At a glance
Grand Marshall: Mr. Bob Hiester
King: Kevin Bertrand
Queen: Jenny Allen
Senior attendants: Alyssa Walter and Matt Lettunich; Colin Boyle and Jessica Fox; Liza Darlington and Tim Rabbitt.
Junior attendants: Scott Frank and Cam Osteen
Sophomore attendants: Tom Lotz and Kelsey Butler
Freshman attendants: Tucker Allen and Kayleigh Esswein
Winners of the float contest: Seniors; Second place: freshmen; Third place: juniors; Fourth place: Sophomores
Steamboat Springs An armada of tractor-trailers moved through the streets of Steamboat Springs on Friday adorned with the markings of homecoming - chicken wire, papier-mache, spray paint and hundreds of screaming teenagers.
"It seemed to be the biggest turnout we've had in my four years," senior Taylor Miller-Freutel said. "I mean, just look at our float; it turned out absolutely amazing."
In the spirit of homecoming week's theme, "Under the Sea," the Class of 2008's float was a 30-foot-long pirate ship. With cutlasses hoisted into the air, the seniors vowed to beat the day's opponent, Montezuma-Cortez.
Other sea-inspired floats included the freshman class's nod to "Finding Nemo," the sophomores' "Little Mermaid" motif, and the juniors' Beatles-like "Yellow Submarine."
High School Principal Mike Knezevich said the joy in a hometown homecoming hasn't subsided since he moved to Steamboat from Aurora, where homecoming was simply a football game followed by a dance.
"I think the whole thing came off just great," he said. "To see the community waving back as you move through town is really special."
A group of Holy Name Catholic Church preschoolers - Class of 2024 - lined up to watch the parade on Lincoln Avenue. With "Go Steamboat" banners waving in the air, the next generation of Sailors jumped to their feet as the "Finding Nemo" float rolled by.
Storefronts were decorated in Sailors gear along the parade route, where floats made their way down Lincoln, turned right onto Ninth Street, and headed back to the high school via Oak Street.
At the Old Town Pub, Steamboat fans gathered on the rooftop while high school students Conner Herbison, David Mucklow, Drew Ruff and Sam Glaisher chose to watch the parade curbside from the comfort of an old couch.
"This is seriously the best way to watch a parade," said Mucklow as the students kicked back and cheered on their classmates.
Miller-Freutel later joined almost 100 students, parents and other Sailors supporters before kickoff for a pep rally in the field adjacent to the high school.
A game of tag football broke out among a group of students as cheerleaders drummed up school spirit while eighth-grade teacher Brad Kindred's rock band provided the soundtrack to the inaugural "Hometown Homecoming" event.
"Most of us have seen these kids grow up, and it's our way to support them," said Nancy Mucklow of the Steamboat Springs Booster Club. "It's also a way we thought we could bring the community together even if they don't have kids in the schools."
Steamboat resident and former Olympian Jim "Moose" Barrows has witnessed a lot of homecomings since he graduated from the high school in 1962.
Barrows said that when he played fullback for the Sailors, Steamboat's home games were played at the rodeo grounds and players were transported to the game in an old Army bus from the high school's former location at Seventh and Pine streets.
"This field here is where I used to let my horses out to graze," said Barrows, who was sporting his high school letter jacket.
"I hardly ever miss a game, but homecoming is special for us alumni," he said. "It's fall, it's a beautiful night and who doesn't love football?"