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Clydesdales gallop into Meridian

By Staff
HERE THEY COME Dave Van DeWiele leads a Clydesdale named "Greg" out of its trailer. Ten Budweiser Clydesdales will be on display for the public on Saturday at the Lauderdale County Agri-Center, and Sunday at the Golden Moon Hotel &Casino. The Clydesdales are part of the 50th anniversary of Meridian's Mitchell Distributing. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
Oct. 31, 2003
They are a sight to see 10, 6-foot-tall Clydesdales prancing through the arena at the Lauderdale County Agri-Center.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mitchell Distributing, the Meridian company is sponsoring a showing of the famous Budweiser Clydesdales.
The horses will be on display for the public at the Lauderdale County Agri-Center from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, and Sunday from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. at the Golden Moon Hotel &Casino in Choctaw. Admission is free. Rick Gerber, an Anheuser-Busch magician, will also perform magic tricks for the public on Saturday.
The Clydesdales' appearance in Meridian is one of 300 made annually by the five traveling hitches.
The team of horses and handlers arrived in Meridian late Thursday from Chicago and will head to Jacksonville, Fla., after their appearance on Sunday.
Known as the "Gentle Giants," the Clydesdales weigh between 1,800 and 2,300 pounds.
The horses chosen for the Budweiser Clydesdales Hitch must be at least 3 years old, stand at least 6-feet at the shoulder, have a reddish brown coat, have four white stockings, a blaze of white on the face and a black mane and tail.
In 1933, shortly after the repeal of Prohibition which banned the manufacture, sale or transportation of alcoholic liquors the Clydesdales became part of Anheuser-Busch. August A. Busch Jr. decided to present a hitch of the mighty horses to his father to commemorate the first bottle of post-Prohibition beer brewed in St. Louis, Mo.
Realizing the advertising and promotional potential of a horse-drawn beer wagon, Busch had the team sent by rail to New York City, where it picked up two cases of Budweiser beer at New Jersey's Newark Airport. The beer was later presented to Al Smith, former governor of New York and an instrumental force in the repeal of Prohibition.
From there, the Clydesdales continued on a tour of New England and the Middle Atlantic States. The hitch even delivered a case of beer to President Franklin D. Roosevelt at The White House.

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