Owen Wilmot made a unique rocking horse for his granddaughter 14 years ago and now has a corral of special entertainment animals.
“My daughter said she wanted a rocking horse for her daughter and I told her to find one and I’d help pay for it,” Wilmot said. “She wouldn’t settle for that so I made one for her.”
The initial pony was such a hit that Wilmot started making more.
“I called them Rockin’ Teeter Ponies,” Wilmot said. “They were so popular I started making other critters, too. I call them the 6-hour babysitter.”
That critter corral now holds buffalo, wildlife and even a Vandal in tribute to Wilmot’s alma mater, the University of Idaho. There are critters painted with colors to replicate Boise State University and other sporting teams. The NCAA gave Wilmot permission to use its logo and colors. He also will take requests for anything the customer wants.
“I make them because I enjoy it, he said. “I like to see folks enjoy them. If I wanted to make money I’d charge $200 instead of $150.”
The rockin’ teeters are a combination of teeter-totter and a rocking horse. A strong spring placed on the front of the toy makes it a rollicking ride.
“Moms said the spring must be covered,” Wilmot said. “I found tubing that was a perfect fit so there’s no pinching.”
Another improvement for the ponies came with an improvement for Wilmot, a retired dairy specialist, as well.
“I’d been single for a while and started looking on dating sites,” he said. “I started communicating with a woman from Albion.”
They are now married.
Although Wilmot still has a home in Blackfoot, he claims he lives on the road between Blackfoot and Albion.
He sells his critters at craft shows.
“I usually sell about 125 a year,” he said. “This year we’re at 240. There are a few left that I’d make a good deal on.”
Turns out the lady from Albion, now Sharon Wilmot, is an artist. She filled in after Wilmot’s mother, LaRue, 90, retired from painting.
“Sharon asks every pony what it wants to be painted,” he said. “She’ll pick up one and put it back down because it doesn’t know yet. I thank both these wonderful ladies for their help.”