Big Cabin Travel Plaza, food, fuel, showers and truck stop

standing brave


The Story of Standing Brave

The birth of Standing Brave’s idea came about after a trip to Maine and an unsuccessful bid to buy a 26 ft Indian statue to bring back to Big Cabin.  DeWayne Franks wanted this Indian as an attraction to his businesses that are located in the midst of the Cherokee Nation.  After recruiting an employee from the Franks & Son body shop, a plan was formulated and his idea became a reality.

Starting October 2, 2000, Wade Leslie, the then 26-year-old body man, worked tirelessly on Standing Brave. First fabricating a scale model that is now greeting customers as they walk into the Cherokee Restaurant, Wade then moved onto the big statue utilizing some 1800 ft of steel pipe and rebar for the framework.  The framework was covered with wire mesh and expanding insulation foam to form the body.  Wade meticulously carved the features of the face, hands and body into the foam that was then fiber-glassed, sanded, primed and painted. The Oklahoma state flag was cleverly integrated into the shield design.  After 801 hours of Wade’s talented labor Standing Brave was completed March 22, 2001. 

Moving Standing Brave to his home turned out to be quite a feat.  In order for the statue to be completely freestanding, a 15 ft underground footing was laid with 100 yards of steel reinforced concrete, upon which the pedestal was placed.  Standing Brave’s spear and headdress had been built into the framework for added structural support.  A wrecker on his feet and forklift on his head, Standing Brave was pulled and pushed out of the body shop, then driven across the property to his home, finally being hoisted upright by crane.  The beautiful statue and engineering marvel was moved and placed upright on August 9, 2001.

Standing Brave now stands proudly, greeting travelers at the Big Cabin Travel Plaza entrance when they come off the Will Rogers turnpike. 







A Little about the artist

Wade Leslie was born in Ojai, California, then relocated to Oklahoma in 1993. He came to work for Franks & Son, Inc., in April 1995. Put to work in the body shop, DeWayne quickly realized that Wade was indeed talented and the best body man in Northeast Oklahoma, an asset for Franks & Son. Still with the Franks Companies, Wade currently works for the Big Cabin Service Center. Wade is also a tattoo artist and resides with his family in Big Cabin.


Framework being constructed