PASO ROBLES — The Budweiser Clydesdales will be returning to the Mid-State Fair for all 12 days of the fair.
Local historian and docent for the El Paso De Robles Historical Society Mike Harris said the Budweiser Clydesdales have been a fixture at the Paso Robles Mid-State Fair since 1958 and have only missed seven years.
"I was a little kid in 1959 when I first saw the Budweiser Clydesdales and they left quite the impression on me," Harris said. "I will never forget the size of them as they rode by."
Harris said that this year would be extra special because the Budweiser Clydesdales will be participating in the fair parade with their big wagon for the first time. Last year was the first year the Mid-State Fair hosted a daily parade down the main thoroughfare, but the Clydesdales were unable to attend. So this year the fair planners are offering more chances to see the horses in action.
Anyone can see the Clydesdales up close and personal every day in their stalls, located at the north-east corner of the fair, near the Hearst Equestrian Center. They will also be making special appearances in the daily parade at 4:30 p.m. on July 20, 22, 23 and 29, as well as greeting incoming fair-goers at the Main Entrance Gate starting at 5 p.m. on July 21, 26, 27 and 28. The Clydesdales will also perform at the Draft Horse Show on July 24 at 2 p.m., during the Country Rodeo Finals on July 30 at 7 p.m. and during the Extreme Team Rodeo on July 31 at 6:30 p.m.
The Budweiser Clydesdales base of operations is St. Louis, Mo., where Clydesdale Operations is responsible for maintaining and scheduling
the traveling hitches. Thousands of requests for these “gentle giants” are received each year. Events are typically requested and sponsored in part by the local Anheuser-Busch wholesaler. Each request is evaluated on the type of event, dates and history of appearances in that particular area. The official home of the Budweiser Clydesdales is an ornate brick and stained-glass stable that according to the Budweiser Clydesdales web page was built in 1885 on the historic 100-acre Anheuser-Busch brewery complex in St. Louis. The building is one of three located on the brewery grounds that are registered as historic landmarks by the federal government.
The horse are handled by the experts to ensure that in their travels they remain healthy and in top performance shape. Expert groomers travel on the road with the hitch. They are on the road at least 10 months every year. When necessary, one handler provides around-the-clock care for the horses, ensuring their safety and comfort. The Clydesdale was a farmers right hand in the 19th century along the banks of the River Clyde in Lanarkshire, Scotland, bred the Great Flemish Horse, the forerunner of the Clydesdale. These first draft horses pulled loads of more than a ton at a walking speed of 5 mph. Soon their reputation spread beyond the Scottish borders. In the mid-1800s, Canadians of Scottish descent brought the first Clydesdales to the United States where the draft horses resumed their existence on farms. Today, the Clydesdales are used primarily for breeding and show.
The 10 horses, the famous red, white, and gold beer wagon and other essential equipment are being transported in three 50-foot tractor-trailers to the Mid-State Fair this year. To learn more about the Budweiser Clydesdales visit, anheuser-busch.com/index.php/our-heritage/budweiser-clydesdales/budweiser-clydesdale-facts.