Rodeo-goers can catch a glimpse of American history as the Budweiser Clydesdales ride through Farm-City this year.
The act has been touring the country since its inception on April 17, 1933, when Prohibition was abolished, and a team of Clydesdales drew wagons of Budweiser beer across New England, making deliveries to former New York governor Al Smith and President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The tradition is alive and well to this day. Three separate teams tour west, east, and central United States, including yearly public appearances at the Rose Parade in Portland and the Hollywood Christmas Parade.
The team, led by trainer Todd Radermacher, will perform in the Farm-City Pro Rodeo arena this week, demonstrating the horses’ precise maneuvers, and offer an example of how the beer was once delivered.
Ten Clydesdale draft horses also will be on display near the rodeo grounds. They’re housed in a large, red Budweiser stable that allows fans to get a closer look. The horses stand upwards of 6’4” at the shoulder and weigh over one ton.
Radermacher spends his time before each show bathing and grooming the horses, making sure they’re ready for each big appearance. There are specific qualifications a horse must meet to be presented to the public.
“We like the horses to have four white stocking feet, a white blaze on its face, and a darker mane and tail,” Radermacher said.
Radermacher tours the west with seven team members, ten horses, and two Dalmatians, which are also a staple of the show. Traditionally, the dogs watched guard over the wagons during deliveries in the past.
Based out of Fort Collins, Colorado, the crew typically spends over 340 days out of the year on the road.
“The show’s been around for 85 years now. This is the fourth generation that’s been able to experience this,” he said. “It’s a special thing for grandparents, or even great-grandparents, to get to take their families to see the same show they got to see when they were kids.
“This breed of horse isn’t so common anymore. We’re here to keep the legacy alive.”