Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.
When Richard Prazen ends work for the day at Pioneer Manufacturing & Welding, Inc. in West Valley City he stores his truck under his current project -- a 14-foot, tall metallic spider with a 27-foot diameter. Richard tells me the enormous arachnid definitely is his largest creation ever and fills roughly the entire shop.
Several months ago, Lagoon requested that Richard build the spider for its new roller coaster, "The Spider." To ensure the spider's realism, Richard spent hours researching and observing black widows. The real trick, though, came in structurally designing the giant eight-legged creation. Richard says he drew on his experience as an industrial welder and blacksmith to design the project so that it would stand securely while still looking natural ... or, at least, as natural looking as a monstrous spider can get.
Lagoon gave Richard and the rest of his colleagues at Pioneer Manufacturing six weeks to complete the project. Once the spider is completed, Pioneer Manufacturing will get back to normal business, which includes fabricating and installing custom railings, fences and furniture for homes throughout Utah.
Richard hasn't always been in the business of beautifying homes with hand wrought metal fixtures. Richard's father, Frank Prazen, started Pioneer Forging & Welding during the late 30s in Price and worked primarily on coalmine equipment. After moving to Salt Lake during the 70s, Frank and his sons, including Richard, did a lot of fleet maintenance for companies like Utah Power & Light. After Frank retired, each of the sons started his own shop. Richard named his original company Pioneer Blacksmith & Welding.
When not working on homes, Richard enjoys crafting pieces of metallic art, especially eagles. Anheuser-Busch, the Air Force Academy, the Thunderbird Flying Team and others adorn their facilities with eagles created by Richard. Other than eagles and giant spiders, Richard says he can pretty much make anything out of metal.
For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.