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Watch: Meet the B.C. man who just built an award winning gigantic fire-breathing metal dragon

Next, he's working on a humongous chrome T-rex

A gigantic, fire-breathing dragon is about to journey from the Lower Mainland to Utah.

No, B.C. isn't sending Game of Thrones-esque creatures south of the border. The 55-foot-long, 30-foot-tall beast (does that make it life-sized when it's a dragon?) is a piece of art called the Steel Drogon and was built by Chilliwack-based artist Kevin Stone.

And yes, it actually spits fire.

Building up to the dragon

Stone has built a reputation weld-by-weld. He spent more than a decade in the trades as a welder and metal worker. About 20 years ago, he shifted to the creative side after a company he worked for asked him to build a steel gargoyle. It went well, and an investor saw his work and asked him to build a huge eagle.

"Because they were such big, epic projects that sort of established my career in art," Stone says.

He's been creating gigantic metal creatures and art since, completing around 30 pieces since then. Each range from huge to gigantic; prior to the aforementioned dragon he built a $250,000 eagle for Dollywood. And it's not a small project, it's a massive piece with outstretched wings and talons leading the way as people approach the Wild Eagle roller coaster.

Drogon the Dragon

In fact, it was in front of the Dollywood eagle that a patron called to ask if he could get his own eagle. Stone said sure.

"As we were talking I said I could build other things, so he was like 'How about a big dragon?'" he tells V.I.A. "And that's what I've been working on for two years."

Stone's years of welding and working with metal have given him a broad skill set, but part of his art is natural talent. He doesn't need elaborate plans or 3-D models to build his pieces.

"I don't work with computers," he says. "I just literally print a picture off Google and scale it out."

The realistic Drogon is based on just a few photos and then handcrafted. Stone uses different tools to create whatever effect he needs from the heat-treated steel. 

"It's experience, trial-and-error, learning that something doesn't work, and something that does," he says. "The tools of working with metal are the palettes and my brush."

In the belly of the beast sits a propane system (yes, people can climb in) which Stone has hooked up to a car fob. One button turns on the ignition system, and the 'open trunk' button sends flames spewing from Drogon's mouth.

Stone started in 2020, but it wasn't a rush job, since the dragon's final home was still being determined. Recently the patron bought a 60-acre property in Utah, and Steel Drogon will have a specially built platform outside. It actually won't be far from Zion National Park, outside Toquerville, Utah, and people driving through might spot the dragon.

Fabrication on the beast has just ended and now it needs to be taken apart. Stone says that'll take place soon, and in early 2023 the job of shipping it south will take place with four semis filled with talons, wings, and a dragon's head going over the border.

The dragon is catching the eye of the metalwork and welding world. He recently was on the cover of The Welder, an industry magazine for welders, and won the grand prize in the Metal My Way contest, which takes submissions from Canada, the UK, and USA.

His other builds

While the dragon is probably the most impressive of Stone's work, he's created a pretty awesome portfolio.

There's the Dollywood eagle (once the world record holder for largest steel eagle), along with a flock of other massive birds of prey. They've gone all over, including to a Miami-based billionaire and the Harley dealership in Calgary.

He also built an 85-foot-long Chinese-style dragon. Locals may remember it in front of the PNE for a bit, or at the River Rock Casino during the year of the dragon (2012-13).

The most unusual, and probably most famous of his work, though, is one of his smaller-scale projects.

He built Elon Musk's head for the Elon goat rocket. Yes, that's a thing. Fans of Musk who run the Elon GOAT token (a form of cryptocurrency) commissioned a gigantic piece with Musk's head on a goat riding a rocket. 

Stone's working on another major project right now that'll be staying closer to home. A friend of the Miami billionaire saw the falcon and is commissioning a new beast. Stone has already started work on the new beast, which, when it moves to its permanent home, will likely be visible from Okanagan Lake near Penticton.

It's a 55-foot chrome Tyrannosaurus Rex.