NewsLocal News


MEET STELLA ATOM: Route 66 gets another larger than life monument

stella atom buck atom route 66
buck atoms cosmic curios on route 66
stella atom 1
Posted at 6:27 AM, Jun 28, 2024

TULSA, Okla. — It’s being described as “history in the making” as a new landmark is planed for Route 66.

The statue of Buck Atom, the cosmic cowboy, towered over the storied road since 2019. Now on June 28, Tulsa is meeting the cosmic cowgirl: Stella Atom.

WATCH: 2 News Oklahoma's Julie Chin talked about the plans for Stella as they developed:

Huglahoma Spreads State Love and Positivity

“Her story is going to evolve over time,” Mary Beth Babcock, the owner of Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios on 66 and other sites along the Mother Road, told 2 News.

stella atom buck atom route 66

“We currently have a 21-foot-tall space cowboy named Buck Atom on the east side of the building," she added. "She’s going to land on the west side of the building. So, she is here to join Buck on his cosmic journey.”

Locals and visitors know Buck as the quirky statue along E. 11th St. However, he holds a special place in Babcock's heart. Her father, who passed away, inspired his design.

“This is kind of one of my ways to keep his spirit alive," said Babcock. "My dad was one of the nicest people, welcomed everybody, talked to anybody. That’s Buck!”

mary beth babcock dad buck atoms
An old photograph of Mary Beth Babcock's late father.

It’s only right that Buck’s new companion, Stella, is designed after her mother.

mary beth babcock stella atom mom
Mary Beth Babcock's mother.

Now, her store, a renovated 1950s PEMCO gas station, is a monument to both of them, one for countless travelers from far and wide to admire.

On June 28, the 19-foot-tall statue of Stella is traveling in one piece from Illinois to Tulsa for her dedication.

stella atom buck atom route 66
The Stella Atom statue, ready for transport.

The new monument has been in the works for just under a year, said Babcock. Stella comes straight from her imagination.

"We want her to be kind of a role model to all people, especially girls," said Babcock. "We want her to be like ‘be confident, be strong, be passionate about what you do."

From the Oklahoma wildflower on her boots, to the Route 66 belt buckle, to the Tulsa flag on her back, the magic really is in the details.

And some of those, like Stella's jet pack and ray gun, were created by Bartlesville artist Josh Waddell.

"It's like a life moment where I’m like ‘Uhh this is something that I did and it’s going to be here for a really, really long time,'" said Waddell. "I’m just happy that other people will get to see and enjoy it because I had a ton of fun making it.”


Amid near triple digit heat, Tulsan's could not be stopped from welcoming the new icon to town.

"She’s just my hero, and she can fly," said Tulsan Lottie Minick. "I’m thinking, I could probably fit in her outfit, maybe I can fly with her one day.”

Minick said it's our space cowgirl's unwritten story that excites her most. And, she thinks Stella is the perfect addition to Green Country, to keep the momentum going on Route 66.

stella atom 1

"Everbody loves her, who wouldn’t come out to see her," said Minick. "Especially if we can get the word out that she’s here by George! And then people will come in troves.”

Michael Wallis, the famed Mother Road author, also spoke at the event, which took place at 1347 E 11th St.

You can get all the details here.

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere --