Love wildlife? Custom design it on a pin.

For thousands of years, the Crow Indians have admired the Bighorn sheep. Known for their large horns, sharp eyes, sure-footedness, great strength and strong heart, the Bighorn sheep are believed to have exceptional power and wisdom.

The Bighorn ram, which weighs anywhere from 250 to 500 pounds, “ruts” or butts horns with other rams, just before mating season with the ewes. The best fighter determines the hierarchy of the group.

Some U.S. troops have used the Bighorn ram as a symbol of their strength, and agility in fighting the enemy in the rough terrains of Iraq and Afghanistan.

One particular challenge coin was created in the modified rectangular shape of a dog tag with a hole at the top. The Bighorn ram was the focal point on the front of the coin.

Granted, there are many ways to create a bighorn sheep on a challenge coin. You can use color to create contrast, no color with raised and recessed metal or 3-D to show depth. This ram troop fighting in Iraq used all three to make their coin look spectacular. The head and horns of the ram, which in nature can weigh up to 30 pounds each, were created in 3-D raised antique silver metal. Then the body of the ram was created in one color (red) with raised and recessed metal.

“The effect was spectacular,” said The Monterey Company salesperson working on the account. “The main focus of the challenge coin was on the ram’s head and his menacing horns, but the red color on the body added a nice balance.”

In most cases, if an animal, such as a Bighorn sheep, is created in 3-D in antique silver or bronze metal, it cannot take color. “Think of the 3-D image as an art sculpture created in bronze,” added the designer. “If you cast it in a mold and buff it to shine, it cannot take color.”

Yet, the troop’s color was important to them, so they solved the problem together. They decided to put the color on the body, the part that wasn’t created in 3-D.

There are many ways to put sheep, eagles, cougars, bears and other fierce fighting animals on military challenge coins. Just ask our designers to show you a couple of options that will suit you.