A dozen muscle-bound men with a soft spot for horses have shed their shirts for a calendar that is roping in dollars for rescued equines.
The $15 “Hotties With Heart” calendar hits the feed, tackle and ranch supply stores just in time for holiday giving.
It’s a fundraiser for the Sonoma CHANGE Program, a Sonoma County nonprofit group that assists local law enforcement agencies with horses that have been seized due to abuse or neglect. The acronym stands for “Coins to Help Abandoned and Neglected Equines.”
“We’re like Child Protective Services for horses,” said Katie Moore, the executive director of the Santa Rosa-based animal welfare agency.
Sales of the beefcake calendar help provide supportive foster homes for horses removed from terrible circumstances.
The cover guy in leather chaps and a white cowboy hat is Zach Clark, a Napa native who now is a working actor and model in Los Angeles. Clark volunteered for the project.
Also Mr. June, Clark poses with a pretty mare named Estrellia, a Peruvian Paso who was seized by Sonoma County Animal Services in 2014. She was rescued from a Petaluma pasture along with four stallions housed on the same property, who didn’t survive. She was emaciated, covered in fungus and suffering from rain rot, a bacterial skin infection caused by poor hygiene. But she has since been adopted and is thriving, Moore said.
Most of the other 11 pinups are local and have some connection to horses, from farriers to a personal trainer to a bull rider from Rohnert Park.
This is the second year for the glossy calendar, which sold out by Christmas last year. It is one of the newest entries in the “charity nude calendar” tradition, started by a group of older women in England who first bared some discreet skin for a calendar to raise money for leukemia back in 1999. Their wildly successful escapade was made into a movie, “Calendar Girls,” starring Helen Mirren in 2003. Since then there has been a flood of variations, with everyone from naked firefighters to semi-nude seniors at the Pleasant Pointe Assisted Living Center in Ohio, all baring a bit — but not all — for a cause.
The “Hotties with Heart,” who range in age from 18 to 50-something, bare only their chests and biceps. Last year’s calendar was a bit more risqué, but Moore said they decided to leave a bit more to the imagination, partly for the comfort of the models, who are all amateurs, except for Clark.
“It’s easier to get models when we’re not asking them to take off their pants, too,” Moore said.
This year’s models include Matt Moulyn, a student and hay hauler from Petaluma who is Mr. January, and Josh Barnacle, a “three-day event horse trainer” from Santa Rosa, who graces April.
Models are already being recruited for next year’s calendar. Moore said several guys have already taken on the challenge to chisel up by the May/June photo shoot for 2017.
The calendar is for sale online at sonomachangeprogram.com or in person at Saddles to Boots, Dave’s Hay Barn, California Horse Supply and Western Farm Center, all in Santa Rosa; Friendly Feed in Fulton; Cotati Coffee Co. in Cotati; Martin Ranch Supply in Rohnert Park; Frizelle Enos in Penngrove; Jay Palm’s in Petaluma; and Brocco’s Old Barn feed store in Sonoma. It’s also stocked by Marin Tack & Feed in West Marin and Dandelion on Potrero Avenue in San Francisco.