KINGSFORD, Mich. (WZMQ) – In the midst of all the music performances, multiple food vendors, and festivities currently alive and bustling at Lodal Park, the city of Kingsford has another exciting event in store for its centennial celebration – a grand parade set to take place downtown tomorrow, amidst a “Woodward Cruise” & Car Show throughout the day. Leading the parade pack with grace and power will be a magnificent team of Belgian draft horses, with a combined weight of nearly two-and-a-half tons.
Tom Wender, the skilled team driver chosen for this prestigious role, expressed his honor at being part of the Kingsford Centennial Parade. Little did he know that when he started working on the new wagon, the color he chose would perfectly match the iconic Kingsford blue.
“We refurbished the wagon, and unknowingly when we picked the color, it’s the same as the Kingsford blue,” Wender shared, a hint of pride evident in his voice.
The team of Belgian draft horses, named Doc and Dewey, will command attention as they lead the parade. Their well-trained manes are designed to showcase their beauty on their respective sides, further enhancing the spectacle. Weighing an identical 2,220 lbs each, the duo symbolizes the strength and resilience of the city of Kingsford throughout its century-long journey.
“We’re the only team in the county, and there used to be a ton of them. So the closest team is Pembine and Crystal Falls,” Wender revealed, highlighting the rarity and significance of this awe-inspiring sight. These two half-siblings were once a wagon team and a sleigh team. Over time, they were trained to excel as a farm team and a logging team, showcasing their versatility and adaptability.
As the anticipation builds for the Kingsford Centennial Parade, the incredible Belgian draft horses, Doc and Dewey, are gearing up for their important role. These magnificent creatures, known for their strength and grace, have an impressive daily regimen, consuming twelve pounds of grain, twenty gallons of water, and forty pounds of hay each. Their combined pulling record exceeds a staggering nine thousand pounds, a testament to their power and endurance.
Team driver Tom Wender emphasized the importance of a proper harness and collar when working with these horses, ensuring their comfort and safety during the parade.
“Everything starts with a good harness and a good collar. Because you have to get the pressure points right around their shoulders, and everything so you don’t harm the horse. So the collar is really designed to fit them. And then you have to bend the hames accordingly to the collar, so there’s some technology involved,” Wender explained, highlighting the meticulous attention to detail required for this task.
Today, the wagon is being carefully staged, preparing for the grand event. Tomorrow morning, at around 8 am central, Doc and Dewey will arrive at Ford Park. With gentle brushstrokes, they will be groomed, harnessed, and expertly hooked into the Kingsford blue parade cart. Their journey will begin from Ford Park at Kingsford High School.
“These horses are special. You won’t see a team that’s gonna do a parade in the morning, and a pulling contest in the afternoon,” Wender remarked, emphasizing their unique capabilities.
The route for the Kingsford Centennial Parade will take these gentle giants, Doc and Dewey, around the town, looping back to the middle school entrance of Kingsford High School near Pyle Drive. The parade is set to commence tomorrow morning at 9 am central, promising a memorable display of community pride and celebration.
The Woodward car cruise will coincide with the parade, which also features local grand marshals, the famed treasure hunters Rick and Marty Lagina from the reality TV series The Curse of Oak Island. The car show will commence later in the afternoon around 3 pm central time at Venue 906. The parade is sure to be a community event to remember.