Steamboat July 4 parade offers ‘slices of Americana’
It is rare that Cookie Lockhart ever misses a Steamboat Springs Fourth of July parade, and you usually will find her riding a horse.
But the Steamboat native this year arrived a little bit late because of traffic. She missed her position in the parade but was able to jump in with the crew from Steamboat Powersports.
“I’m a Powersporter this year,” Lockhart said wearing her signature cowboy hat and cowboy boots patterned with red stars.
This past year, Lockhart’s local celebrity status went national with her appearance on the the History Channel’s “American Pickers.”
After the parade, it was hard for Lockhart to go very far without someone recognizing her.
“I get that everywhere I go,” Lockhart said.
Lockhart guessed she has been to about 70 Steamboat July 4 parades and she takes the Independence Day celebration to heart.
“A lot of people died for that freedom, and a lot of people forget about that,” she said.
But those people were reminded in Steamboat on Friday as the sidewalks were packed with local residents and plenty of visitors.
“I think it’s the biggest one I’ve ever seen,” Lockhart said.
Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association CEO Tom Kern also noticed the large crowd and said it was the biggest he has seen during his four years in Steamboat.
“There are a lot of people in town,” Kern said.
The July 4 holiday got off to a cool and rainy start, but the skies cleared and temperatures quickly soared in time for the day’s festivities.
Kern said visitor numbers in Steamboat were aided by the holiday falling on a Friday this year.
“It for sure gives you a three-day weekend,” Kern said. “Maybe even a four-day weekend.”
The parade featured an escort by Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue and then a color guard on horseback with Undersheriff Ray Birch holding the American flag. They were followed by parade marshals John and Tammy Adams, who are 40-year Routt County residents who live on the Flying Diamond Ranch.
The parade was part of the Steamboat’s Cowboys’ Roundup Days Celebration and was followed by a Pioneer Days block party at the Tread of Pioneers Museum, which served up root beer floats.
The parade announcers were local radio personality Brian Harvey and John Shipley, who provides commentary during the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series events.
“This parade has to be one of the thickest slices of Americana served up anywhere in the United States,” Shipley said.
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It was a love story that brought Jason Erwin to Steamboat Springs from Nashville, Tennessee.