The unusual gifts were hand-delivered to Bruce Arnett and his neighbors about a month ago.
The five-pound horseshoes, according to an attached note, were “worn by a member of the Clydesdale team during the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals victory parade held in downtown St. Louis.” The note also described horseshoes as a symbol of good luck.
“It was a nice, benevolent gesture,” Arnett said.
Jim Poole, general manager of the Budweiser Clydesdales, presented the gifts to Arnett, the owner of Peach Tree Farms, and other residents and businesses near the construction site of a Clydesdale breeding facility in Cooper County. The site is located directly across from Arnett’s farm just off Interstate 70 on the west side of the Missouri River.
“They’ve told us what they’re going to do and haven’t left us in the dark,” Arnett said, declining to be more specific.
In September 2006, St. Louis-based brewer Anheuser-Busch purchased 340 acres to develop a Clydesdale breeding facility. The property is situated near Overton on a bluff along the Missouri River across from Rocheport. The land was purchased by Bannon Corp., a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch, from Mark and Danette Robb, Phil Blom and Ralph and Diana Hennerich, according to the Cooper County Recorder of Deeds office.
A year later, construction of the breeding facility appears to be well under way. Workers and equipment are spread across the site, massive piles of fencing and construction materials are visible from the blacktop road, and a fence is beginning to take shape.
“Three to four weeks ago, all of the buildings but the house were torn down,” said Dennis Ficken, owner of Mo River Tire Co. located near the site. “It is my understanding that the house is where the general manager of the facility will reside.”
Construction of a 5-foot-tall, galvanized steel, white powder-coated fence began Sept. 15 and is planned to be completed by mid-October, according to Kenny Brixey, an installer for 440 Fence Co. in Dallas. “We’re putting up a little over 13 miles of fence,” Brixey said.
Anheuser-Busch hasn’t announced an expected completion date or other details, but in late August, Poole said an announcement was tentatively set for the first part of September. Ellen Bogard, communications manager at Anheuser-Busch, said in an e-mail Friday that an announcement with additional details should come in October.
“We see constant traffic,” Arnett said. “There’s just as much traffic with people checking the site out as there is with construction workers.”
Excitement about the facility continues for Cooper County residents, according to Sarah Gallagher, economic development director for nearby Boonville.
“I think it’s an excellent opportunity for the county,” Gallagher said. “Although we are unsure what the future for the facility holds, the fact that they chose Cooper County speaks volumes for potential opportunity.”
The farm would be the third breeding facility for Anheuser-Busch; the company breeds Clydesdales at Grant’s Farm in St. Louis and at a farm about 60 miles southeast of Los Angeles, near Romoland, Calif.