CATALINA ISLAND 2016 – Avalon’s Fourth of July Parade is always memorable with the veterans, the decorated golf carts, local personalities, the USC band, American flags, and children of all ages, but this year there will also be Clydesdales on Crescent. Catalina Beverage will be hosting the Budweiser Clydesdales for the parade. Get your cameras ready. A Clydesdale horse is named after a bread of draught horses that came from the farm horses of Clydesdale, Scotland (the old name for Lankershire) by the River Clyde. Flemish stallions were imported to breed with local mares in the region of Clydesdale, Scotland, The Clydesdale name was first used in 1826 in an exhibition in Glasgow, and the first breed registry was in 1877. The Clydesdale horse is generally bay in color with distinctive white markings, and a significant feathering (long hair) on their lower legs. Clydesdales were originally a small compact horse; however, breeding has produced taller and larger horses. They are an iconic breed that still are used in agriculture, logging, draught business, and they look powerful and impressive in parades. Budweiser Clydesdales were in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, from 1954 to 2011 carrying the City of St. Louis float. They returned for the parade in 2014. They have also been in two United States Presidential Inaugural Parades (Truman, 1949 and Clinton, 1993). Today a Clydesdale can weight 1,800 to 2,400 pounds and be 16 to 18 hands. The horses have a very active gait with lifted hooves. The Clydesdale require a horseshoe that is almost twice as long as a regular horseshoe at 20 inches from end to end, and instead of weighing about a pound, they weigh five pounds. The Clydesdale breed was placed on the “at risk” status by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust the 1990s because there were less than 1,500 breeding mares in the United Kingdom; however, in 2010 the breed was moved to “vulnerable” status, and the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy classify the Clydesdale as “at watch.” Today the estimate is 5000 Clydesdales worldwide. Anheuser Busch began breeding Clydesdales in 1944. The first Budweiser Clydesdales were a gift from August A. Busch, Jr. and Adolphus Busch to their father, August Anheuser Busch, Sr. in 1933 to celebrate the end of Prohibition. (A side note: Catalina Beverage’s founder, Louis Crow, when he was young, used to deliver groceries to August Busch, Sr. and became friends with his daughter, Lotsie and August Busch, Jr. When Prohibition was repealed, August Busch, Jr. gave Mr. Crow a Budweiser distributorship for Catalina with a handshake, not a contract.) This hitch of Clydesdales in 1933 with a red, white, and gold beer wagon delivered the first case of beer after prohibition ended from the brewery down Pestalozzi Street in St. Louis. Legend states that both the father and his two sons cried at the gift presentation of the original two, six horse hitches of Clydesdales which lead to the phrase “crying in your beer.” Budweiser Clydesdales also went down Pennsylvania Avenue to deliver the first post Prohibition beer to President Franklin Roosevelt. Budweiser Clydesdales must be at least four-year-old geldings, be bay in color, have a black tail and mane, all four feet must be white stocking, and they must have a white blaze on their faces. Budweiser Clydesdales must also be six-feet tall from shoulder to ground. Generally 10 of the Budweiser Clydesdales are transported to events like Avalon’s Fourth of July Parade. They ride in comfortable air cushioned, rubber-floored, 50-foot tractor trailers. Each one of the Budweiser Clydesdales eats about 60 pounds of hay and 25 quarts of whole grains a day. They are the designated drivers, so they do not imbibe on Budweiser, but drink about 30 gallons of water a day. They would have loved the old stables on Bird Park Road. Budweiser Clydesdales are called “gentle giants” because of their temperament. They are used to being in crowds and being the center of attention. When Catalina Beverage brings the Budweiser Clydesdales to Catalina there will be time to see them, take pictures, even selfies. And without a doubt, this Fourth of July Parade in Avalon all eyes will be on the Clydesdales on Crescent!
Story by Adele Crow
Avalon Bay News Contributing writer