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Budweiser Clydesdales still a popular spectacle

HAYFIELD —A larger-than-life spectacle wowed children and adults alike at Hayfield Hey Days last weekend.

One of four teams traveling the United States at any time, the famous Budweiser Clydesdales made an appearance Friday through Saturday on Main Street.

Eight horses are hitched to a Budweiser beer wagon, accompanied by five handlers and even a Dalmatian, who regally sits next to the drivers.

Handler Nick Margeson said the team includes 10 horses; but only eight or hitched at a time.

“Horses get days off, just like people,” he said.

There are also actually six handlers, but one always takes the day off.

The team drove through the crowd during the Mug Bog event Saturday afternoon. Margeson said the horses cannot be petted while they are hitched; however, ones who have the “day off” were on display in cages near the midway.

Three semi tractor trailers haul in the team. Margeson’s team is based at Sea World in San Antonio, Texas.

To be a handler, one must be at least 21 years old; have a commercial driver’s license or be able to obtain one; and have experiences with horses.

According to seaworld.org, a Budweiser Clydesdale must be at least 4 years old; stand 6 feet high; weigh between 1,800 and 2,300 pounds; be bay in color; have four white stocking feet; have a blaze of white on the face; and have a black mane and tail.

The Clydesdales have become an icon for Anheuser-Busch Cos.

“The Budweiser Clydesdales were a gift from August Busch when the prohibition broke in 1933,” Margeson explained. “They were delivered the first delivery to the White House post-prohibition.”

Anheuser-Busch celebrated the symbol’s 75th year in 2008.

Hayfield Hey Days, which ran from Friday morning through Sunday night, also featured Mug Bog races (vehicles compete on a mud strip to see who can plow through the furthest), the Miss Hey Days pageant, 5K Family Walk/Run, kids’ tractor pulls, parade, Princess Party, children’s games, a carnival, live music and more.