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All the king’s horses

All the king’s horses

Budweiser Clydesdales will trot through downtown on Sept. 19 courtesy of Bueno Beverage

@TheSunGazette

VISALIA – The biggest horses in entertainment are coming to Visalia.

The world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales will proudly stride through downtown as part of a special event tomorrow, Sept. 19. The horse team will parade down Main Street from 2 to 6 p.m. courtesy of Bueno Beverage. For more information, call Bueno Beverage at 559-651-2444.

The Clydesdale’s have been an enduring symbol of stature and stoicism for Anheuser-Busch Brewing since the 1930s. The first team or “hitch” of Clydesdales were given as a gift on April 7, 1933 by August A. Busch, Jr. and Adolphus Busch, III to their father, August A. Busch, Sr. to commemorate the repeal of Prohibition.

A second six-horse Clydesdale hitch was used to pull a horse-drawn beer wagon down the streets of New York City to mark the end of Prohibition on alcohol by presenting Gov. Alfred E. Smith with a case of Budweiser in appreciation of his fight against Prohibition. It was the first time the horses were used for marketing and they drew a crowd of thousands as the clattered toward the Empire State Building down the busy streets of New York. It’s no surprise the horses drew such interest when you consider they are the largest horse in the world. Clydesdale horseshoes measure more than 20 inches from end to end and weigh about 5 pounds which is more than twice as long and five times as heavy as the shoe worn by a light horse.

It was so effective Anheuser-Busch decided to send the Clydesdales on a tour of East Coast drawing huge crowds everywhere they went. They even stopped in Washington D.C. to reenact the delivery of one of the first cases of Budweiser to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The actual delivery had been shipped by air and presented on the same day they appeared in New York.

Shortly after the hitch was introduced, the six-horse Clydesdale team was increased to eight. On March 30, 1950, in commemoration of the opening of the Newark Brewery, a Dalmatian was introduced as the Budweiser Clydesdales’ mascot. Now, a Dalmatian travels with each of the Clydesdale hitches.

The Clydesdales achieved national fame when they began their long-standing tradition of participating in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. Since 1954, the Budweiser Clydesdales have pulled the City of St. Louis’ float for all but two years, making their return this year after a two-year hiatus but pulling a beer wagon instead of the float. The President of the Tournament of Roses rode on the beer wagon instead of the usual classic car.

The world began to know and love the Clydesdales when they became the centerpiece of Budweiser’s Super Bowl advertising campaign. Since 1986, the hitch of horses has been featured in at least one ad in every Super Bowl. In fact, when the company announced they would not featured in the 2010 Super Bowl ad, fans took to Facebook to voice their outrage and the company swapped one of its commercial spots to a previous ad featuring the Clydesdales.

Today, Anheuser-Busch owns approximately 250 Clydesdales; they continue to be an enduring symbol of the brewer’s heritage, tradition and commitment to quality. While the famous horses will spend just afternoon in Visalia, their official home is an ornate brick and stained-glass stable built in 1885 on the historic 100-acre Anheuser-Busch brewery complex in St. Louis.

The Clydesdales also make their home at Anheuser-Busch breweries in Merrimack, N.H., and Ft. Collins, Colo., Grant’s Farm in St. Louis and at Warm Springs Ranch, the 300-plus acre Clydesdale breeding farm located near Boonville, Mo.

To qualify for one of the traveling hitches, a Budweiser Clydesdale must be a gelding at least four years of age, stand 72 inches at the shoulder when fully mature, weigh between 1,800 and 2,300 pounds, have a bay coat, four white legs,a white blaze, and a black mane and tail. For more information on the Budweiser Clydesdales, visit anheuser-busch.com.

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