Steamboat Springs Mixed among papier-malm trees, a volcano and bottle of Tabasco sauce stood Steamboat Springs' senior class on the bed of a tractor trailer making its way through downtown Friday afternoon.
The two-time winners of the annual homecoming float contest chanted "Double O 2," "Seniors" and "Sailors" as the headed down Lincoln Avenue.
A few floats in front of the senior class was another senior class that 55-years earlier never had the chance to wave and chant down Steamboat's main street as part of the school's annual homecoming festivities.
Restricted by War World II rations of gasoline and tires, the Class of 1946 could not have a homecoming parade but Friday they sat on straw bales wearing Sailors hats, blowing bubbles and waving pompoms as they rode by students and spectators.
A half a century didn't dampen the thrill of homecoming that returned to the Class of 1946, which has a reunion every five years.
"We had a lot of fun decorating and it was exhilarating to be viewed by the public," Wilma Watkins said of her class' second chance to be in the homecoming parade.
Bill King, who planned on watching the Sailors football game later that night, said the parade brought back memories.
Out of the class of 32 students who graduated in 1946, about ten returned for the parade and afterwards they reminisced about pranks and going on strike at the old high school along 7th Street.
Though Steamboat's High School has grown and moved, the school spirit of homecoming remains along with the bond fires, pep rallies and royal court.
"It was nice to see all those young kids' spirit," King said.
Spirit was the theme of the week, as high school students decorated their floats, attended pep rallies, chanted at bonfires, dressed in costumes and competed for the Spirit Stick.
"It's school spirit to the max," high school cheerleader Lindsey Peterson said at Thursday night's bond fire.
She was one of the many students who yelled "Sailors Steamboat" as fall sports captains lit the bonfire.
For her, homecoming's best moment is the Friday night football game, others point to the parade and Saturday night's dance.
But beyond the main events are the Spirit Stick competitions when each class competes to show who has the most school spirit. That competition includes best floats, the talisman events that have classes facing off in tug-of-war, human pyramids, and lifesaver relays, and the penny wars to see what class collected the most money for the Red Cross.
"Its what we live for," senior Jenni Stanford said of homecoming week and the competition that had her working on her class float after school everyday this week.
But Stanford was not the only one who put in hours preparing for homecoming, the high school's leadership class did too as they organized the parade, half-time show and talisman events. Those events required students to make phone calls to local officials, work with administrators and order everything from crowns to flowers.
"It's a stressful week. It's a whole lot of pressure to put this on," Tiffany McGinn said.
Despite the work, it is school spirit that is the basis of homecoming week, Steamboat Springs' school president, Rodney Beall said.
"It's really a highlight of the year. Everybody comes out really strong with real spirit.
Hopefully we'll be able to keep that spirit all year long," Beall said.
The Soroco School District kicks of its homecoming this week with a match-up on Monday with the West Grand JV.
The game starts at 4:30 p.m.
The homecoming theme Monday is "Proud to be an American" and its also "Maroon and White Day"
The rest of the week is as follows:
Chili cook off at Ambulance Barn at 5 p.m.
Powderpuff football at football field at 7 p.m.
Red, White and Blue Day
High school volleyball vs. Plateau Valley at 1 p.m.
Homecoming dance at high school gym from 9 p.m. to midnight