Lois Miller loves horses.
So when she heard that the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales were visiting Kent, Ohio this past October, the 78-year-old Springfield Township woman wasn’t about to miss a chance to see them.
”These are my favorite,” she said, as she stood on the sidewalk with her husband Joe, 79, waiting for the horses to appear.
”I don’t know,” she said. ”I know God created them and they are magnificent. Absolutely magnificent. Some people get thrilled over race cars, but let me look at a horse in motion.”
At the Budweiser event police estimated that at least 2,000 people came downtown to catch a glimpse of the giant draft horses as they paraded along city streets.
The crowd was so enthusiastic that as soon as the three black, custom-made tractor-trailers carrying the eight horses and special beer wagon stopped, people encircled the trucks to make sure they got a close-up view.
Parents hoisted children onto their shoulders. And many toted cameras to capture the moment.
“This is the most exciting thing Kent has seen for a long time,” Clara Samblanet, 70, of Kent said as she and her daughter and grandchildren watched the horses being readied.
Joseph Jordan, an Anheuser-Busch market manager who lives in Rootstown Township and is a Kent State University graduate, arranged the visit with the help of Main Street Kent. The horses made the stop on their way to the Cleveland Browns game.
“They’re really pretty and big,” 4-year-old Brandon Parkhill of Kent said.
The horses, which weigh about 2,000 pounds each and stand over 6 feet tall at the shoulder, clip-clopped their way through downtown delivering Budweiser to bars and restaurants along the route.
A Dalmatian was perched on top of the red, white and gold Studebaker-built wagon. And the two drivers wore green suits.
As soon as the horses started moving, the crowd applauded.
Brad Patterson, the owner of The Loft, accepted a bottle of Bud on behalf of his bar.
“It was great,” he said. ”That’s a pretty classy operation.”
The Clydesdales, featured for years in advertising campaigns, made their debut for Anheuser-Busch in 1933, when August A. Busch Jr. presented the horses and beer wagon to his father to commemorate the first bottle of beer brewed in St. Louis after Prohibition.
Recognizing the advertising potential, the brewery sent the horses throughout the East Coast, even to deliver a case of beer to President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the White House.
Today, there are six teams of horses, with five of them traveling to hundreds of events a year.