We love magical ponies and we don’t care who knows it

The Brony Student Organization brings together the passions of young men and “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.”

Mathematics junior Joe Dubois repaints a My Little Pony  character to make it into another character during a Bronies meeting at STSS on Saturday.

Amanda Snyder

Mathematics junior Joe Dubois repaints a My Little Pony character to make it into another character during a Bronies meeting at STSS on Saturday.

by Thom Q. Johnson

While fraternity row got sloppy on a rainy homecoming Saturday, in a basement room of the Science Teaching and Student Services building, a dozen young men sat bro-ing out to something other than football. These men are bronies: bros who love My Little Pony.

“I don’t like going to the game,” a member of the group said. “Every time I go, someone just spills beer on me.”

Every brony nodded in agreement.

Each Saturday, the members of the Brony Student Organization gather to celebrate their love for the animated series “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” in which cartoon ponies (and unicorns and pegasi) have magical adventures in the kingdom of Equestria.

“We don’t kid ourselves — it’s definitely a show marketed towards little girls,” said Nathan Wendel, an electrical engineering junior and an original founder of the group. “But as you watch the show, you realize there’s a lot more to it.”

Four 12-packs of Mountain Dew, a 12-pack of Coke and three pizzas sat at the front of the room. The bronies riffed on a fan-made music video called “Children of the Night,” which shows the Princess Luna pony stealing away children in the night.

Without watching an episode, the draw of the show for men aged 20-plus is not immediately obvious.

“A lot of children’s cartoons, like ‘Adventure Time,’ use things like double entendres to appeal to adults,” Wendel said. “But ’My Little Pony’ is on another level. The characters, story and even animation style have amazing depth.”

The episodes also have continuity that most cartoons don’t. In “Dexter’s Laboratory,” for instance, each episode starts with a clean slate. In “My Little Pony,” every installment builds on the previous, creating a storyline over the course of a season.

In brony lore, the show made the jump to an older male fan base after a few fellas started watching the show ironically after a terrible review was posted about the franchise’s 2010 reboot. The bros stuck around, and a phenomenon was born.

Now, the bronies organize dozens of brony conventions each year (including one in the works for Minneapolis), a daily news forum and scores of fan-made films.

No women were present at the Brony Club meeting on Saturday, but Wendel said that’s not by design.

“We used to have a few girls who came. They called themselves ‘pegasisters.’ For some reason, guys tend to be bigger fans of the show. I think it has something to do with guys liking ‘90s cartoons more.”

In between seasons, the group spends much of its time doing things that are not related to “My Little Pony.” They play “choose your own adventures” as a group, discuss the latest announcement of a Steam OS and Steam Box video game system, and trade geek culture references.

“Brony Club isn’t just about brushing pony manes,” junior Joe Dubois said as he carefully applied a new coat of paint to a pony miniature.

Wendel agreed that without My Little Pony, the dudes in the room would probably find another reason to get together.

“We’re all a part of that ‘geek culture’ and are glad to have something to share.”


What: Brony Student Organization meetings
When: Noon-2 p.m., Saturdays
Where: Science Teaching & Student Services building, Room 121
Cost: Free