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Big Hitch Parade Almost Goes Off Without a Hitch
Members of the Sun Valley Suns hockey team practiced for their upcoming games in December as they scooped up horse turds.
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Sunday, September 3, 2023



Doug and Sherry Aanestad have 44 Wagon Days under their cowboy hats

His favorite memory is the Chicken Man—an 80-some year-old man who went down the street behind an oil drum “chariot” that appeared to be pulled by chickens. Her favorite entry is, as always, the tall skinny ore wagons that bring up the rear and remain the reason for the parade’s being.

The Lewis Fast Freight Line Ore Wagons, which used to travel narrow winding dirt roads between Ketchum and mines near Challis, make the turn from Sun Valley Road onto Main Street.

“I remember then-Mayor Jerry Seiffert saying, ‘We’ve got to get this going again.’ And I said, ‘What? A parade?’ recalled Doug. “But we’ve been to them ever since, although we had to find a new place to sit after they moved Irving’s off the hill.”

The Big Hitch Parade rolled down the street on Saturday, a nod to Ketchum’s mining and pioneer days.  There was a slight glitch when one mule got its hoof caught in the chain as the 20-mule team turned the corner from Sun Valley Road onto Main Street.

But, otherwise, all went off without a hitch or even the rain showers that had been threatened.

“I hardly got any sleep last night I was so excited about today,” said 11-year-old Eli Stark. “This is my 10th Wagon Days. The best thing about Wagon Days is the parade and horse. The Dutch Warmbloods are my favorite horses.  But, if I had a mule, it would be by best friend.”

Members of the Escaramuza Charra riding team ride sidesaddle.

The Escaramuza Charra riders, who hail from Caldwell and Ontario, Ore., treated spectators to the choreographed moves on horses inspired by the Mexican adelitas who fought in the Mexican Revolution. The Eh Capa Bareback riders from the Treasure Valley showed how they could ride without reins, instructing their horses via a nudge with their knees and vocal commands.

One youngster rocked up and down the street on his own hobby horse as parade entries went by.

And other youngsters had great time trying to stay on a mechanical bull that rocked and spun to the alt country rhythm of Micky and the Motorcars, who perhaps should have changed their name to Micky and the Wagons for the day in keeping with the day’s non-motorized theme.

Colt Angell from Hog Hollow, Idaho, meanwhile, performed softer western music during the Cowboy Poetry session as he sang “Scatter My Ashes on the Snake River Plain.

Michoacan, Mexico, native Jose Heredia has long entertained Wagon Days crowds with the roping skills he learned from his father.

Mary Mill boasted an “I’m a Big Wheel Button” from 1966 as she related how the original Wagon Days Parade was so short that they ran the entries through twice.

“We don’t have to do that anymore!” she said.

Jean Enersen managed to get a photograph of Clyde, the Bactrian camel, parking at the parking sign.

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