What do Budweiser, the Nisswa Pickle Fest, the Mighty Gulls and C & L Distributing have in common?
The Budweiser Clydesdales.
In conjunction with the opening of C & L Distributing's Anheuser-Busch Inc. warehouse in Baxter, the Budweiser Clydesdales will be available for two public events this week in the Brainerd lakes area.
The public is invited to witness Budweiser's world-famous Clydesdale hitch, complete with its turn-of-the-century red, white and gold beer wagon where a dalmatian mascot perches, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday before the Mighty Gulls game at Mills Field and at noon Saturday during the Nisswa Pickle Fest parade in downtown Nisswa. The parade is in observance of the 50th anniversary of the Pickle Factory municipal liquor store in Nisswa.
Bernadette Perryman, the C & L Distributing general manager, encouraged the public to take the opportunity to view the impressive eight-horse Budweiser Clydesdales' hitch.
"I think everyone who comes out to see them will enjoy it," she said. "When the 'gentle giants' roll into town, it's like bringing the Titanic to the smallest marina in town. We're really excited to bring them to Brainerd. We're proud of the horses. You can't see the Budweiser Clydesdales just anywhere."
Tom Dick, C & L Distributing branch manager in Brainerd, agreed that it is exciting to bring this hitch to Brainerd. He noted there are only three eight-horse Budweiser hitches that travel the United States.
Dick said the Budweiser Clydesdales represent the pride, heritage and quality of Anheuser-Busch. He expressed his appreciation that Brainerd was chosen as a summer destination for the Clydesdales.
Did you know?
-- August A. Busch Jr. wanted to commemorate the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. As a result, he presented his father with the first Budweiser Clydesdales and a bright red brewery wagon. The hitch thundered down Pestalozzi Street carrying the first case of post-Prohibition beer from the St. Louis brewery. The Busch family had the team sent by rail to New York City where it delivered beer to Al Smith, former governor of New York and an instrumental force in the repeal of Prohibition. From there, the team traveled the east coast, even delivering a case of beer to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the White House, according to an Anheuser-Busch news release. In a sense, these horses have been traveling ever since. The horses travel about 100,000 miles each year from the Rose Bowl parade to state fairs and Mardi Gras to major sporting events.
-- To qualify for a Budweiser hitch, a Clydesdale must be at least four years of age, stand 72 inches at the shoulder, weigh between 1,800 and 2,300 pounds, be bay in color, have four white stocking feet, a blaze of white on the face and have a black mane and tail.
-- Each horse will consume as much as 20 to 25 quarts of feed, 50 to 60 pounds of hay and 30 gallons of water per day.
-- The traveling hitch, which includes a total of 10 horses, beer wagon and other essential equipment, travels in three custom-built 50-foot tractor trailers. Cameras in the trailers with monitors in the cabs enable the handlers to watch the horses. Air cushion suspension and thick rubber flooring in the trailers ease the rigors of traveling.
-- Although the horses are groomed daily, special attention is given on performance days. Expert grooms spend about five hours washing and grooming the horses, polishing the harnesses, braiding red and white ribbons into the manes, and inserting red and white bows into the tails. The entire harnessing process takes an additional 45 minutes.
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