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Family that's maintained them for generations says King Soopers is doing away with penny horses

The Bennett family in northeastern Colorado has been maintaining and supplying penny horses to King Soopers stores since 1947.

DENVER — A mainstay for Colorado kids for generations (and parents looking for the cheapest entertainment in town) will soon be removed from King Soopers grocery stores.

That’s according to Eddie Bennett, whose family has maintained the horses and operated Roundup Music out of Sterling for decades.

“It is difficult, it’s nerve-wracking, it’s sad to see this era come to an end,” said Bennett, who refers to himself as a third-generation penny horse trainer.

The horses have been in King Soopers since 1947, when Bennett said his great grandfather made a handshake agreement with founder Lloyd King to place one of his penny horses in each of his supermarkets. King’s part of the agreement? That the ride stay just one cent, and they have for decades.

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Since then, Bennett said nearly every member of his family has been involved in the business, doing everything from maintaining the horses to tagging along on so-called “horse calls.”

“Of course we would like to try to hopefully put them in another location somewhere,” Bennett said. “We’d hate to see them not go out for the kids to enjoy.”

In a statement, King Soopers said it has not made any long-term decisions about the future of penny horses in stores.

"Thank you for sharing your passion for the penny horses," the statement reads. "We know how much you love them and we do too. Due to COVID-19 safety concerns we have put a pause on penny horse rides. At this point there have not been any long term decisions made regarding their future in our stores." 

Bennett said he’s hopeful that King Soopers will have a change of heart, but if not, people can call 970-522-2720 to adopt a penny horse.

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