Politics on parade today

Parties, candidates ready for July 4 events in Steamboat, Yampa

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— A burro and an elephant will ride down Lincoln Avenue today.

Local Democrats and Republicans will march beside decorated, politically themed floats in Fourth of July parades in Steamboat Springs and Yampa, taking advantage of a patriotic holiday to rev up campaigns heading into the dog days of summer.

Here's how to show your political colors during today's holiday parades in Steamboat Springs and Yampa. Republicans: To help decorate the float, meet on Yampa Street at 8:45 a.m. Look for the "Big Elephant." With questions, call Buck Buckland at 870-2891, or Paul Strong at 846-5352. Democrats: To help decorate the float, meet on Yampa Street around 8:15 a.m. Look for the big blue "Kickin' Burro." To march with the float, meet at 9:15 a.m. With questions, call Mike Kerrigan at 819-1882.

While Routt County Republicans will once again rally around the "Big Elephant," a local GOP icon that has paraded on a flatbed trailer for the past five years, Routt County Democrats will unveil an animal-styled float of their own for the first time in recent memory.

Mike Kerrigan, chief appraiser in the Routt County assessor's office, said he and his wife made the "Big Blue Kickin' Burro" out of a wood frame, chicken wire and papier-mÕche.

"It's kind of a caricature of a full-size burro, but a little bit bigger and a little more cartoonish," Kerrigan said of the blue float, to be decorated by volunteers this morning.

"It's a new prop for the party -- our theme this year is 'Democrats are kickin'."

The burro is bucking its two hind legs in the air, Kerrigan said.

Kerrigan is running for Routt County assessor against Republican Dick Klumker, a retired commercial airline pilot who lives in Yampa.

A donkey, or burro, is the national Democratic mascot. An elephant is the national Republican mascot.

Jennifer Schubert-Akin, chair of the Routt County Republicans, said local Young Republicans, candidates in campaign vehicles, and party supporters with T-shirts would join the Big Elephant in this year's parade for candidates in statewide races.

The Steamboat parade begins at 10 a.m., and includes a three-minute float presentation to judges at the corner of Eighth Street and Lincoln Avenue. The parade's theme is "Honoring our Hometown Heritage."

After the Steamboat event, political parade marchers will have to hustle to disassemble their floats and transport them to Yampa for a parade beginning at 1 p.m.

"It will be a little bit of a challenge -- hopefully everything will travel fine," Kerrigan said of the back-to-back events.

In previous years, party secretary Lynn Abbott said, county Democrats have paraded with a carriage and trucks decorated with hay bales and banners. This is the first time in many years that Democrats will have an actual float -- a change that Schubert-Akin said will make the parade all the more fun and lively.

"It should be quite a spectacle," Schubert-Akin said.

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