For members of Culver’s Friesian Mounted Color Guard, November will be a month to remember. It started with a trip to Lexington, Ky., to present the colors before thousands of race fans at the Breeders’ Cup and will finish with a trip down Chicago’s famed State Street as part of the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
One of the biggest Thanksgiving Day parades in the country, the McDonald’s parade will feature some of the nation’s top marching bands, performance units, and giant helium balloons. It will run from 9 to noon EST (8 to 11 a.m. CST) Thanksgiving morning and will be televised nationally on WGN 9 Chicago and streamed live on wgntv.com. More than 3.5 million people are expected to watch the parade on their televisions or online and a live crowd of 375,000 people is expected to line State Street.
It was insane. We met so many Culver alumni it was unbelievable.
Riding the Friesians will be commander Alex Krupp ’16 (Mishawaka, Ind.), Robson Macartney ’17 (Bentonville, Ark.), Chidi Nzerem ’16 (Abuja, Nigeria), Tsz Tai ’17 (Chicago), Brian Krupp ’17 (Mishawka, Ind.), and Sean Kim ’18 (Carmel, Ind.). Kim is replacing Bruno Gracian Tapia ’16 (Jalisco, Mexico), who rode at the Breeders Cup but will be unable to return in time for the parade.
The Color Guard started the month with presenting the colors Friday and Saturday at Keeneland during the Breeders’ Cup opening ceremonies. The races included the historic win by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, who retired after the race.
Mark Waller, the director of Horsemanship Instruction, said the color guard members were given unprecedented access to areas of the track during their two days there. That included the paddock area, where they met jockeys Kent DesOrmeaux and American Pharoah’s Victor Espinoza. They also met Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton and Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander. Bill Stubblefield N’76 served as the Troopers’ guide.
For Macartney, it was a tremendous experience.
“It was insane,” he said. “We met so many Culver alumni it was unbelievable.”
Organized in 2012, the Friesian Color Guard has appeared in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Bend; the Grand Floral Parade during the Blossomtime Festival in St Joseph, Mich.; the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade; and opening day ceremonies at Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Ill.