This is the third and final series on Warm Springs Ranch in Boonville
The Budweiser Clydesdales have been all over the United State in more ways than one. Besides traveling at least 10 months of the year to shows and parades, their home has moved around as well. They started in St. Louis, Mo. Then as their popularity took off, Budweiser expanded their herd. With more horses came the need for more properties for breeding and training. Merrimack, N. H.; Fort Collins, Co.; and Romoland, CA. were three.
About 12 years ago, it was decided to move the breeding farm closer to St. Louis and the company began looking for a suitable place. They found 340 acres of rolling hills complete with a large pond near Boonville. As they were relocating Warm Springs Ranch in California to Boonville, Mo., they decided it was only right to keep the name as well.
WSR was ready to open in March of 2008 and last month they celebrated their 10th Anniversary in Missouri. But they brought more than just the Clydesdales when they left California. They brought John Soto, the supervisor of the ranch. Soto has been with Budweiser for 38 years this coming September. The son of a thoroughbred trainer in Arizona, Soto has been around horses all his life.
“I was asked to join the company when they were in California and I jumped at the chance. Horses are all I know.”
Tours have been a part of WSR ever since they opened, from April 1 to October 31, twice a day (except Wednesdays) by reservation only at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.  About five or six years ago a VIP tour was introduced.
“When I saw the price tag,” Soto recalls, “I had my doubts. $500? That seemed pretty steep to me even for 16 people. We had no idea what to expect.”
They only do one VIP tour a day, but it has been a huge success. It, too, is by reservations only, but they have a booking almost every day.
However, last year’s Christmas Lights was the biggest surprise of all.  The ranch has big letters, WSR, along the driveway to the main barn. Until last fall they only had the W, but they knew where the S and R were and that they weren’t being used, so they managed to get them put up at this location. For Christmas, they covered the letters with Christmas lights for some company people coming in from St. Louis and opened the display up to the public as well.
Soto: “We were swamped. Traffic was backed up on I-70 for miles.”
Reporter: “Will you be doing it again this year?”
Soto: “Yes, but his time by reservations only, so we can control the traffic and know how many are coming.”
The WSR Christmas Lights are scheduled for November 24 through December 30, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Thursday through Sunday (no Wednesdays) by reservation only. The cost is $10 per person.