By Bryce Cornatzer
4 August 2014
Musician and political activist Ted Nugent spoke before a Tea Party audience in Emblem Saturday.
Nugent's plane touched-down just before 11 am Saturday in Greybull. Seven Big Horn County Sheriff Department vehicles then escorted Nugent from the airport to Fallowfield Ranch in Emblem.
Big Horn County Sheriff Ken Blackburn said he was called for security when Nugent's attendance at the annual Big Horn Basin Tea Party Picnic was confirmed. Blackburn said all of his men were volunteering their time to hear Nugent speak, but he would likely still be grilled over using county fuel to transport a non-political official.
“If I am I am,” said Blackburn. “It's my job. I pay $25 for the privilege. Have at 'er.”
Nugent had time to eat a modest lunch before being ushered to the stage where he would speak following Retired Major General and former FOX News commentator, Paul Vallely.
Nugent was sitting on the front porch of the DiLorenzon's home when photographer Nick Allen was escorted there for a private meeting. Allen is the proprietor of Nick Allen Photography in Powell. Allen admires Nugent for his musical career and his stance on the second amendment. From his satchel, Allen produced a black "Don't Tread on Me" flag and a silver pen, handing them to Nugent for a signature.
"It used to read 'Don't Ted on Me,'" said Nugent, taking-up the pen to sign the flag.
Allen related a story to Nugent involving the Powell High 2014 yearbook. Allen took a photo of a female client who is an avid hunter. In the photo, she posed with a shotgun resting over her right shoulder as she looked into the camera's lens over her left. Allen was told by his client that the photo was rejected because of the presence of a firearm.
"Pus....," said Nugent. "This is a Wyoming publication?"
Allen answered, yes.
"I shared it with the public," said Allen, "and I was concerned that my business might suffer, but it was the right thing to do. I shared it with everybody and we got overwhelming support."
The photo was included in the 2014 yearbook. Allen credits the decision to include the photo to his information campaign to expose the school's decision. Nugent nodded his head in full approval.
"That's what is takes," said Nugent. "You need to push them back."
Nugent shook Allen's hand before parting, allowing time for Nugent to prepare for his appearance.
Walking back to the tent, opening ceremonies were already underway when Allen said that his campaign to defend his artistic work had the opposite impact on his business than what he expected.
"We've gotten some business because of it," said Allen. "Some of the people here are now our clients."
Nugent began his speech talking to his foray into politics. He said his concerts were not just concerts, but meetings with honest Americans. Over the years, Nugent said he's seen those meetings become more forlorn and anger-ridden.
“I'm surrounded by such positive people,” said Nugent, “sometimes I have to peek into the depths of absurdity to witness the outrage at the hands of our government.”
Reminiscing of America's better times were soon supplanted by the rhetoric for which Nugent is so well known.
Nugent characterized America as a “hellhole on the fast-track to spiritual suicide.”
“The curse in this country isn't Obama,” said Nugent, “it's those of us that knew he was a community organizer scammer; that he doesn't have the credentials to drive my tour bus; that he's a bad man. He represents communism; he represents socialism. His entire history is ripe with anti-American, anti-freedom, anti-constitution, anti-independence, anti-entrepreneurship, and we still elected him. He's not the enemy, the non-voters are. Your friends who were too busy to vote are the enemy.”
Nugent's comments are pointed and unfiltered. His speech has gotten him trouble before, such as when he called the President a “subhuman mongrel,” a statement for which he later apologized.
Nugent says not all of the trouble in which he lands is his fault. He blamed a string of concert cancellations following derogatory statements made about Native Americans on the liberal press. Nugent says he called protestors at one of his concerts “unclean vermin.” He claims that statement was later misdirected by the press at Native Americans.
“I am the best friend to the Native Americans,” said Nugent, “and the media knew that there were enough dumb people to buy a headline if it was repeated often enough. I speak to children's organizations every week. I have a Ted Nugent camp for kids. I'm invited into all the different reservations to speak to these poor, forlorn, substance-abusing, paint-sniffing, obese children of the Native peoples.”
Nugent's speech was received with boisterous applause several time throughout. Following its close, Sheriff Ken Blackburn deputized both Major General Paul Vallely and Nugent.
Several candidates made appearances at Saturday's event. Senators John Barasso and Mike Enzi were in brief attendance. One of Enzi's challengers, Bryan Miller of Sheridan, had a booth at the picnic.
Cindy Hill was the only candidate for governor who attended, as was Sheryl Lain for Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Candidate for Secretary of State Clark Stith saw none of his challengers personally in attendance and while being associated with the sharp remarks of Ted Nugent might scare some, Stith saw a value in those voters who turned-out to hear Nugent speak.
“I try to show-up where the voters are,” said Stith. “What I appreciate about the people here at today's event is they have a great concern to make the government smaller. That's a uniform theme and that's my message in this race.”
Attendance numbers were not immediately available, but Tea Party Chairman Rob DiLorenzo called the event the most successful of all four gatherings.
The Wyoming Democratic Party took the opportunity of Nugent's visit to criticize like-minded conservatives.
A release written by Sergio Maldonado, who is currently running as a democrat for Senate in Fremont County, said, “Any individual with a modicum of integrity and self worth will distance themselves from him. Sadly, too many will jump on the bandwagon of racism simply to be seen and heard, hopefully the voters will remember their poor judgment at election time."