84th Diamond Hitch Parade highlights Sunday events to cap Winter Carnival | SteamboatToday.com

84th Diamond Hitch Parade highlights Sunday events to cap Winter Carnival

Jack Weinstein

Noel Keeffe flies off the donkey jump during the Winter Carnival in Steamboat Springs. Keeffe flew 37.5 feet to win Sunday's competition.

— Perched atop her father's shoulders, 2-year-old Parker Pappas had a great view of her first Diamond Hitch Parade on Sunday, during the 98th annual Winter Carnival.

From that vantage point, Parker was able to see the horse-drawn sleighs of parade participants. She said seeing the horses was her favorite part.

"I love them," she said.

Her mother, Kristen, said she and her husband, Greg, try to attend Winter Carnival every year. In addition to Parker, it also was the first parade for 4-month-old Carly.

"It's kind of a nice, hometown way to get out in the middle of the winter," she said. "And it's fun to watch the events."

The 84th Diamond Hitch Parade was preceded by street events, which started at 9 a.m. on snow-covered Lincoln Avenue.

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Caroline Bohlmann, special events director for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, which presents and organizes the Winter Carnival, said the Ladies Recreation Club started the parade in 1927 to liven up the mid-winter festivities.

She said 19 groups signed up to participate in this year's parade, but two groups had to cancel at the last minute. The 17 participating groups included the Steamboat Springs High School Ski Band, parade grand marshals Patty and John Kerst, parade royalty and a variety of others.

Like Parker, many other children who attended the parade also enjoyed seeing the horses, which pulled sleighs and skiers who held onto ropes tied into the shape of diamonds.

"I just want a horse, so bad," said 8-year-old Morgan Geiger, of Oak Creek. "But I don't have one."

Morgan attended the parade with her sister, 6-year-old Shelby; her friend, 8-year-old Anna Long; her parents, Tim and Ali; and grandparents Michele and Dick Dudas.

Ali Geiger said she and her husband try to bring their children to the parade every year, but this winter was especially important to get out of the house.

"It's been cold and nasty all month," she said. "This is a great chance to get out and do something outside."

Lynn and Larry Worrell stayed after the street events, in which their grandchildren participated, for the parade. Lynn Worrell said they've attended almost every Winter Carnival since they moved to Steamboat in the 1970s, in part because of their family's involvement with the Winter Sports Club.

"We just enjoy it," she said. "We've been doing it for years. It's tradition."

Winter Sports Club Executive Director Rick DeVos credited Bohlmann, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Asso­ciation, Mainstreet Steamboat Springs, Winter Sports Club athletes and coaches and all the countless volunteers for helping pull off 22 events in five days. He said the temperatures that reached 40 below zero on Wednesday, and Saturday night's snowfall, didn't make things easier, but this year's Winter Carnival ran smoothly nonetheless.

"It's a community event, which makes it great," DeVos said and paused, reflecting on the event that started in 1914. "We're looking forward to 100 in a couple years."

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or e-mail jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

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