NORMAN — Samo is coming home.
“Samo Ducky,” the 200-pound, yellow plaster duck that was the prototype for a series of Fiberglas duck sculptures in parks across Norman, was discovered missing Thursday from its spot in Lions Park, near the Firehouse Art Center, 444 S Flood Ave.
Norman police officials said Samo was located Friday. A resident in the area of the 8100 block of McComb Road saw the duck and called police officials about 5:15 p.m. A short time later, the duck was found near the roadway in that area.
Arrangements have been made to ensure that the duck returns home.
Firehouse Executive Director Douglas Shaw Elder, who designed the prototype — which looks like an overblown version of a child’s bathtub ducky — said he was amazed at the community’s reaction to the missing duck.
“Every time I walk outside, I see a group of people gathered around the spot where Samo stood,” he said before the duck was found.
He overheard one mother explain to her child that she didn’t know where the duck went so maybe they should go somewhere else to play, Elder said.
Children loved to kiss, climb on and hug the 4-foot plaster duck that spawned a series of 12 similar duck sculptures in 10 city parks. Unlike the plaster prototype, the other ducks are made of Fiberglas and are bolted to concrete pads. They range in colors and designs, each one decorated by a different local artist.
Twelve more duck sculptures are planned for children’s playgrounds around the city, Elder said.
The duck sculptures are a project of Norman’s Public Arts Board.
Samo, the plaster model, was due to be replaced with a Fiberglas version of himself, which already has been ordered, Elder said.
“That one will be bolted in place like the others. But we (the arts board) just had a discussion earlier this week about how to preserve the original protoype,” he said. “For sentimental reasons, I would love to have Samo back.”
Norman police say they are investigating the theft. Up to four people probably were necessary to remove the sculpture from the park.
“I don’t like to think that anyone would want to destroy the art piece. I have a great deal of faith in the community. People here are supportive of the arts. I don’t think they are destructive,” Elder said.