So, it makes sense that he recruited beautiful, heavy horses as part of the Express family to act as ambassadors for his brands.
It started in 1998, when Funk visited the Canadian Western Agribition in Regina, Saskatchewan, and fell in love with black and white Clydesdale horses. He wanted to bring these horses to Oklahoma, not only so tourists could experience their beauty and learn more about the Express brands, but also so they could compete. The company currently has 18 Clydesdales acting as ambassadors.
“When we started with the Clydesdales, it quickly changed to people just wanting to be around the horses,” says Josh Minshull, Express Clydesdales and Percheron General Manager. “Requests came in for the horses to be in parades and other one-on-one opportunities.”
Now, Express has added a new breed to their repertoire – the stunning French Percheron.
“An opportunity came to us to add Percherons and it was a new challenge for Bob and the team. Our goal is to win the world championship,” Minshull says. They currently have 12 Percherons acting as ambassadors.
Minshull says it was always part of the plan for the horses to participate in major competitions. So far the Clydesdales and Percherons have already had some great achievements, including the Champion 6-Horse Hitch at the Big Thunder Draft Horse Show in Loveland, Colorado.
Along with competitions, it’s important to the company that Oklahoma residents get to experience and interact with the horses. Bob Funk Jr. owns the Oklahoma City Energy FC soccer team, which is part of the USL Championship League. Each year, the team partners with the Special Olympics to take a group of young special-needs athletes for a night with the horses.
“It’s a really great equine interaction opportunity for them,” Minshull says.