Budweiser Clydesdales bring horsepower to Daytona Beach#x2019;s Bike Week
WHEN: 3 p.m. today, Sunday and March 15
ROUTE: From the staging area at the 600 block of North Wild Olive Avenue, Daytona Beach, the Clydesdales will travel south on Wild Olive, east on Oakridge Boulevard, south on Atlantic Avenue, west on Main Street, north on Peninsula Drive then east on Oakridge.
A team of the Budweiser Clydesdales, those huge, majestic horses that are part mascots, part ambassadors for the Anheuser-Busch brewing company, are back.
As they have at numerous past Bike Weeks, the Clydesdales team #x2014; called a #x201c;hitch#x201d; #x2014; will parade down Daytona Beach#x2019;s Main Street, one of the core areas of biker festivities. Parades are scheduled for 3 p.m. today, Sunday and March 15.
The 73rd annual Bike Week officially kicked off Friday and concludes March 16.
The Clydesdales will be pulling a restored, early-1900s beer wagon filled with a driver, assorted guest riders and the horses#x2019; own equally traditional mascot, a Dalmatian named Brewer.
Dave Thomas, supervisor of the East Coast hitch, said the horses#x2019; appeal comes from nostalgia.
#x201c;It#x2019;s something you don#x2019;t get to see every day,#x201d; Thomas said Friday as he pounded a mammoth horse shoe at the Clydesdales#x2019; temporary stables near Houligan#x2019;s restaurant, at Destination Daytona in Ormond Beach.
#x201c;You really don#x2019;t get to see eight horses pulling a wagon like they used to back in the olden days,#x201d; Thomas said. #x201c;It#x2019;s just a part of Budweiser#x2019;s heritage that we#x2019;ve continued on for all these years.
#x201c;It#x2019;s a little bit of nostalgia, especially for older people who come out. A lot of them will talk to you and remember when their dad or grandpa farmed with horses or when they had a buggy horse to go to town.#x201d;
Clydesdales weigh about a ton (2,000 pounds), which is twice the size of a regular horse, Thomas said. (A 2014 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic motorcycle weighs 879 pounds.)
A typical Clydesdale is 18 hands (six feet) tall, measured to its withers (#x201c;shoulder#x201d; area). A Clydesdale#x2019;s huge hoof requires a size 9 horseshoe, compared to a size 0 or 1 for other horses.
And, Thomas added, #x201c;A Clydesdale#x2019;s most distinctive feature from other breeds is the long feathering (hair) on their legs.#x201d;
As for the temperament of the Clydesdales, #x201c;these guys are really laid back and easy-going,#x201d; Thomas said.
The roots of the Clydesdale breed go back to farmers in the 1800s who lived along the River Clyde in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Those farmers bred a draft horse known as the Great Flemish Horse, the forerunner of the Clydesdale.
In the mid-1800s, Canadians of Scottish descent brought the first Clydesdales to the United States for use as farm horses.
The Clydesdales became linked with the Anheuser-Busch brewing company due to the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. To commemorate the occasion, two Busch sons presented a six-horse Clydesdale hitch to their father, August A. Busch Sr.
According to anheuser-busch.com, the company realized the #x201c;marketing potential of a horse-drawn beer wagon#x201d; and had a second Clydesdale hitch dispatched to New York City to celebrate Prohibition#x2019;s repeal by parading downtown.
The horses continued on a tour of New England and Mid-Atlantic states, and were part of a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in April 1933, in which a case of Budweiser was presented to President Franklin Roosevelt.
The Clydesdales#x2019; Bike Week parades will include several stops along the route. While spectators will not be allowed to touch the horses, people #x201c;will be able to get close and take pictures with them,#x201d; Thomas said.
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