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Now that's a prank! 3,000-pound horse statues dropped on soccer coach's front lawn

'All I could see was these horses dangling in the air'

A couple of horses have been spotted on Elizabeth Street, courtesy of the women's soccer team at the University of Guelph.

On Friday night a pair of white sculptures depicting rearing horses arrived on the front lawn of 162 Elizabeth St. The concrete sculptures, which are around eight feet tall and weigh about 3,000 pounds each, were made by Bernardi Precast Inc. just down the street.

Their design is based on the hood ornament on a Ford Bronco. 

Owner Peter Bernardi explained Monday that the horses were placed on the lawn as part of a prank arranged by his daughter Anna Bernardi and the team to celebrate head coach Shayne Campbell, who lives at the home.

Often calling members of the team 'workhorses' during game pep talks, Bernardi said the team had him to drop off two big horse statues on the lawn.

"They wanted something impressive to show their appreciation for Shayne because he does so darn much for the soccer team," said Bernardi.

In an email, Anna said her team had to give a special thank you to their staff, and single out their head coach for all of his hard work this year.

"This past season, Shayne took home his second coach of the year award. Shayne Campbell is not only a well-respected coach within our university community but also a beloved 8th-grade teacher at John Galt, a lifelong Guelphite, and an active community member. We felt the call to do something extra special to thank him for his service to our program and the community." 

So, during an end-of-the-season team dinner on the night of Friday, Nov. 26, Bernardi said he and his son dropped off the horse status in front of Campbell's house.

"We have a truck with a crane and we did it stealth-like, as fast as we can, we didn't want Shayne to come home or anything," said Bernardi, who adds they tried to be as stealthy as possible. "Oh, I would say it probably took about 30 minutes."

Bernardi mentions he was hoping no one would be home at the time, but that was not the case.

Campbell's wife Judy Macerollo, who was home Friday night, recalls looking up through her window after hearing a commotion outside. 

"Her dad delivered these things and all I could see was these horses dangling in the air," said Macerollo, "I thought, 'Someone's making a mistake here,' and then I saw them trying to place them on the lawn, and I thought, 'I better go out there because this isn't the right address.'"

After going outside to investigate the situation, Macerollo spoke with Bernardi and learned about the prank his daughter had set up. Macerollo agreed to play along.

"All of the girls were under the blue spruce waiting for Shayne to arrive," said Macerollo, "It was a good joke, very funny."

As for Campbell's reaction, Bernardi said he heard from his daughter that he was in a bit of shock after seeing the horse statues.

"I think they said he passed by his house and turned around, and then they gave him a little speech, a little 'thank you' speech for everything he does," said Bernardi.

"I heard he said, 'So when are you picking the horses back up?' and they said 'Oh no, they're yours!' and he said, 'Oh no! No!'"

Bernardi said the statues will be picked up Monday afternoon and returned to Bernardi Precast.  

"They'll sit in the display yard and they will be a nice display thing," he said, "And you never know, every once in a while we'll sell one."

For Bernardi, he mentions this isn't the first time he has been involved in a massive prank like this.

"If I have a friend who turned 60 or something, or 50th or something, I would put something out front," said Bernardi, "Years ago, even my father did the same thing with a rooster. We have an 18-foot high rooster, and people would rent that and we would put that out on the lawn and we would pick it up a week later.

"So every once in a while it does happen."