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Billings famous sculptor and artist dies due to Covid-19 complications



Billings, Montana – Even if you haven’t heard of Bill Rains, you’ve undoubtedly seen some of his work, such as the bronze statue of Dave McNally outside of Dehler Park or the bronze statue of Lonnie Bell inside MetraPark’s First Interstate Arena.

However, Rains’ work may be seen at sites like Graceland, the former home of the Grand Ol’ Opry, and Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace in Bakersfield.

Rains died at the age of 84 last week. Despite being vaccinated, his family believes he caught a Covid variant.

His skill was obvious from a young age.

“My Dad, as a boy, would do sketches and sell them in saloons down on Montana avenue,” one of Rains’ seven children, Jim said.

After leaving the Navy, Rains worked as a barber for ten years before quitting to pursue a career as a professional artist. He spent his life painting and sculpting landscapes, culture, and animals in Montana, but he also found a niche immortalizing many of country music’s biggest performers in bronze.

“He had grown up in Forsyth and was born in 1936, so they were a family of real humble means and his heroes were the people he would listen to in the Grand Ol Opry and their sequin suits and flashy lifestyles. They were like heroes to him,” said Jim.