January 4, 2013

The Culver Academies’ Black Horse Troop and Equestriennes have accepted an invitation to participate in the Presidential Inaugural parade Jan. 21 for President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden – celebrating a return to Washington, D.C., in the centennial year of Culver’s first inaugural appearance in 1913.

The 2013 Inaugural Parade marks the 100th anniversary of the Black Horse Troop’s first ride down Pennsylvania Avenue. The mounted unit served as the official escort for Vice President Thomas Marshall during Woodrow Wilson’s inaugural parade in 1913 and again in 1917. Marshall was governor of Indiana from 1909-13.

“As always, securing the invitation is the biggest challenge. It’s such an honor. I think the Troopers of a hundred years ago would be very proud to know that Culver is still a part of the parade on Pennsylvania Avenue,”  said Ed Little, director of Horsemanship operations.

Equestriennes prepare for their ride.

Equestriennes prepare for their ride.

As of Jan. 4, Culver was among 55 organizations which had accepted invitations to the 57th Inaugural Parade. There were 2,800 applications submitted to the Joint Task Force – National Capital Region, which submitted a list of eligible applicants to be reviewed by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, according to its website. That is twice the number of parade applicants for Obama’s first inaugural. The Academies was the only Indiana unit listed. Other mounted units were from Michigan, Wisconsin, and Kansas.

“We are thrilled to have received this invitation to participate in the Inaugural parade, especially since it will be the 100th anniversary of our first ride,” Head of Schools John Buxton said. “Special thanks to the Culver Inaugural Committee for helping the Obama administration see the value of tradition and perseverance — both important Culver values.”

Fifty-nine cadets from Culver Military Academy’s Black Horse Troop and 24 members of the Culver Girls Academy Equestriennes, plus members of the Horsemanship staff and adult chaperones, will make the trip to Washington. Nearly 90 horses will be transported by Sallee Horse Vans of Lexington, Ky. The weekend is much more than a parade, however, as students will tour the city and are feted by alumni and parents joining in the historic weekend.

“It is a privilege to play some small role in this quadrennial event, and we hope all Culver alumni and friends share the excitement the Academies community is experiencing,” said Director of Alumni Relations Alan Loehr Jr.

The 2013 inaugural will mark the 16th appearance in the parade for the Black Horse Troop and the seventh for the Equestriennes. After the 1917 inaugural parade, Culver went 40 years before returning to Washington in 1957 for President Eisenhower’s second term. The school has been represented by mounted units at every parade since, except in 1993 when an invitation for President Clinton’s first inaugural parade was not extended.

The parade will be televised live on several networks with uninterrupted coverage on C-SPAN.

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