Meadow Outdoor Advertising has been helping businesses grow through memorable billboard advertising since 1981. But the company also has roots in Frontier Village. Joe Zukin built the western-themed park in San Jose in 1961. The park closed in 1980, but it gave joy to thousands of visitors, especially children. Today, its solid fan base gets together for annual picnics where they share fond memories and Frontier Village memorabilia. Thanks to fans’ efforts and Meadow’s ongoing heritage project documenting the Zukin family’s business history, Meadow Outdoor has been able to bring a piece of Frontier Village’s story back to life.
Crazy Horse was a beloved Frontier Village attraction near the park entrance. Children and adults often posed for photos which they sent to their friends. It was analog social media back in the day. Crazy Horse changed hands several times after the park closed. He lived under a porch, was tucked into little visited storage, and braved the weather out in the open. He came to Meadow’s The Dalles headquarters in 2021. Decades of neglect had cracked and broken his fiberglass body. His many layers of paint were flaking and faded. He needed grooming and a team of handlers to restore him to his former glory. After workers removed all the failing paint, they made preliminary fiberglass repairs. They rebuilt part of his mane and face and patched spots on his body. With the major wounds addressed, Crazy Horse traveled to Northwest Fiberglass and Restoration for a complete refurbishing and white primer. Back at the workshop, he received a fresh coat of bright pink paint before getting new spots and the decorative elements he wore in his Frontier Village days. Like a billboard ad, Crazy Horse needed paint a scheme hierarchy to energize the design and bring out his true personality. The artist worked from old photographs and improvised as required.A new slab base and several coats of clear coat prepared Crazy Horse for his return to Meadow Outdoor. Upon his arrival, one of the staff’s dogs, puzzled by this pink horse with blue dots, warily approached. The staff was not as reserved, and General Manager Chris Zukin mounted up for a photo.Crazy Horse has had a long, adventurous journey. He lived a full life as a theme park icon, and fully restored, he is once again ready to give smiles and receive affection. The original Crazy Horse sign from Frontier Village memorializes his past. It sits near him as he greets visitors at the Meadow Outdoor Advertising company’s entry.
For a three-minute video slideshow of the Crazy Horse Restoration, visit Vimeo.
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