How an eastern Iowa man’s life changed forever being lead driver of the Budweiser Clydesdales | Top Stories

OELWEIN, Iowa (KWWL) — Millions of fans tuned in to watch Super Bowl LVI on Sunday, but many had just as much investment in the commercials, and among the most famous of all, are the Budweiser Clydesdale horses.

One eastern Iowa man says this breed of horses changed his life, as he got the opportunity to go to Super Bowls, presidential inaugurations, and Olympics, pulling the reins behind an eight horse hitch.

Robert Detweiler currently works as a Breeding Farm Manager at Anderson Farms in Oelwein, and his entire life has revolved around horses.

“My father was into draft horses, show horses, he has the record of selling the highest priced Belgian stallion ever and ever since I was born I was involved with that,” he said.

In his early twenties, Detweiler worked on multiple breeding farms, until one day, he got a call from Budweiser, asking to be a harness cleaner for it’s East Coast hitch.

“It was incredible, it made me very proud from where I came from,” Detweiler said.

His entire childhood, Detweiler was raised Amish under one of the strictest orders in the country. Growing up, Detweiler never thought working for Budweiser would ever be an option, mainly because he only had an eighth grade education.

But, it turned out, all he needed was his love for horses and a little bit of luck.

“The lead driver was transferred to somewhere else, and another guy had hurt his shoulder,” he said. “They asked me if I could drive the horses just that one day till they brought somebody else in, and one thing lead to another an I ended up driving the horses.”

He ended up being a driver for over 10 years, performing and traveling across the world, getting to meet celebrities. He was even named one of Budweiser’s lead drivers in 1989, and says he performed in five Super Bowls, three presidential inaugural parades, and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

But in 1998, Detweiler decided to hang up his uniform and return home to Oelwein.

“There were guys that worked at Anheuser Busch for years and years and its all about timing i just had been fortunate to be there at the right place right time,” he said.

Now, Detweiler is focused on producing the next generation of Clydesdales. He says Anderson Farms has 25 Clydesdales and this year they have eight babies coming.

While he’s no longer in the limelight, he says he’s found a new passion behind the scenes. However, if he ever starts to miss it, he says he’s lucky. Just one look at the farm’s Clydesdales is enough to take him back down memory lane.

“I had amazing opportunities, it’s wonderful I can’t even put it into words.”

Detweiler also has two brothers working for Anheuser-Busch, and a fun fact: if you buy Budweiser’s limited edition holiday cans, you’ll see one of his brothers on the green can, holding the reins of a Clydesdale.


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