Famous Budweiser Clydesdales visit Idaho Falls for local grower day celebration
IDAHO FALLS — A group of eight world-famous horses for a beer company made their way to a local park on Tuesday with a crowd of excited spectators.
The Budweiser Clydesdales marched into Idaho and made stops in St. Anthony for a Pioneer Day Parade on Saturday and in Idaho Falls at Tautphaus Park for the Anheuser-Busch Annual Grower Day Celebration.
“Everybody loves the Clydesdales. Everybody wants to see them. They are awesome animals,” said Doug Peck, Idaho regional agronomy manager for Anheuser-Busch. “Each year, we try to have an event to recognize our farmers. Idaho is an extremely important area for Anheuser-Busch. It’s been a tradition to invite the Clydesdales to the event.”
The eight-horse hitch in Tautphaus Park was harnessed to the iconic turn-of-the-century beer wagon. Crew members polished the wagon in front of spectators while a demonstration took place as handlers carefully took the horses out of big semi trucks and put on their harnesses. Each horse averages about 2,000 pounds.
“It’s a great feeling seeing all these people around here and being able to hook all eight of them (the horses) to the wagon, seeing everyone’s smiling faces and seeing how excited they all are. It’s a really great feeling for the work that we put in,” said Lane Soendker, a Clydesdale handler.
Soendker had been a handler for the Clydesdales for six years. He said the team travels 300 days during the year on the west coast.
“We travel with 10 horses and two Dalmatians and three semis. There’s typically seven handlers that also make up our team. So it’s a lot to go down the road every day,” he said.
According to a news release from the Warm Springs Ranch, home of the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales, the Clydesdales’ appearances in Idaho are two of hundreds made annually by three teams of traveling hitches based out of the St. Louis Brewery. There are two other hitches in America.
“They are a staple in the heritage of Budweiser. Whenever you think of the Super Bowl, you think of Clydesdales, so that’s a way that we get the brand out there. The Clydesdales have been around since 1933 since we repealed prohibition. So next year will be our 90th anniversary. So it’s going to be a big year for us,” said Soendker.
Before the Clydesdales got to Idaho Falls, Soendker said they were in Los Angeles for the MLB All Star game. It took two travel days to get to Idaho Falls. From here, they will head to Rock Springs, Wyoming.