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Broncos mascot Thunder named National Western Stock Show parade grand marshal

Trainer Ann Judge-Wegener rides Broncos mascot Thunder on to the field before Super Bowl 50 against the Carolina Panthers at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

DENVER — The National Stock Show announced Thursday that Broncos mascot Thunder will be the grand marshal for the annual parade next month, the first time a nonhuman will lead the event.

Thunder, a gray Arabian gelding, will lead the traditional parade of Longhorn cattle, horses and western wagons down 17th Street and other roads in downtown beginning at noon Jan. 5.

Thunder will be led by owners Ernie Blake and Sharon Magness Blake, and rider and trainer Ann Judge.

The parade will kick off the 111th National Western Stock Show. It will begin at Union Station and go 15 blocks down 17th Street.

“After being involved at the stock show for 30 years, I am so excited that Thunder has received the honor of being the grand marshal of the stock show parade,” Magness Blake said. “Thunder is one of the most amazing horses that I have ever owned.”

Thunder III in his his fourth season as the Broncos’ live mascot.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to celebrate Thunder, not only as the best mascot in the NFL, but also as a symbol of our western spirit and a representative of the equine community,” National Western Stock Show president and CEO Paul Andrews said.

“Sharon, Ernie and Ann are an invaluable part of the Stock Show family and embody the western lifestyle.  We appreciate them sharing Thunder with us and with all of Denver.”