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Clydesdale: Parade horse Lonnie dies

Lonnie, the 19-year-old Clydesdale, died Friday. He was a favorite at many parades and events in the area. File photo

From his arrival in 1992 as a young colt, he was a traffic stopper, one of a kind. Lonnie, the 19-year-old Clydesdale, died Friday. He will not clop the parade route at the Fourth of July parade Sunday in Bemidji. His parade circuit to Park Rapids, Nevis, Kelliher, Laporte and Akeley is no more.

The Baker family at Big North Distributing in Bemidji hand picked Lonnie from photographs sent from Grant's Farm in Missouri.

The Bakers will make the choice again, said Big North Office Manager Nikki Strowbridge. "It may take a couple years before he is harness trained, but the Bakers will get another Clydesdale."

Lonnie had a beautiful home along Adams Avenue Northwest in Bemidji, with perfect white fencing. He pulled a one-of-a-kind buggy that fit the 18-hand-high horse. According to Strowbridge, he was a favorite of the neighborhood, with children often stopping by with apples to feed him. Strangers would stop in at the business just to ask if he was a Clydesdale. He may not have had the perfect four white socks, but he was admired at in all his journeys. At Buena Vista's Logging Days, the line to get a ride was always long.

Lonnie's harness will be retired, but in a couple of years the special clickety-clack of another of his breed will again grace the parades in northern Minnesota.