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds, pterosaurs and dinosaurs, including tyrannosaurs, hadrosaurs, pachycephalosaurs and ceratopcids, which includes our buddy Bob.
Short of an angel investor appearing, Anderson said it will be tough for the museum to get the cash quick enough to keep Bob.
The museum’s budget is $70,000 a year, which pays for lights, heat and Anderson’s salary.
“It would be nice to have Bob stay; if not here, certainly in North Dakota,” Anderson said.
Komrosky said he had interest from investors in Dubai, who wanted to feature Bob in The Dubai Mall.
That honor went instead to a 155-million-year-old plant-eating diplodocus, which also was found largely intact. The Jurassic-era young adult was 80 feet long and 25 feet tall.
Bob also spent six months on eBay, though the listing was pulled.
He is now seen on the Hell Creek Relics website .
Komrosky, sounding ready to wheel and deal, said Bob could be a great fit for Fargo, with its big population and two interstates.
“In my view, somebody should say, ‘Look, we’re not going to let this get out of the state,’ ” Komrosky said. “I’d hate to see it go overseas.”
If you go:
What: Bob the triceratops
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Barnes County Historical Society, 315 Central Ave. N., Valley City, N.D.
Info: There is no admission charge, though donations are accepted.