Steve Bacque is turning Cranford, NJ, into a one-horse town.
“People around town call me the crazy Cranford cowboy, ’cause I ride around town on this motorized horse,” the 56-year-old tells The Post.
It’s not Bacque’s first time in the spotlight. The US Marine vet and native Texan first made headlines back in the ’90s, while grieving the loss of his infant son, Paul Joseph, who was born premature with under-developed organs. As a tribute to “PJ Buckaroo,” he launched a Western-themed toy company, A.S. Bacque Enterprises Inc., staffed by workers with physical and mental disabilities.
Though he’s since sold the toy company, Bacque is hoping to toss his 10-gallon hat back into the do-gooder ring — this time with motorized horses like his own trusty steed, Charger.
After a series of back surgeries and weight gain caused him to clock in at 300 pounds, doctors warned Bacque to think about his safety.
“They told me I needed a mobility scooter. [But] I wanted to construct something that better fit me,” says Bacque.
He found Charger — so named “because I [have] to plug him in and charge him up to operate” — in June at Rodeo Zone, an “amusement ranch” in his ole homestead of Fort Worth, Texas.
He decided the steed would be the best way to get around while he recovered from bariatric surgery.
At first, Bacque says, he got a “a lot of odd looks” as he moseyed up to his bank’s drive-through window and hitched his horse to posts at the local 7-Eleven and Starbucks.
“But now, people stop, honk their horn, take pictures, give me a thumbs up,” he says, with a chuckle.
Charger, who’s powered by an electric golf cart motor, trots along at 15 to 18 miles per hour and can haul close to 600 pounds. Although he’s not actually street legal — New Jersey’s DMV categorizes the robo-horse as a “motorized wheelchair or scooter” — Bacque thinks it’s worth riding on the wrong side of the law every now and then.
“It’s a lot of fun, and a great way to get around,” says Bacque, who uses a truck when he’s not in the saddle.
Plus, he says, it’s a nice option for people with mobility challenges.
Now, he’s got his sights set on producing a mechanical herd. From there, he says, he wants to “bring smiles to faces” at corporate parties, county fairs and rodeo circuits.
“My ultimate goal with this horse is manufacturing and operating motor ponies all across the country,” says the horseman.
And he’d like to revive his old business plan of making jobs available to people who need them.
“I’m a disabled vet, and I want [the horses] exclusively made by disabled veterans and persons with developmental disabilities. If I can make a difference in at least 10 of these peoples’ lives, and their families, it’s a start.”
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