When It All Began
It all began in 1874 when John and Eliza Ames immigrated to America from their native England. Hard work and integrity were the sustaining forces to their success in this country, and, to every generation that followed.
The Percherons became an Ames family tradition with John and Eliza’s sons, George and Charles, on the family farm. At one time the two brothers owned over 60 purebred Percherons.
Charlie Ames bred, registered, and showed Percherons from 1915 through 1939. The most notable of those shown was the stallion Irida Boy, purchased from the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Irida Boy was sired by Althazar, winner of the 1914 Eastern States Percheron Futurity Show, and out of the French-bred mare, Irida. The senior breeding stallion for Chas. G. Ames and Son from 1919 until 1929, Irida Boy was considered a stallion before his time.
Even after retirement from breeding, Irida Boy continued to head the Ames show string, campaigning at the 1929 Chicago International Livestock Exposition at the age of thirteen, along with an endless number of offspring following suit. When the Percheron Society of American initiated its Premier Sire Award in 1929, Irida Boy stood eighth in the top ten sires then found in the United States.
The Ames’ love and respect for the Percheron was perpetuated through George’s son, Chester, who carried on his family’s passion for farming and this marvelous horse. When Chester was seventeen, his father moved the family to Minnesota. Four years later, Chester met and married Ruby Belle Reisinger and started his own farm in Farmington, Minnesota.
On The Farm and Beyond
Chester and Ruby Ames raised 8 children on the farm, and as tradition would stand, passed their farming heritage on to their children. Their oldest son, Dick, a lifelong horseman, developed a profound respect for the horse that dates back to an era when the draft horse was essential to the operation of the big farms in the Midwest.
Though the Percherons began as workhorses on the farms, showmanship and competition has become the mainstay for the present day teams at the Ames Percheron Farm.
Ames Construction, Inc. is one of our nation’s largest heavy civil and industrial construction companies. The corporate headquarters is located in Burnsville, Minnesota, still close to where the family tradition began many years ago. With a work force of over 2,000 employees, the company takes pride in their reputation for quality construction of airports, bridges and highways, golf courses, mine development and reclamation, commercial site development, power plants, railroads and water treatment plants. It is only fitting that the Percheron was chosen as the company’s symbol of Ames “Pride,” a tradition instilled in every project, whether it related to construction or horses.
The Ames Percheron Farm is a division of Ames Construction. The farm is located in Jordan, Minnesota, not far from the company’s corporate headquarters. Managed and trained by Travis Shaw, with assistant trainer Joe Dolan, and groomsman George Rothenberger, the Percheron hitch performs as the ambassador for Ames Construction in competition and shows throughout the United States and Canada. Presently, 32 Percherons reside at the farm – all dapple-grey, ranging from ages 3 to 11 years. When the hitch is not at an event, they can be found at home, driven daily to keep fit and well conditioned.