Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

July 13, 2013

Horsing around with the Budweiser Clydesdales

ASHLAND — Budweiser’s iconic Clydesdales took over downtown Ashland Friday evening, when hundreds of spectators turned out to see the massive draft horses.

The eight-horse team took a couple of trips up and down Winchester Avenue and side streets but for the most part the animals were content to stand calmly while an admiring crowd pressed close and took pictures.

“They’re so big and massive. They’re just great. And I’m not a horse person. But these are worth coming out to see,” said Wilma Cordell of Ashland.

The Clydesdales arrived in Ashland in three tractor-trailers; spectators started gathering an hour before their scheduled 5 p.m. exhibition time.

The team — there are 10 in all but only eight are hitched at a time — travels the eastern United States with seven handlers. Budweiser breeds the horses on a farm in Missouri, said handled Burt Westbrook.

The team uses horses that are bay in color, with four white legs, black manes and tails, and white faces, Westbrook said.

The horses are 18 hands high at the withers — that’s about six feet at the shoulders, for the non-horsey crowd — and weigh about a ton apiece. They are immensely strong, able to pull twice that amount.

The team is on the road 320 days a year and logs between 30,000 and 40,000 miles per year.

Driving the team requires long experience, special training and the ability to control the equivalent of a 75-pound pull on the reins, head driver Dave Thomas said. “It takes years to develop the skills to drive a team like this,” he said.

Among the rewards is basking in the admiration of the crowd. “It’s a pretty big rush watching everybody watching us,” he said.

Long accustomed to gawkers, the statuesque animals are capable of standing virtually motionless while crowds press in and point cameras. Some posed their children in front of the team for pictures.

The Clydesdales were in the Tri-State courtesy of Triple Crown Beverage Group, which operates Anheuser-Busch distributorships in Ashland, Ironton and Huntington. Triple Crown scored the visit as a reward for top performance.

Budweiser introduced the Clydesdales in 1933 to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition. Besides promotional visits, the horses appear in beer commercials.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or

(606) 326-2652.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Night Moves for First Friday

    A chance to enjoy an evening run through the streets of Ashland will be among the things to do during the First Friday ArtWalk and Downtown Live for August in downtown Ashland from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday.

    July 30, 2014

  • ‘Arts in the Vines’ will be in conjunction with U.S. 60 Yard Sale

    Offering a different taste of life in Carter County, the owners of RockSprings Winery are inviting locals and visitors to the U.S. 60 Yard Sale to spend some time in their vineyards during the first “Arts in the Vines” from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday.

    July 30, 2014

  • Grimes zeroes in on women’s issues with latest ad

    Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is out with a third television ad posing questions from Grimes’ supporters to Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

    July 30, 2014

  • OEA to investigate Fairview

    State investigators are scheduled to arrive in the Fairview School District Thursday morning, The Independent has learned.

    July 30, 2014

  • Stumbo says Bissett 'handpicked' by McConnell

    Democratic Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo said Wednesday there’s an obvious reason the president of the Kentucky Coal Association has publicly defended Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s support of the coal industry.

    July 30, 2014

  • colepotteronline.jpg Acoustic jam night at Callihan's

    With the onset of  patio season, the staff at Callihan’s American Pub & Grill have adopted a new program for Wednesday’s open-invitation entertainment with the all new Callihan’s Acoustic Jam Session, providing a stage for local talent and a spotlight for a featured musician each week.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Golf scramble will benefit Paramount Arts Center

    Paramount Woman’s Association’s seventh annual Ladies’ Golf Scramble is scheduled for Aug. 11 at Bellefonte Country Club.

    July 30, 2014

  • MARK MAYNARD: Parking, history, and some wiffleball

    The calendar flips to August tomorrow and some students in the area will be back in school next week.

    July 30, 2014

  • Students need better counseling to contribute more to the region, working group says

    A group studying how education can lift the economy of Appalachian Kentucky has several ideas, including a “counseling for careers” approach that would begin for students no later than middle school and continue through high school.

    July 30, 2014

  • Tensions rise among city commission members

    The controversy about City Manager Ben Bitter’s moving expenses revealed a division in the Ashland Board of City Commissioners.

    July 29, 2014