“Touchdown” and the crowd cheers, and as the team and the fans celebrate a beautiful grey horse gallops down the field in front of the team. As equestrian’s we all see that beautiful green grass and think how much fun it would be to gallop on it, well Ann Judge Wegener gets to know what it is like every home game the Denver Broncos play.
Thunder has been the mascot for Denver Bronco since September 12th 1993, but it hasn’t been one horse. There have been three different Thunders. Thunder Sr., Thunder II and Thunder III. These horses have to have a lot of patience and stability. As a mascot they spend a lot of time on the field during the game where there is a lot of chaos, fireworks, announcers, and loud fans. They also need to go on planes, elevators, indoor appearances and too be able to visit schools and hospitals. Thunder Sr. and Thunder II had both been show horses previously before becoming the mascot for the Bronco’s. Thunder III is the only one that was specifically trained to replace Thunder II. Every Thunder has been a purebred Arabians, grey in color and each one come from great bloodlines.
Thunder Sr. aka JB Kobask was born in 1983 and lived till he was 27 years old. Thunder was a very bold horse and had a wonderful show career until he became the mascot for the Broncos. He liked to watch the players while he was resting on the sidelines. He was also trained to rear on command, but he knew when it was time to be on and when it was time to rest. He was originally asked to just run down the field when the Broncos made a touchdown, but soon that turned into him taking the game ball to the referees and also running down the sidelines after a field goal. During his time as mascot he would attend two Super Bowls in 1998-1999. He would end up being the mascot from 1993-2004 and would continue to make appearances to the public till he passed away in 2009.
Born in 1994, Thunder II or known by his owner as Winter Solstyse, had amazing breeding and was originally trained as a show horse. He was Sharon Magness-Blake’s (who owned all three Thunders) main riding and show horse. He was timid at first, and would try to jump the white numbers on the field, but he eventually grew bold and would love his job. He was great with people and loved to pose for the media. While he was waiting for his time to go on the field he would entertain himself by playing with his handlers zippers and had learned how to unscrew water bottles and would drink them by squeezing the water out of them. Thunder II was still the mascot during Super Bowl 48 where the Bronco’s played the Seahawks, but since Thunder III was younger and would be able to handle the trip better they decided to send him. Thunder II would be ready for when the team got home to lead them in the parade. He would be the mascot from 2004 -2014 and still makes appearances today. He now spends his days at the Wegeners Farm in Bennett Colorado, in a stall next to Thunder III.
The newest Thunder (Me N MyShadow) made his first appearance on the field at Super Bowl 48 and is also going to be at Super Bowl 50. He was the only one of the Thunder mascots to have been specifically trained for the position along side the Broncos. He loves his job and is not bothered by all the noise and celebration that comes with the games, he even tends to doze off during his down time on the field.
I know who I will be rooting for tomorrow since my Seahawks did not make it this year, Go Bronco’s and Thunder. Have a wonderful Super Bowl and good luck tomorrow Thunder. Have fun on the field.
Written By, Jona Lane. Share this on Facebook if you’ll be cheering for Thunder!