CASPER, Wyo. — Ted Nugent, the 1970s rocker-turned-controversial conservative pundit, will speak at this year's Big Horn Basin Tea Party picnic in Emblem.
“It’s been really, really difficult to get him out here because of his calendar and his schedule, but he really wants to be here,” Robert DiLorenzo, one of the founders of the area’s Tea Party group, said Friday. “His manager called about 10 minutes ago and confirmed he’ll be here.”
The fourth annual picnic is Aug. 2 on DiLorenzo’s ranch in Emblem. Nugent will be at the event from noon to 2 p.m. Directions are on the Tea Party group's website, bighornbasinteaparty.com.
The Big Horn Basin Tea Party is one of the state’s most influential. Last year, 400 people attended and listened to speeches by sitting politicians and candidates.
This year, with the primary on Aug. 19 and the general election on Nov. 4, Tea Party organizers invited all Republican candidates for statewide office.
In addition to Nugent, retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, a regular on Fox News, will speak, DiLorenzo said.
Usually the event is free, but the Tea Party leadership will soon meet to discuss charging admission for the event.
“It’s not cheap to fly these people here,” he said.
Before moving to Wyoming, starting a law practice and organizing one of the state’s most influential Tea Party groups, DiLorenzo played drums for rock 'n' roll legend Chuck Berry in the 1960s.
Nugent is known for hits such as “Stranglehold,” “Cat Scratch Fever” and “Wango Tango.” He’s also a gun enthusiast who has recently been criticized for calling President Barack Obama a mongrel.
DiLorenzo and Nugent talked on the phone recently, before his manager called to confirm his appearance. They bonded over music before talking politics, DiLorenzo said.
“He’s been watching Wyoming, and he’s very concerned and thinks he can help,” he said.