LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. — After seven years in storage, a 25-ft giant is being restored, with plans to return to the Lake in 2021. A long-time favorite at the Lake, The Ozark Halfwit stood on Bagnell Dam Boulevard for nearly 50 years.
The hillbilly statue, originally modeled after Alfred Neuman, stood over Dogpatch with one hand holding a sign and the other held up in a wave. His planned return has already sparked excitement in the Lake community.
“Your community [Lake of the Ozarks] is one of the most passionate communities about these giants. It’s really impressive,” said Joel Baker, founder and owner of American Giants, the company doing The Ozark Halfwit's restoration. Chief Bagnell, who stands across the street from Dogpatch in front of Two-Bit Town, was restored in 2016 by the same company. American Giants did not disclose the cost of restoring the Ozark Halfwit but said that restorations usually start at $10,000 and prices go up from there.
PHOTOS: The Chief Returns To Bagnell Dam Strip 
Chief Bagnell returned to the historic Bagnell Dam Strip on Friday, Aug. 12, 2016. The iconic statue, also known as "Injun Joe", got a much-needed facelift by the crew at American Giants, after being purchased by Iguana.
Photography by Nathan Bechtold
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Around 1965, Walt Teitmeyer, the founder of Dogpatch in Lake Ozark, purchased the statue from International Fiberglass. The Halfwit was customized to hold a giant golf club to promote Teitmeyer’s miniature golf course and faithfully stood in front of Dogpatch for 48 years.
But in 2013, the Halfwit became unstable and was taken down over safety concerns.
“We’re going 50 plus years since they were made,” said Baker “Fiberglass gets brittle, they get bumped, weather is a huge problem for these guys. The sun, the winter, it’s really harsh. It takes its toll.”
Restoration starts with sanding the statue down and getting all the layers of paint off until they get to the fiberglass mold, then any cracks or holes in the fiberglass are repaired. A layer of primer is applied to the fiberglass and a fresh coat of paint is applied. Sometimes statues are repainted with new colors and slogans, but the iconic Halfwit is being returned to its original colors.
“He will look exactly like what everyone’s childhood memory is of him,” Baker said. “And that’s the thing with these giants. It’s the nostalgia, the childhood memories. That’s what really pushes this.”
Joe and Janelle Page, of SummerUSA and owner of the Half-Wit, announced in a press release that the statue will return to the Strip by the 2021 season and “are excited to see him put back in his rightful place, to be enjoyed by all, for many years to come.”
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