Steamboat celebrates 4th in style

Awesome fireworks, parade cap holiday events

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— Max Loffgren used the Cowboys' Roundup Days Par--ade as a rolling tribute to the 3,578 prisoners of war and missing in action soldiers of the Vietnam War.

"I was a Viet--nam vet, and I made it home, but 3,500 of my brothers did not," Loffgren said.

He found the 1955 Chevy he drove in the parade in a ditch with trees growing out of it. After renovating the car, Loffgren painted the names of 3,500 POW and MIA soldiers on the car as a tribute.

"It took 500 hours to put the names on the car, but it is a labor of love," he said.

Loffgren drives the car in parades, air and car shows every year.

"The car is a history lesson," he said. "It honors those guys and their families for what they did for our country. All gave some, but some gave all."

There were 69 entries in the parade this year that entertained packed sidewalks from 11th to Sixth streets. The Steamboat Car Club was peeling rubber, squealing wheels and revving its cars' engines. The Steamboat Springs Swim team cooled off the crowd with squirt guns, and Humble Ranch handed out Otter Pops to thirsty spectators.

Resident Jim Wessely, who has been coming to the parade for eight years, said he attends because of the lively entertainment.

"It's full of life, and I love the sense of humor of the All Broads Kazoo Band," Wessely said. "I am reminded of the rich tradition (of the parade), but everyone still has fun."

More than 120 campers from Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp appeared to be having a great time while performing their original song "Whatever it Takes."

"We wrote the song three years ago with discovery campers in the voice of Charlotte Perry and Portia Mansfield about how they established the camp," Perry-Mansfield staff member Kathy Hussey said. "The best part of the parade was just being in it, watching the kids and listening to this many kids singing a song I wrote."

Perry-Mansfield won the Best Parade Theme Award this year for "Honoring our Hometown Heritage." Other award recipients this year included the Steamboat Car Club, which won the Best Group Award; Coldwell Banker Silver Oak, which won the Best Commercial Award; and the Yampa Valley Antique Power Club, which won the Best Theme Award.

Steamboat rugby team members honored their own tradition by pushing their team's vehicle, the S.S. Warpig, down Lincoln Avenue -- twice.

"The parade goes once, but we go twice," player Charlie Pappas said.

The rugby team has been in the parade for the past 18 years and ran into some complications this morning.

"The vehicle was in the shop at until 7:30 a.m.," Pappas said. "I had to MacGyver into the shop to get it for the parade with a toothpick, duct tape, bubble gum and a compass."

Larry and Sally Marshall traveled all the way from Phoenix, Ariz., to attended the Fourth of July festivities.

"We try to come back every Fourth because we enjoy the parade very, very much," Larry said. "I always enjoy the horses because I come from a rural background."

"And it's a wonderful small-town America parade," Sally said.

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