“When we moved Rio Grande from our original location to Mountain Avenue we were wide eyed taco slingers on a wild adventure. Opening such a palace in Fort Collins was not for the faint. Big space. We needed some style elements to put some Fantastic to the margarita show.

Stevo knew one of our beloved regulars was an artist who lived up North. We went to Jim Foster’s studio and discovered we were in the same tribe. Foster had these massive paintings and sculpture that were beyond anything we envisioned. What a delight we discovered in the Foster expression of life!

As we completed the build of Rio we needed something special to put your hand on as you moved through the space. Jim Foster offered a specially designed bronze sombrero that has become THE touch point at Rio. Put your hand on it. Feel the spirit!

We brought in a huge painting we dubbed the “Madonna”. She has greeted all to her bosom and is a integral element to the sanctuary from the problems of the world.

In our bar hangs another fascinating portrait we call “The Kiss”. This one excites the senses combined with a bit of tequila that has no doubt led to many a romance and even some children!

In our main dining area “Uncle Paul” is drifting effortlessly though the pasture as his work is done as a stud and a race horse. His shadow reminds us that life steps follow us and tell a story.

Jim Foster is a benevolent bolt of lightning to me. He ignites the senses in big bright flash-bang that sometimes causes a fire in our hearts. I, and the Rio, are here today to say thanks to Jim Foster for keeping it hot!”

– Pat McGaughran

The Kiss  |  72″ x 72″  |  Oil

“I feel it was a symbiotic response to what The Rio Grande was/is to you, and so it intrinsically expresses facets and “experiences” of The Rio. And it certainly adds mucho JOY to the environment! The works have always been a part of The Rio vibe as most who have enjoyed The Rio over the years can relate.”

– Stephen Mouton

The Rio Madonna  |  84″ x 72″  |  Oil

Uncle Paul  |  72″ x 84″  |  Oil


The owners at the time of purchase, Stephen Mouton, Pat McGaughran, and Andre Mouton were given equal time. They all were in on the commission for the Rio Sombrero. After I made the whole piece in plasticine – oil base clay, each were asked to put their hands on and mold to their likings. It was then passed on to me to make a rubber mold, then to wax, to bronze with an investment, to chasing – so all parts were crystal sharp. I could start making the Rio-Sombrero in bronze and think I could sell everything made. What if we made chocolate Sombreros? You could eat or leave up as a bronze?

The Western Hat Series is perfected with at least five different stages of improvements with each requiring a new rubber mold. Each hat is a typical form of cowboy hat from across the continent to Mexico.

The hat styles are: Rio-Sombrero, The Drover (from the Lonesome Dove TV Series), The Old Timer (ten gallon hat), Pro Rodeo (todays performance Rodeo favorite), Straw Fishing Hat (from Petrie Construction Head), and the profound favorite of all time – The Stetson. I have each style and bronzes as they have been made.

The Rio Grande Sombrero  |  7″ x 7″  |  Bronze