June 30, 2018 at 9:00am the Rodeo Days Parade kicked off on its trek around the Prescott Courthouse Square. People from all over had come into Prescott to witness this event. People arrived early to the Square to stake their claims along the parade route and those who had floats in the parade arrived to get set even earlier. As the morning marched on toward the starting time, more people flowed into the parade route and the streets began to fill.
The courthouse clock chimed nine times and the parade began, leading off with two large trucks to guide the way for the nearly three hour event that is the Rodeo Days Parade. Children watched in awe as groups in period costume, groups of horses, and rodeo queens of years past and present all made their way along the route.
Several parade entries passed out goodies to excite the spectators, candy was tossed from trucks, bottles of water, fans, balls, even cans of soda were received into welcome and happy hands.
Photo by Christina McCarty
People smiled and commented on the tiny horses and donkeys that walked the route and many marveled at the massive boa that wrapped around a worker from the local zoo.
Spectators received a laugh when a certain truck came along, the interior of the bed had been lined and filled with water. As the truck passed by those who were riding in the makeshift pool splashed the water out toward the onlookers. As always, Buffalo Bill and his crew made their annual appearance to the parade, they proudly rode their horses in period dress and let out cheers as he went down the route.
The cheerful event had small tinges of sadness mixed into it. Upon entering the courthouse square a large flag flew over the center of the road, held up by a large ladder truck and a maintenance truck. As parade participants passed under many showed their respects to the flag.
Two men on tractors stood up as they passed under the flag, three men on motorcycles circled and paused to salute, and several took a moment to stand in awe at the red, white, and blue before making their way again. Many reminders were laced into the parade floats of the fateful day from five years ago.
Tributes to the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew were everywhere. Some were simply the number 19 mixed into the design of a banner, others incorporated the entire Granite Mountain Hot Shot Crew Last Alarm image.
Throughout the entire parade there seemed to be an underlying respect among many; there were varied view points and political parties in the parade that opposed one another. Despite this, those who participated and those who watched respected that difference of opinion – they just came together for the event and the reason we were all there. It was a day for fun, a day to remember, and a day to kick off many great events between now and the Fourth of July.
But, don’t take our word for it! Watch the entire parade here, courtesy of the Prescott Media Center: