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El Gato, the Dancing Horse, Rings Bells for the Salvation Army in Hampton

This news story was published on December 24, 2012.
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Kelly and El Gato

by Jody Spear and Kelly Meyer –

HAMPTON – Kelly Reynolds and her Dancing Horse, El Gato, do more than entertain. This past Saturday, they were outside Shopko Hometown, the old Pamida, in Hampton, ringing the bell to raise money for the Salvation Army.

“We got to Shopko about 5 minutes before 1:00 pm,” said Kelly, “There were already people there waiting for us! How cool!!! The kids were lined up and waiting for pics with Mr. Gato”.

People loved it, kids were laughing and lots of cameras came out. The kids were amazed at how fluffy and soft El Gato’s fur was and how warm he was on a cold day.

“The children are asking lots of questions about what he eats and if he gets cold without a coat on,” said Kelly. “Lots of mom’s taking pics with kids next to El Gato”.

A couple kids that came to see El Gato were Alex and Juliette Koch, with their mother Annie. “Alex takes lessons and rides El Gato,” said Kelly.

Kelly and El Gato entertain the kids

“Kathy Huffman, my boss at Shopko, is the one that graciously allowed us to come ring the bells outside the store. I want to give a big “Thank You” to Kathy and to Ivan Lindloff of the Salvation Army for allowing Gato to come have so much fun today,” said Kelly with a big smile.

Fun is what everyone had, including El Gato. He rang the bells, and wanted to continue to ring the bells. If he wasn’t ringing the bells, getting pictures taking, dancing or doing tricks for the people, he was searching their coats for treats, candy canes, is what he preferred. Most of the time, if people were there, he wanted to ring the bells.

“I was worried that he wouldn’t ring the bells, but I didn’t have too, he wanted to rings the bells and got upset if I took them away,” says Kelly.

El Gato performs all over the midwest at Equine events, local fairs, parades, private parties and other unique gatherings. He does all kids of other tricks like shaking a baby rattle and honking a horn. He bows, dances, rears, sits in a bean bag and lays down.

“He concentrates so much to sit and ring the bells. He would shake the bells so hard that he almost knocked himself off the beanbag,” said Kelly.

El Gato shakes his head yes and no and answers the kids. “He was answering the kid’s questions himself when they would ask a yes or no question. I had to step in and answer when it required more than yes or no,” Kelly said laughing.

Kelly and El Gato were at Shopko for two hours. “We had a ton of fun and are looking forward to doing it again next year. Maybe we’ll do a “Tour” and hit both Fareway and Shopko if it works out.”

Alex and Juliette Koch with El Gato

Sitting in bean bag and ringing

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