Category Archives: Keith Urban

The Most Famous Stuffed Horses in Country Music

IMG_1091My family and I have attended many country concerts across Southern California in the past eight years. In 2012, we began to notice stuffed horses in the front row of concerts for artists such as Eric Church, Lady Antebellum, and Keith Urban. After seeing two grown men dressed in red, white, and blue suits get on stage with Luke Bryan and perform “Country ‘Boy’ Shake it for Me” while holding stuffed animals and wearing flashing horse necklaces, I had to know the story. I learned that this was not the first time they performed with Luke Bryan on stage. In fact Luke called them out from the crowd by name at a concert in Georgia and invited them on the stage.  (Video of them begins at 1:05)

My family and I met Joshua Zeyak, 30, in October 2013 IMG_3253at a Luke Bryan Concert in San Diego, CA where he was tailgating wearing a bright green shirt with his name printed on the front, hot pink shorts, a horse belt buckle, and cowboy boots. We recognized the stuffed horses sitting on top of his truck right away and began the conversation.

One day in 2009, middle school teacher Leo VanWarmerdam, 28, used small plastic animals to reward his students for good behavior in his classroom. Later that night, at a bar in Corona Del Mar, CA, he discovered the animals were still in his pocket. Having some fun, Leo placed a small plastic horse on the rim of his drinking glass and passed the others around to his friends. Soon after, the entire bar wanted to join in the fun leaving Leo with no more animals.

The next time out country music fan, Josh, a friend of Leo’s, brought a bigger version of the plastic horse for his cup, and the obsession grew from there. Whenever the horses were brought out strangers at every bar, party, or concert wanted to get involved!

IMG_1092Eventually the horses grew in size and now are familiarly recognized at country concerts across Southern California. Men and woman of all ages are drawn to the horses and the personalities behind them.

After meeting Josh and his sister, Jenna, in San Diego our families began to plan what concerts we were going to next. Three years and over 25 country concerts later, I can say that Josh, Jenna, and the rest of the “pony” group are like family to me.

In order to capitalize on the popularity of these horses we finally decided to create a following for them on social media. As a Public Relations student I was automatically chosen to take charge of this task for “experience” as my dad said. I don’t know how promoting stuffed horses will look to future employers, but in the end it was all for fun and games.

IMG_4111We now have a Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and website for Pony Boys USA! Here is where we share our fun experiences within the country music world. Whether it’s on stage at concerts (pictured on the right with Eli Young Band) or backstage hanging out backstage with artists’ people get a kick out of the crazy fame these horses have gained.

It may be a strange connection to country music, but Pony Boys USA and all the people involved have enhanced my experience as a country music fan. Not only do I attend more country music concerts but I also get the chance to learn how to make a website and promote a new brand. I have no idea where this will go, if anywhere, but the bottom line is we have a great time and I enjoy the added benefits of watching my “brother” sing on stage with Keith Urban all because of some small horse obsession.



Filed under Blog Post 2, Concert, Country Pop, Keith Urban, Live Music

Country Music Encounters

This blog may appear to be braggadocios. Folks may think that I’m only concerned with name dropping. I see it differently and I hope by the end of this post, you will understand. When I think about sharing country music experiences with y’all, I want to include some of the my most exciting moments. I love the genre and the artists. In fact, I really enjoy meeting celebrities, especially those whose music is woven into our collective culture. So for me, meeting some of my favorite artists has been a dream come true!

It all started with Taylor Swift.  I was a freshman in high school. This was back when Taylor Swift was considered country. I had Fearless Tour floor seats. My friends and I arrived early with an elaborately decorated poster and entered first.  We had barely taken our seats when a producer came up and asked us questions. Next thing I knew, Taylor’s Mom came out to meet us. Mrs. Swift took us on a backstage tour and into Taylor’s Green Room! Taylor visited with us and then we took some photos. It was definitely one of the best days of my life.

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The next country artist I met was the Rascal Flatts. My friend, Ariella’s Mom had been listening to the radio for chances to meet the band. After a week of calling the station, Landa won a pass for two! We met Rascal Flatts and participated in a live Q&A session that aired on 93Q! Both Ariella and I skipped class to go meet them. They were such nice guys! It was the best “sick” day I had ever taken from school.

249692_1996474202264_5227610_nI was also fortunate enough to meet Keith Urban. This story is similar to my last one about the Rascal Flatts. Landa became unstoppable at winning prizes on the radio. She also gifted us with passes and a private concert with Keith Urban! After he performed a few of my favorite tunes we had a photo op.  Keith is kind and an incredible guitar player.

574954_3714162983410_104620567_nMy most recent country celebrity encounter is my favorite. Last year I signed up for Grammy U, a program for college students who love music. I never went to any of the events until I got an email last semester about a free sound check for none other than the Zac Brown Band! I got to the venue and was pleasantly surprised to find out that we were actually going on a backstage tour. The tour guide told us that in the past, the groups never had a chance to meet with Zac. However, lucky for us, Zac Brown himself joined our group and spoke with us for about 20 minutes! I stood right next to him while he explained his process in writing a new album. He even named some of the music he currently listens to, none of which is country. I mustered the courage to ask him if he ever gets tired of performing the same songs over and over for so many years. His response was that he loves performing his more popular singles because those are the songs fans respond to the most. The energy of the audience is what keeps Zac and his peers pumped on long tours. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a picture with him. 

My experiences in meeting these country music celebrities has enriched my love for the genre. I am grateful to the artists and my dear friends for these moments that I will always cherish.  I’m also looking forward to my next country artist encounter!720x405-GettyImages-476926738


Filed under Blog Post 2, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift, Zac Brown Band