Friday, April 1, 2011

Johan Franzen Will Make Special Appearance at Columbia's Mule Day

In a surprise announcement this afternoon, the Maury County Briddle and Saddle Club revealed that a special addition has been made to this weekend's Mule Day activities in Columbia, Tennessee. Johan "The Mule" Franzen has been added to the Mule Day line-up and will ride alongside Mrs. Knoxie Goad who is the Grand Marshall of the 2011 Mule Day Parade.

It was only by a fluke that arrangements were made for Franzen to participate in the hour long parade that starts only a couple of hours before the start of the game between the Nashville Predators and the Detroit Red Wings at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Goad's son-in-law, Mitch Filburn is a Michigan transplant that moved to Columbia to work at the now shuttered General Motors plant in Spring Hill. He is a lifelong Red Wings fan and worked diligently with Jacob Duhaime, the Wing's Social Media Manager to make it happen.

The real breakthrough was an agreement that Filburn made with Vanderbilt LifeFlight in Nashville who agreed to pluck Franzen up at the end of the parade for a 20 minute helicopter ride to deliver him to the arena in Nashville in time for the team's pre-game skate.

We contacted Franzen by phone and he said, "It has been a lifetime dream to be able to attend Mule Day but it is always during the season so I never expected to be able to go. It will be a privilege to ride with Mrs Goad and be surrounded by more mules than I've ever seen in my life. I really feel that I will fit in well with the other mules."

Here is the full release from Maury County Briddle and Saddle Club...

Columbia, Tennessee (April 1, 2011) The Maury County Briddle and Saddle Club is pleased to announce that Mrs. Knoxie Goad will serve as Grand Marshall of the 2011 Mule Day Parade. Mrs. Knoxie is a charter member of the club and has a place on the Mule Day Hall of Fame. She was one of the original planners in 1973 when a committee was formed to study feasibility of bringing Mule Day back to Maury County after a few years absence. Her dedication over the years has contributed to it’s success. She as served in many capacities, but is best know for arts & crafts director, concessions director and office manager. Now officially retired from her appointed duties, she still supports the Mule Day Committee. Besides her involvement in Mule Day, she is very active in her community and church activities.

Sitting with Mrs. Goad in the lead wagon in the parade will be Johan Franzen, a Swedish right wing hockey player that plays for the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League. Franzen's nickname is "The Mule" as he has had a special affinity for the breed of animals since he was a small child in rural Sweden. He has patterned his style of play on the ice after the four-legged variety of mules since he was a young boy. The 31 year old athlete is a native of Vetlanda, Sweden and is married to Cecilia. The couple enjoys life in Detroit but spends the off season in their native land. This will mark the first time that a person native to another country will ride in the lead wagon in the parade.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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