KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Missouri landmark from the Ozarks found its way to an unexpected home in the middle of Kansas City, thanks to some precious childhood memories.
For decades, a giant horse named Barney hung on the side of a Carpet Barn location on Highway 13, north of Springfield. Barney’s massive smile and cowboy hat welcomed drivers to the Ozarks for decades.
“Growing up, Barney was that landmark that I would pass by in Springfield and I would know I was almost home, you know? My family’s all from Springfield,” said Shawn Arcidino, owner of Atomic Collision in Kansas City.
Carpet Barn closed in 2017, and suddenly the friendly landmark disappeared. Arcidino said he missed seeing Barney on his drives to Springfield to visit family and friends.
“I had went down to Springfield in 2019 for holidays and I drove by Carpet Barn and he was gone. It just really upset me that he wasn’t there, you know? He was just always there,” Arcidino said.
Arcidino tracked down the new owner of the property and said he’d like to buy Barney, but never heard back on his offer. This summer, Arcidino made the drive again, and decided to drop in on his old friend.
“I just stopped in there, I’m gonna go in to see him, you know?” Arcidino said. “I walked in and I’m like, hey, can I get some pictures with Barney? They’re like yeah, you wanna buy him? I’m like yeah, sold.”
Arcidino returned to Springfield to get Barney, but before hauling the horse to its new home, Arcidino decided he needed one more taste of his childhood. He pulled into Hong Kong Inn and ordered Cashew Chicken. But he didn’t expect the reaction he received.
“I went there and just a mob of people, like ‘Is that Barney?’ ‘Is that Barney?’ That’s Barney,” Arcidino said. “So, I got my cashew chicken to-go, just because I was getting mobbed there, but yeah, he’s famous.”
Arcidino said he has Springfield roots, and promises to take care of Barney. Arcidino plans to restore the horse, and return him to the side of a barn. It may be hundreds of miles away from Springfield, but Arcidino said he knows Barney will feel at home.
“I’ve got an antique barn, I’m gonna put him back on, it’s not public but he’ll be able to be seen by appointment,” Arcidino said.