ENGLEWOOD, Colo.— Longtime Denver Broncos mascot Thunder, a white Arabian stallion, will retire during a ceremony at the end of the first quarter of the Broncos-Chiefs game Sunday night at INVESCO Field at Mile High, owner Sharon Magness Blake announced Friday.
Thunder was a part of the Broncos’ organization ever since he made his debut 11 years ago on Sept. 12, 1993, at a Broncos game vs. the San Diego Chargers, and he appeared at home games as well as Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII. Ridden and trained for the past five years by Ann Judge-Wegener, Thunder’s advancing arthritis made it difficult for the stallion to gallop down field.
He will be replaced by another white Arabian stallion who was Magness Blake’s personal riding horse for the past five years. The new stallion, which also goes by the name Thunder, will be introduced during the ceremony at Sunday night’s game.
“Although Thunder is quite the handful, he has been my best buddy for more than a decade,” said Magness Blake, who has ridden the horse at numerous non-profit events. “The next Thunder is a wonderful horse and will be a great mascot for the Denver Broncos’ organization.”
Thunder was originally trained by Tom Hudson. Judge-Wegener will continue to work with the new Thunder.
“Ever since the day six years ago that Sharon called and asked if I would consider becoming Thunder’s new rider, I’ve told everyone that I have the best job in the world,” Judge-Wegener said. “Thunder Sr. is the very embodiment of courage, bravery and boldness.”
Thunder Sr. will remain active in the community and appear at events, Magness Blake said.
The stallion has won several competitions, including being named the Hunter Pleasure Champion of the 1993 Wyoming Arabian Horse Association show and the Reserve Champion of the Pure Breed Western Pleasure at the 1989 Colorado State Fair.