Update with videos: Shaquille O'Neal and John Rich visit downtown Columbus

ssorich@ledger-enquirer.comJuly 24, 2013 

Retired NBA player Shaquille O'Neal wasn't the only celebrity in Columbus Tuesday night.

Shaq showed up for his scheduled appearance at Mix Ultra Lounge on Broadway. A portion of the event's proceeds went to the SaMarc Dream and Achieve Foundation, a child advocacy organization. The organization's founders are Columbus natives Sam Mitchell, a former NBA player and coach, and Marc Upshaw, a former college basketball star and founder of Global Diagnostic Services.

In addition to Shaq, we spotted country music singer John Rich at Mix Ultra Lounge.

You might recognize Rich as one half of the country music duo Big & Rich, known for hits like "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)." He also won "The Celebrity Apprentice."

Apparently, Mix wasn't Rich's only stop in downtown Columbus.

At 11:29 p.m. Tuesday, Broadway hot spot Scruffy Murphy's Irish Pub posted a video on Facebook that features Rich performing at the bar.

Before posting the video, Scruffy Murphy's posted this status update on Facebook: "What a night ...!!! Big and Rich arrived in to the throng of Rangers from Rendevouz and he insisted (after we breathlessly hunted down a guitar (thanks to Fountain City Coffee shop) that he perform for the Rangers...whoopee, pretty amazing."

UPDATE: I chatted with Breda Gleeson, who owns Scruffy Murphy's, about the experience. She said Rich hung out at the pub for about three hours. He arrived at the venue around 9:30 or 10 p.m., Gleeson said.

Rich performed one Big & Rich song at Scruffy Murphy’s: “8th of November,” which pays homage to the military. He also interacted with the Rangers visiting Scruffy Murphy’s in conjunction with the hot spot’s Ranger Rendezvous festivities, Gleeson said. She called the singer “really nice” and “very laid back.”

She also confirmed Big Kenny, the other half of Big & Rich, wasn't present.

Why was Rich in town? We’re still figuring that out. And even though Shaq apparently didn’t visit Scruffy Murphy’s, we can’t help wondering if he likes Irish beers.

"With a name like O’Neal, we thought he’d drop in for a Guinness,” Gleeson said of the retired NBA player.

The folks at Scruffy Murphy's kindly shared these videos of Rich's performance. Here's part one.

Here's part two.

Don't miss our photo gallery of Tuesday's downtown festivities. Here's a video of Shaq at Mix Ultra Lounge.

Discussion time: Did you see Shaq and/or John Rich downtown Tuesday night?

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