Join Date: May 2001
Ford Brings Centennial Celebration To Lexington
May 23, 2003 – In the spirit of company founder Henry Ford, who put the world on wheels, Ford Motor Company executives are visiting Lexington and 99 other North American communities as part of Ford's 100th anniversary celebration. Henry Ford was one of the first people to tour the great American landscape regularly with friends, including fellow historical figures Thomas Edison and John Burroughs.
The Lexington stop of the 100-city Ford Centennial Tour is May 24-25 at the Kentucky Horse Park where Ford is sponsoring “Wild West Weekend,” two days of fun for the entire family, featuring special events, entertainment and demonstrations.
Tom Baughman, executive director of Ford Product Development, is in Lexington to help host the event. “We are pleased to partner with the Kentucky Horse Park to sponsor 'Wild West Weekend,'” said Baughman. “Combining horses and horsepower is a perfect fit, and a perfect way to look back and celebrate a century of Ford in America and in Lexington.”
In his present Ford assignment in Dearborn, Mich., Baughman is responsible for the application of new technology and materials to further the environmentally responsible nature of
Ford products. This includes increasing the recyclability of Ford vehicles, using increased amounts of recycled materials in its manufacture, and developing and implementing environmentally-responsible vehicle technology. Prior to February 2003, Baughman was executive director of Ford’s Tough Truck Vehicle Cluster, responsible for product development of all pickup trucks and commercial vehicles for the North American market.
Proud owners of classic Ford Mustangs and other vehicles are bringing their vehicles to the horse park for display during the weekend. Lexington-area Ford dealers are providing many new Ford cars and trucks for display. The first few hundred people who come through the entrance of the Kentucky Horse Park on Saturday will be provided with free Ford GT posters.
Western showmanship will be showcased in the horse park during the Parade of Breeds presentations, shown at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm daily. The presentation will feature costumed riders, roping demonstrations and special appearances by young Western entertainers.
John Taylor and the Buffalo Soldier’s of Louisville, Ky. Inc. will be in the courtyard providing Buffalo Soldier folklore throughout the day on Saturday. The group will also set up a small museum, a general store and an old-time band.
Visitors of all ages will have the opportunity to try their hand at roping, and kids will be invited to participate in Buckaroo Stick-Horse Riding events, where every child is guaranteed to be a blue-ribbon winner. Leather crafter Rick Medlin will demonstrate Western leatherwork and sell Western leather items at the park’s Tack Shop.
Vendors will also be on hand throughout the park selling authentic Western items including an old fashioned photography booth set up for visitors to dress the part and get their pictures taken with their lil’ partners.
In addition to the “Wild West” activities throughout the park, there will also be several other horse shows and events going on during the weekend. The 12th Annual Kentucky High School Invitational Rodeo competition, featuring some of the finest young athletes and skilled riders from the Eastern half of the United States, will be held Friday and Saturday, May 23 and 24, at 7:30 pm, and on Sunday, May 25, at 2:00 pm. There will also be cutting contests on Sunday at 10:30 am. .
Visitors can also watch the Mayfest Horse Trials featuring a three-day eventing competition of dressage, cross-country and stadium jumping, the Kentucky Dressage Association’s Annual Show held in the Dressage Complex, or the Bluegrass Jamboree Square Dance Weekend held in the Campground.
Ford Motor Company has a long and important history in the Lexington area since its incorporation on June 16, 1903. Much of the coal that fueled Ford factories in its early years came from Ford mines around Lexington. Ford dealers played an important role in the development of the local Lexington economy. Today, Ford automotive suppliers such as Dana, Montaplast and Tokico are major Lexington-area employers.
The Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm and an educational theme park dedicated to man’s relationship with the horse. The park is located at Exit 120, Interstate 75, just north of Lexington. Always in season, the park is open daily March 15 to October 31, and Wednesday through Sunday, November 1 to March 14
Each stop on the Ford 100 city tour has a customized agenda with executives meeting with Ford employees, retirees, dealers and suppliers, schools and local media to reflect on the impact the company has had on the world in its first 100 years. That impact includes revolutionizing transportation, starting with the affordable Model A's and Model T's, and redefining industrial processes with the moving assembly line
The 100-city road show, including the Lexington celebration, is a prelude to Ford's gala hometown celebration in Dearborn. The Road is Ours Centennial Celebration from June 12-16 is expected to draw thousands to the grounds of World Headquarters.