Caroline Wideman waves a flag and waits for the next float Sunday during the Fourth of July parade in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Caroline Wideman waves a flag and waits for the next float Sunday during the Fourth of July parade in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Steamboat's Fourth of July parade full of tradition, hometown spirit

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— Nine-year-old Lilli Patt­erson came prepared to Steamboat Springs’ annual Fourth of July parade.

Having been to the parade before, Lilli was armed

with a plastic bag. After all, she needed a place to put all her candy.

But Lilli also understood why thousands of people lined Lincoln Avenue in downtown Steamboat for the parade Sunday morning, part of the 107th annual Cowboys’ Roundup Days and Fourth of July festivities.

“We won our independence, which means we won our freedom,” Lilli said.

Many other children who attended the parade also said they enjoyed picking up the candy, freeze pops and other treats thrown into the street from the more than 60 parade participants, which included local businesses, nonprofits and political parties.

Five Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue trucks lead the procession to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” Steamboat Springs High School graduate Char­les Reed, a member of the 715th Military Intelligence Battalion who is shipping off to Afghanistan in mid-July, was honored as part of American Legion Post No. 44 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 4264 Mountain Color Guard. Keaton Covillo, another graduate of the high school, who studied opera at Denver University, sang the “Star Spangled Banner.”

Orval “Junior” Bedell and his sons Chad and Travis led the rest of the parade participants on horseback as this year’s grand marshals. Parade organizers have said they were looking for a grand marshal who epitomized this year’s parade theme, “Cowboys Dig Downtown.” They said the Bedells, whose family represents more than a century of ranching heritage in the Yampa Valley, fit the bill.

“It was a lot of fun,” Chad Bedell said. “It’s been great. Dad’s having a good time. I saw people I haven’t seen for a while, families I haven’t seen since I was a kid.”

The parade concluded with a flyover by a formation of Air Force F-16 jets.

“I liked the jets,” said Ellie Benson, 8, who was visiting Steamboat for the weekend with her family from Orem, Utah. “It was so scary.”

Steamboat Springs Cham­ber Resort Association Exec­utive Vice President Sandy Evans Hall said because there were so many creative entries from parade participants, there was a tie in two categories.

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. and the Steamboat Springs Rugby Club tied for best original theme. The Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp and the Steamboat Springs Arts Council tied for best group float. Mountain Village Part­nership won best commercial float, and Yampa Valley Bank took best parade theme.

Fort Worth, Texas, residents Carter and Ashleigh Coleman brought their sons, Baker, 4, and Bear, 2, to the parade. Carter, who grew up in Steamboat and frequented the parade with his family as a child, said he hasn’t been back to town for five years.

“It was great. It seemed a lot bigger than I remember in years past,” Carter said. “It’s nice to be back.”

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