People pack downtown Helena for the return of the Vigilante Day Parade

Vigilante Parade.jpg
Posted at 5:13 PM, May 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-06 20:28:15-04

HELENA — Friday’s Vigilante Parade kicked off at high noon. More than 70 student-made floats overtook Last Chance Gulch and made their way past families and judges ending their route at the Civic Center.

“It's great to be back to a normal vigilante parade environment,” says parade-goer, Dennis Keaster.

The Vigilante Parade is finally back to its normal route after disruptions due to COVID. Last year’s “reverse parade” had folks driving past a still parade line, while the year before that was outright canceled. The parade was also canceled from 1942 to 1945 due to WWII.

Watch the full parade:

2022 Helena Vigilante Day Parade

This year marks the 98th holding of the parade. The first parade was in 1924. The event was brought about to create a safer alternative to a bloody class rivalry known as the “junior-senior fight.”

This year's floats covered a broad range of historical events and places, with depictions of bowling alleys to the gold rush that made Helena what it is today. Other elaborate floats featured a football game complete with goalposts and even rodeo and ranch-themed floats, some with live animals.

Folks of all ages were happy to be back or witnessing it for the first time.

“It's kind of weird because last time I was at the parade I was in 7th grade and now I'm a sophomore in high school and it's a whole new experience in some sense. So, it's pretty cool,” says high school sophomore, Will Eaton.

“I'm really excited honestly, but this is my first time. I've never, ever been to the parade before, so I'm really excited,” says Sarai Skeldon.

2022 Vigilante Day Parade Awards

35% of all Helena High and Capital High students participated in the parade, the senior class won the A.J. Roberts Cup with 52%

  • 2nd Place - Junior Class 39%
  • 3rd Place - Sophomore Class 28%
  • 4th Place - Freshman Class 26%

Grand Champion

Last Chance Gulch During the Gold Rush: Marisa Pargot, Erik Callery, Laurel Maronick, Isaac Nehring, Eva Santos, Evan Stefaniak, and Naomi Sweeney.

Most Historically Accurate (Montana Historical Society)

Henry Sieben’s Cattle Ranch: Alyvia Sperry, Nathan Dupler, Bryton Kipp, Collin Leckner, Cameron Mann, Evangeline Och, Avery Powell, Tyten Sichelstiel, and Iyana Stanger.

American Indian

1922 MT State Fair Inter-Tribal Indian Relay Race: Deacon Eagleman, Ace Dolecheck, Chey Harris,

Clay Kroll, and Trenton Salway.

Historic Helena

1.Helena’s State Fair (1909-1915): Malea Brancamp, Aricia Campillo, Caleb Dalton, Jordan Escamilla, JaeLynn Fishburn, Brisies Gauer, Phoenix Griego, Sean Herrera, Collin Hurlburt, Jacob Janacaro, Abby Simmons, Cindy Simmons, Jesse Taylor and Brooklynn White Pittman.

2. Last Chance Stampede (Began 1960): Sam Petersen, Caitlyn Brown, Brynn Cotton, Jadyn Gilliam, Tristyn Gilliam, Lane Kosena, Keaton Normandy, Zach Pullin, Madeline Stroman, and Alek Zimmerman.

3. Mann Gulch Fire (1949): Taylor Parisot, Ian Rasmann, Sam Schiltz, Trey Schlepp, Dimitri Sebastian, Elliot Stimpson and Henry Sund.

Pioneer Life

1. Belmont Ski Club, Now Great Divide: Tanner Miller, Ryal Evans, Trevin Kockler, Logan Kosena, Logan Lysager, Colin Richem, and Casey Terry.

2. Dorothy’s Rooms (Brothel): Carlin Onstad, Keiran Boyle, Kenzie Grotbo, Aiden Kelly, RaeAnn Lowen, Emma Hopkins, and Ella Shropshire, and Isabel Beasley.

Helena Business

1. KTVH TV - First Television Station in Helena: Jacob Curry, Mike Bartsch, Alex Brisko, Logan Colberg, Tyler Cutler, Alexis Jacobs, McKenna Robertson, and Tucker Zanto.

2. Imperial Lanes Bowling (1957): Kennedy Pocha, Jack Anderson, Lance Baumgart, Jenna Boltz, Jacob Brown, Abigail Ecke, Sarah Logan, Tycen Mooney, Carter Perlinski, Hayden Langemo, and Mikayli McDowell.

3. Helena Brewery: Henry Gross, Cole Christensen, Luke Dowdy, Hudson Grovom, Luke Hanson, Quinn Hanson, Colton Lindgren, Joey Michelotti, Nick Michelotti, and Hayden Optiz.

Famous People

Fannie Sperry Steele: Destiny Estep, Liz Bowen, Madison Curry, Ruby Forman, Keelie Hankins, Amelia Hansen, Ethan Martin, Drew Morgan, John Pida, Sienna Pisciarelli, Aydan Tomlin, and Tyler Zito.

Mining and Transportation

Last Chance Gulch During the Gold Rush: Neillea Warden, Alyssa Kline, and Melony Campbell.

Antique Vehicles

Allis Chalmers in All its Glory: Philip Patten.