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Cadet's cowboy nearly ready to get back in the saddle again

| Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2002

MANOR — Sam has spent roughly a decade recovering from a broken leg he suffered in an automobile accident.

Don't worry, he wasn't in pain all that time; Sam is made of fiberglass.

The 20-foot fiberglass cowboy, nicknamed "Sam", is a few weeks away from making his return to the Cadet Restaurant along Route 422, just a couple of feet from where he was originally placed in 1959.

Sam's right leg was broken in an automobile accident about 10 years ago, and he laid in pieces behind the Cadet for several years.

In January, Dave Bish of Ford City responded to an ad placed by Sam's owner, George Morda, asking if anyone could repair the injured cowboy.

"I used to do body work (on cars)," Bish said, so he thought he try to fix Sam.

Sam was in bad shape when Bish began his work.

"I think I picked it up in February or March," Bish said. Sam still had his broken leg, and cracks all over his body.

"I put as much back together as I could," he said, but Sam required a bit of "plastic" surgery, so Bish molded pieces of fiberglass to put the cowboy back together.

Bish even had to get inside the body to work from the inside out, meticulously repairing Sam's shattered leg and cracked torso.

After a summer of working on Sam a piece at a time, Bish said, he's almost finished. Sam just needs his eyes painted.

"They were originally magic marker," Bish said of the eyes, but this time they'll be painted on, most likely in brown.

Sam should arrive back at his post, holding a Cadet "Po' Boy" sandwich, just in time for the restaurant's 50th anniversary.

He'll be placed a few feet from where he originally stood in front of the restaurant –- his old spot is now an exit ramp for the Kittanning Bypass.

Morda said Bish's work on Sam has been nothing short of spectacular.

"It's better than it was new," he said.

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