HN Up All Night: Horses, penguins and Wayne Newton

We knew that contributor Laura Cox has a horse fetish. What we didn’t know, until tonight, is that she also has a penguin fetish. And that she wants to steal Wayne Newton’s life.

From Laura:

We can all agree we find our ponies absolutely irresistible. What about other animals? Is there something other than horses that you secretly, or not, obsess over to the point people think you are nuts? Like John and chinchillas (no secret there) or Leslie and her bunnies?

For me, it is the alluring nature of the penguin (I’ve seen March of the Penguins, Happy Feet, and Happy Feet II more than I care to admit). Every time I enter an aquarium or zoo, I zip past every exhibit at lightening speed. When we get to the penguin exhibit, you might might mistaken me for an escaped tortoise. Unlike John and Leslie, who can easily adopt their fantasy pets, I am stuck waiting for Christmas to roll around every year so I can add to my quite impressive collection of stuffed and statue penguins. Until I discovered:

If I was to take over Wayne Newton’s life, well, the personal aspect as I lack any form of musicality (I make William Hung sound good), I would finally have that pet penguin. In fact, I could have an entire pool full of African Penguins! How exceptionally cool would that be? As it turns out, Mr. Las Vegas himself shares that love for horses and penguins with me. It should be mentioned Arabians are his breed of choice. We are connected, I say!

Reason 2913928 I need a penguin: Companion for my horse?

But, since this is not PENGUIN Nation, but Horse Nation, why don’t I fill you in a little about the entertainer’s passion outside the Vegas spotlight.

An avid horseman, Mr. Newton began his equine career breeding Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds, but in the early 1960s, he met Aramus, the namesake of his Arabian breeding program on his Las Vegas ranch, Casa De Shenandoah. Aramus was bred in 1962 by Michałów State Stud and later imported to the United States. The double champion Arabian Stallion is the foundation stud of which Newton’s Aramus Arabians has produced multi-National Champion horses throughout the years. According to an interview with the Las Vegas Sun, Newton makes all breeding decisions regarding pairing between mares and stallions, with a focus on breeding for temperament.

In 2007, for his contribution to the Arabian breed, Wayne Newton earned the first ever Arabian Breeders World Cub Lifetime Achievement Award. In response, Jo West Lauter wrote a tribute to the entertainer which you can read here.

OK, realistically, Las Vegas is nowhere on my list of places to live before I die, but if I decide to go, one place I will hit up is Mr. Newton’s 42 acre home which is soon to be open to the public. Wayne Newton announced plans for opening his home to the public in the spring of 2012 (which if you haven’t noticed has shown up early) according to The Associated Press release in the Las Vegas Sun in October 2011. Original reports indicated the home would be open in December 2011, but complications with permits pushed that date back to the spring.

So, if you are hitting up the strip in Vegas, stop by Newton’s home let me know if it’s open and send me pictures of those Arabians and penguins!

Wayne Newton: Can your penguins do this?

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