YUKON, Okla. – April 18, 2019 – Oklahoma businessman and rancher Bob Funk was honored for more than two decades of achievement with an induction into the Clydesdale Hall of Fame on April 26, according to the Clydesdale Breeders of the U.S.A.
Lisa Graham, a former board member and spokeswoman for the Clydesdale organization, called Funk a tireless supporter of the Clydesdale industry with accomplishments that go well beyond the numerous national awards and world championships that his horses have won.
Graham, who nominated Funk for the recognition, will serve as master of ceremonies at the Clydesdale Breeders’ annual banquet in Shipshewana, Ind., where Funk and two other inductees will be acknowledged. She said the Hall of Fame was established in 1979.
“The Express Clydesdales have been the source of great pride and enjoyment in my life,” Funk said. “I could not be more pleased and gratified to be honored in this way by such an outstanding organization of people who I respect and admire.”
Funk has been breeding, showing and competing with his rare variety of black and white Clydesdales for more than 20 years, and his Express Clydesdales have become crowd-pleasers at more than 150 parades, shows, competitions and other events they attend across the country every year.
“Express Ranches has been an ambassador for the Clydesdale breed all over the world,” Graham said. “He has made Clydesdales front and center in terms of parades and shows, and I couldn’t think of anyone better to nominate for this recognition.”
Josh Minshull, general manager of the Express Clydesdales, said he is pleased Funk will be honored for the work he’s done with the giant breed, which weighs nearly a ton and stands about 6 feet tall.
“He is among the breed’s most influential and prominent supporters,” Minshull said. “We’ve been out there in the public, competing and serving as goodwill ambassadors at 150 to 200 events annually.”
Representing Express Employment Professionals, the horses have been used to help raise millions of dollars for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and other charities. Each year, they star in some of the world’s most famous parades, such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Tournament of Roses Parade. They also have chauffeured the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate during their visit to Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Meanwhile, the Express Clydesdales are available for the public to visit, free of charge, six days a week, Minshull said. They’re based in Yukon at the Express Barn, 12701 W Wilshire, which is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Graham, who serves as announcer at draft horse shows across the county, said she has visited the Express Ranch many times.
“Yukon used to be famous for Garth Brooks. Now, it’s famous for Clydesdales,” Graham said.