Celebrate the 87th!!!
When the iconic Conestoga Wagon appears on the corner of 10th and Spring streets, the days seem to roll by a little quicker. For the Board of Directors, committee and volunteers, it represents a year of work in barns, garages and fields, online and in conference rooms, to produce an incredible parade and activities to honor our Pioneer heritage.
This parade is THE best display of antique tractors and wagons, harvesters, vintage buggies, and rare farm equipment in our beloved country; a tribute to the hard-working farmers, ranchers and their families who worked through the Depression. Pioneer Day began in 1931 as a day free of ‘toil and trouble” and to “Leave Your Pocketbook at Home.”
Parade Starts at 10 o’clock sharp!
There are always a few surprises — some with hooves! — in over 200 entries that include local school marching bands, commercial and family floats, and kids on flatbed trucks, bikes, scooters and skateboards, vintage and classic cars and military vehicles. Along with the legendary tractors, you’ll see dancing stallions, majestic Percherons, formal mounted units carrying America’s flags, teamsters, outriders and their teams of horses, mules and livestock. Many of the teamsters and tractor drivers come from all over the West to be in our parade!
By 7 o’clock, 8 a.m. at the latest, the best shady spots along the parade route are taken, so come early!
If you don’t buy a Smooth Puss badge, you might end up in the Hoosegow! Meander downtown to see the family memorabilia in the store windows. Don’t miss the Children’s Pet Show and Little Cowboy/Cowgirl contest starting in the City Park Gazebo at 8 a.m. Kids in pioneer costumes and pets of all sizes and sorts are welcome; from pups to ponies, to fur and feathers!
Stop by the bean pots that start simmering long before the sun comes up, thanks to Larry Eastwood, Darryl Drum and members of the Lions Club. The line of 100-gallon pots that were salvaged from a whaling ship contain 16 pounds short of a long ton — 2,240 pounds — of ingredients! The gas line is laid, the flames ignited, the beans are stirred with giant wooden paddles from dawn to around noon so the bottom doesn’t burn. The FREE bean feed starts after the parade. The line to get a bowl of beans and a fresh roll looks long, but goes pretty quick.
After the Parade
Picnic in the park near the gazebo for a concert by Western Swing Band. At 1 p.m. at the steps of the Carnegie Library, men with a “nice growth of facial hair” compete in The Whiskerino Contest, a long time Pioneer Day tradition and judged, much to the men’s delight, by the Barbary Coast Girls.
Bring your shoes, horse of course, for the Horseshoe Pitching contest, also starting at 1 p.m. at the pits nearby.
For history buffs, the Carnegie displays history dating back to the Spanish land grants; now featuring Shared Histories 3 — a collection of glass plate photographic negatives collected by R.J. Arnold.
The Pioneer Museum on Riverside Avenue displays more tractors, wagons, old gas engines and wagons. Of special interest is the Jeansville Pump, the Genesco School and replica of Paso’s first jail! The Gymkhana, showing off the talent of riders and their horses begins at 1:00 at the PR Event Center.
The Tradition of Service to the Community
For the last 12 years, Dottie Reiff has coordinated many of the teamsters and outriders that travel far distances to Paso; some of whom participate in over 30 parades each year. As they settle in the barns and stalls at the PR Events Center on Friday, Dottie will give them a warm, personal welcome. Many tell their friends that the hospitality in Paso is the best they’ve ever received.
Dottie’s 88th birthday falls on that Friday … the 13th. She’s always been superstitious — leery about black cats and such — so spending her birthday helping to preserve the tradition will make it happy day! Dottie hopes to work with teamsters and outriders for two more years and celebrate her 90th birthday along with the 89th Annual Pioneer Day in 2019.
Dottie served as the Pioneer Day Queen in 2014.
“It’s still such an honor for me to a past Queen and continue to represent our area and carry on the Pioneer Day tradition,” Dottie said.
Since the 30’s, local businesses,
organizations and citizens of our area have
pitched in to make Pioneer Day possible.
Not much has changed over the years.
That’s exactly what Pioneer Day is all about – honoring and preserving the tradition!
PRHS BEARCAT ALUMNI POTLUCK! New location!
The annual Bearcat Alumni Potluck Dinner is Friday, October 13 at 5 p.m. at the Pioneer Museum on Riverside Ave. Visit with classmates and fellow Bearcats, many of whom come home for the yearly reunion. Bring a dish to share. Donations are appreciated to cover expenses.