Today I fulfilled a (not-so) long-term ambition to ride in an American parade. Well, I sort of hitched a ride for a block, but at least I got to experience the cheering and adulation from adoring townsfolk...
The occasion was the Johnson County Fair Parade, an annual event where the whole town of Buffalo turns out to watch marching bands, decorated floats, vintage cars, trucks and high profile citizens strut their stuff down Main Street.
Representing Paradise Ranch were teamsters Ed and Billy, driving our Belgian princesses, Betty and Beauty in a vintage ambulance dating from 1910. With their curled moustaches and old-time western gear, Ed and Billy looked quite the part, while the girls were big, bold and beautiful, especially in comparison to the miniature ponies in tutus which paraded in front of them.
In fact, I could practically see the disdain on Betty and Beauty’s faces as these piddling little critters ducked and weaved in front of them, creating irritating stop-starts instead of a smooth passage.
Halfway down Main Street, I took advantage of a pause in proceedings to jump on board, getting a patient-eye-view from the back of the ambulance. And that’s when the cheering really started ...
The theme for this year’s parade was Dancing with the Steers, so as you can imagine, mirrored disco balls were well represented, along with tap-dancers in cow suits, plastic cows in heels and a couple of guys dressed as sheep, who changed the theme to ‘dancing with the sheers’.
The parade finished up near the Johnson County Fairground, where the week-long fair culminates in a rodeo this weekend. I took a quick look around - actually, I was looking for the fair, before realising what I was seeing - a couple of sheep, pigs, goats, horses and chickens in stalls - actually was it. Not exactly a national standard agriculture show, but sweet and intimate.
The most fascinating thing for me was the ‘exhibition hall’ where displays of prize-winning quilts, cookies, art work, photography and flower arranging were on show. I was a little non-plussed by the flower-arranging, which looked like a bunch of wildflowers shoved in a vase; while the photography inspired me to enter my own shots of Paradise next year.
Apparently Clay entered a photo last year and came second. He won the grand total of $2. He hasn’t cashed the cheque yet. Bring it on!