T.D. Kelsey grew up on a ranch near Bozeman, Mont., and rodeoed for many years in rough stock events and team roping. He trained and showed cutting horses for several years while also flying as a crop duster like his father. Between buzzing crops and breaking horses, he sketched and studied as a student at Montana State College.
When the Vietnam War caused a serious shortage of commercial pilots, Kelsey quit school and went to work as a commercial pilot for United Airlines in 1967. Several years later he bought a ranch outside of Denver. Despite wanting to quit flying to become a full-time rancher and artist, he found himself ranching during the day and flying 727s out of Denver’s airport at night. He finally quit flying in 1979 to devote all his time to his art.
After a few years of full-time devotion, Kelsey’s career as a sculptor took off in 1985. Now his sculptures can be found in private and public collections worldwide. He is an emeritus member of the Cowboy Artists of America and a fellow member of the National Sculpture Society. His works can be found on permanent display at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Okla.; Krindler Gallery and Nancy Draper Wing at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyo.; Charles M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Mont.; Owensboro Museum in Kentucky; National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyo.; Benson Park in Loveland, Colo.; the Saint Louis Zoo in Missouri, and the ProRodeo Hall of Champions in Colorado Springs, Colo.; and two museums in Spain.
In 2019, Kelsey was invited to show at Masterworks of the West in Calgary celebrating the 100th anniversary of Charlie Russell’s Show at Calgary Stampede. In 2020, the National Ranching Heritage Center purchased 10 #1 bronzes from Kelsey.
Kelsey works out of his studio near Cody, Wyo., where he lives with his wife and fellow artist, Julie Oriet.
Visit his website at tdkelsey.com