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Independence Day Parade kicks off final day of 100th Greeley Stampede

Greeley Tribune logo Greeley Tribune 7/5/2022 Tamara Markard, Greeley Tribune, Colo.

Jul. 5—If the success of the 99th Greeley Stampede was a sign of things to come, the 100th Greeley Stampede well exceeded those expectations.

The 2022 event not only drew in some top-named rodeo athletes like the Wright family, Tilden Hooper, Josh Frost and Paige Jones and stellar animals like Killer Bee, Mt. Everest and Black Furry, but it also attracted top-notch talent including Brad Paisley, Jo Dee Messina and Restless Road to Greeley.

Stampede organizers brought back old favorites like the daily parade in the park, Tea with the Queen and Hot Rods and Horsepower car show as well as new events like the Whiskey and Cigar Tasting, Lego Creation Festival and Hoverboard Barrel Racing.

But one of the most popular events takes place outside of the park and arena grounds at the end of the Greeley Stampede.

The Independence Day Parade attracts thousands of local and out-of-area people, businesses, organizations and civic clubs to come together to celebrate the United States of America.

The parade is so popular the Greeley Tribune and city of Greeley have to run yearly announcements letting people know when they can go stake out their spot.

Some people have been commandeering the same parade spot for years, while those who were new parade learned why it's imperative to get to the parade route early.

"I just can't believe how many people are here. We have friends here who kept telling us that it was a big parade, but this is not what I thought from Greeley," said 36-year-old Robyn Henderson of Broomfield. "Well, we learned that lesson. Get here early, or don't come at all."

In addition to lines of festively dressed fans of all ages, parade entries this year were some of the best the parade has featured in a long time.

Months before the Stampede even started, Kevin McFarling, marketing coordinator for the event, was asking the community to put on their thinking caps and slip on their work gloves to create more float-like parades, which were popular back in the beginning of the annual event.

And boy, did the entries oblige with McFarling's request.

The gang at Culver's of Greeley created a fun farm-themed float complete with blow-up farm animals, tissue-paper decorations, a "Thank You Farmers" sign and other colorful additions.

"We are working with the Greeley West FFA. Community support is important to our restaurant, and we like to get involved when we can," restaurant owner Austen Thompson said. "We're kind of new to this, so I think every year we are going to get a little better."

Along with tractors, horse-drawn wagons, marching bands and other entries, first-time parade participants Little Theatre of the Rockies showed up with The King himself, Elvis Presley, in honor of the theater's upcoming productions.

"You know, I want to say it's been awhile, maybe about five years or longer, since we've been in the parade. We are basically advertising our upcoming productions, 'All Shook Up' and 'The Revolutionists,'" artistic director Megan Van De Hey said. "We are back and strong and ready to parade!"

Members of the Rocky Mountain Quarter Midget Association had to decorate their trailer on the fly at the parade's staging area.

"We just put in our submission in on Thursday and found out we had to decorate the trailer," said Melissa Steinke, laughing. "So I was like, 'Come on, we've got to go to Michael's.'"

The parade started at 9 a.m. Monday with a flyover followed by a procession of longhorns leading the parade down 10th Avenue.

As the parade entries made their way down the street, throwing goodies like candy, water bottles and other swag, lines of fans cheered and waved.

After the parade ended, the celebration of the 100th Greeley Stampede continued at the park and arena grounds with a demolition derby, duck races, a sea lion show, vendors and lots of different fair food.

The Frontmen of Country wrapped up the event's live music at Civitas Park Stage at 8 p.m. before guests settled in to enjoy a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m.

The annual Greeley Stampede takes place the last week of June into the first week of July with a PRCA Pro-Rodeo, concert series, Western art exhibit and more. For more information, including updates on the 2023 season, go to www.greeleystampede.org.

(c)2022 the Greeley Tribune (Greeley, Colo.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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