In honor of the Cardinals’ Opening Day in St. Louis last week, I am going to dedicate this post to one of the more majestic parts of St. Louis tradition. You might know them from the Budweiser Super Bowl commercials:
They are the famous Budweiser Clydesdales.
The Clydesdales are some of the most majestic animals imaginable, and are part of St. Louis lore. Each year they march around the field at Busch Stadium for the Cardinals on Opening Day.
You can also see them during other parts of the year if you visit Grant’s Farm in St. Louis, which has about 25 Clydesdales, or the Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis for a free tour. Anheuser-Busch is headquartered in St. Louis. Here is a picture I took of one of the Clydesdales when I went on a tour of the brewery:
The Clydesdales are famous for their distinct, giant hooves that have shaggy white hair around them.
Their 9/11 tribute is one of their most famous ads:
The Clydesdales have been part of American and Anheuser-Busch tradition since 1933. They were a gift from August A. Busch, Jr. and Adolphus Busch to their father to celebrate the repeal of the Prohibition. The Clydesdales participated in President Truman’s inauguration (Truman was from Missouri), as well as President Clinton’s. Anheuser-Busch calls the horses “the living embodiment of America’s great industrial spirit.” They are so important and loved that they even get their own mascot – a dalmation that rides with them whenever they make public appearances.
They usually appear in at least one Super Bowl ad per year.
Not all of the Clydesdales make the cut to become part of the prestigious Budweiser teams, though. According to the Grant’s Farm Web site, the distinction is reserved for “only the finest Clydesdales.” Specifically, they must meet the following requirements:
1) The full-grown Clydesdale should stand 18 hands (about six feet) at the shoulder and weigh between 2,000 and 2,300 pounds.
2) The ideal horse is bay in color, has a blaze of white on its face, a black mane and black tail.
3) The Clydesdale will have white feathering on all four legs and feet. All hitch horses are geldings, characterized by their even temperament and stronger, more natural draft horse appearance.
The process is quite selective. Here’s one of my favorite ads, about a Clydesdale named Hank who gets left off the team and works hard to get picked the next year:
The Clydesdales are truly a classic must-see. A trip to St. Louis is not complete without visiting these American icons.