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2023 Prix de West Bolo - Toadal Bolo by Steve Kestrel

2023 Prix de West Bolo - Toadal Bolo by Steve Kestrel

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The 2023 Prix de West Collectors’ Bolo, titled Toadal Bolo, is the second bolo that Steve Kestrel has produced for Prix de West — the first being a barn owl he designed in 2003. Twenty years later, Kestrel said, his approach to designing the bolo has remained much the same: to hopefully enlighten viewers about the unique critters that we share the Western landscape with, giving them their fair share of “celebrity status.”

 This year’s Toadal Bolo, Kestrel said, is generally based on the spade-foot toads of New Mexico, specifically the species that lives in Redstone Canyon, which is the Woodhouse’s Toad. “These toads are real survivors, digging down into the soil three to five feet with their back legs to get below the frost line to survive the long winter,” Kestrel said. “They have special toenails on their back feet (thus ‘spade-foot’) to help them dig in for the winter. In southern New Mexico, where I grew up, some spade-foot toads live underground for many years when the rainfall is insufficient for them to surface and breed in the intermittent pools. Thus, it’s always a race against time for the tadpoles before the pools dry up.”

 Look closely at the bolo and you’ll see tadpoles circling the toad — this, Kestrel said, represents “renewal and forbearance” in the heart of the Southwest deserts.

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