If you hear the clatter of hooves this holiday season, it might be reindeer. Then again, it might be some really big horses.
The Budweiser Clydesdales, the symbol of quality and tradition for Anheuser-Busch since 1933, are scheduled to make several appearances in the area in December.
The eight-horse hitch, along with the famous red beer wagon, will start the week at the Tupelo Christmas parade on Dec. 10. Then on Dec. 12th, the “Gentle Giants” will participate in the CDF’s Business After Hours at the Mitchell Distributing warehouse in Tupelo starting at 5 p.m.
The public is welcome to attend. CDF members are free and non-members pay $5. There will be food, cold drinks, live entertainment, and the opportunity to have your photograph taken with the Clydesdales.
The Clydesdales will wrap up their week in Mississippi by participating in the Columbus Christmas parade on Dec. 14.
The Clydesdales will also be available for public viewing at the Lee County Agri Center on Dec. 11-13 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Mitchell Distributing-Tupelo has earned the Ambassador of Excellence distinction for the third consecutive year, earning it the highest honor as an inaugural recipient of the “Big Jake” award. The Ambassador of Excellence program is the standard that every wholesaler in the Anheuser-Busch system strives for. Points are awarded based on a wholesaler’s achievement of the annual KPIs. The maximum possible point award is 1,000. At the spring Wholesaler Excellence Meeting in Las Vegas, recipients of the prestigious Big Jake award were publicly recognized. MDC-Tupelo was one of only seven out of more than 700 wholesalers to achieve this recognition. As part of the award, MDC-Tupelo receives a commemorative Clydesdales trophy to be personally delivered by the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales hitch.
The Clydesdales’ appearance in Mississippi is one of hundreds made annually by the traveling hitches. Canadians of Scottish descent brought the first Clydesdales to America in the mid-1800’s. Today, the giant draft horses are used primarily for breeding and show.
Horses chosen for the Budweiser Clydesdale hitch must be at least three years of age, stand approximately 18 hands — or six feet — at the shoulder, weigh an average of 2,000 pounds, must be bay in color, have four white legs and a blaze of white on the face and black mane and tail. A gentle temperament is very important as hitch horses meet millions of people each year.
A single Clydesdale hitch horse will consume as much as 20-25 quarts of feed, 40-50 pounds of hay and 30 gallons of water per day.
Each hitch travels with a Dalmatian. In the early days of brewing, Dalmatians were bred and trained to protect the horses and guard the wagon when the driver went inside to make deliveries.