EAST HELENA – Hundreds of people lined East Helena’s Main Street Saturday afternoon to watch the annual Rodeo Parade go by.
Spectators saw about 40 entries, ranging from tractors and other farm equipment to hot rods and dirt bikes.
Firefighters from a number of local departments brought in their emergency vehicles.
“This year, the first responders came out in full force,” said East Helena Mayor Jamie Schell. “We love to see the first responders come out, and we really like to see the kids and the adults support those first responders.”
In keeping with the rodeo theme, many of the entries featured horses. Gloria McFadden and her four-year-old granddaughter Raelee watched the parade to see a friend, who was one of the riders.
“We absolutely loved it,” said McFadden. “There was a lot of activity.”
McFadden said she especially enjoyed the local Shriners’ contributions, including several humorous vehicles and a number of clowns. She said Raelee had a different favorite part of the parade.
“They were throwing lots of candy,” she said.
Organizers say the Rodeo Parade has been running in East Helena for several decades.
Schell said he has attended more than a dozen of the parades over the years, and that the event continues to grow each year.
“This is probably the best opportunity, with the nicest weather, for the kids to come out, collect candy, watch beautiful horses with great riders,” he said. “A lot of opportunity to meet your neighbors, to see your neighbors, to come out and enjoy the beautiful weather, be with the family and enjoy East Helena.”
McFadden said she’s glad to have the opportunity to show her granddaughter local parades.
“This is an American tradition,” she said.
She said this was the first time she’s attended the parade in East Helena, but that she would definitely like to come back next year – and she thinks Raelee would too.
“Definitely,” she said. “She likes the candy.”
The East Helena rodeo will continue through Sunday, with a 406 Rodeo miniature bucking show starting at 2 p.m.