More than 120 King Soopers stores across Colorado have a riding horse.
Since the 1940s, kids of all ages have experienced the joy of slipping a penny into the coin slot and climbing aboard a carousel-style riding horse at a local Kings Soopers store. Turns out those penny horses have been owned and operated by one Colorado family for four generations.
Unfortunately, those memorable horses will be put out to pasture, so to speak, "indefinitely," says the grocery chain.
One family has owned and operated Roundup Music out of Sterling, Colorado, for decades, which has provided more than 120 of the chain's grocery stores in Colorado with the fiberglass riding horses.
"It is difficult, it’s nerve-wracking, it’s sad to see this era come to an end," Eddie Bennett told 9NEWS, who refers to himself as a "third-generation penny horse trainer."
In 1947, Stanley Jay Bennett made a handshake agreement with Lloyd King, and they've been supplying the penny horses ever since.
"Mr. King outlined that the cost of the rides must always remain as one cent. Nearly every person in my family has been somehow connected to this business. Whether it be painting and doing repairs on the rides themselves, or tagging along on what we have always called 'horse-calls'," writes Bennett in a Facebook page titled "Save the King Sooper's Penny Horses," which has thousands of likes and is garnering tons of support from the local community.
The family is now in the process of removing the horses from the stores and storing them in their workshop in Sterling.
There's no clear reason as to why King Soopers has decided to remove the horses, but reports suggest it could be due to the coronavirus pandemic, as they have been blocked off from use due to fear of spreading the virus. However, nothing has been confirmed.
On the Facebook page, the family is also encouraging people to "make requests to the management at your local King Soopers to bring the penny horses back." If King Soopers doesn't want the horses or they're unable to find another store to house them, the family may end up selling them.
Did you go for a ride on a penny horse at your local King Soopers when you were a kid? Comment below.