Final week for Rotary Fourth of July parade entries


By JoAnn Laird
Special to The PREVIEW

June 30 is the last day for parade entries if you want to ensure yourself a good spot in the parade lineup for the Rotary Fourth of July Parade.

“Service Above Self” is this year’s theme and lots of examples are sure to be seen during the largest-attended event in Pagosa Country all year. The parade will be held Friday, July 4, at 10 a.m. Applications, maps and general information are available at the Chamber of Commerce or may be downloaded directly from The Pagosa SUN website,

Among those who are sure to be there are the American Legion Flag Bearers who will lead off the parade, this year’s Grand Marshall — the high-energy Mary Jo Coulehan, floats of every size and all things depicting what “Service Above Self” means to Pagosans.

Speaking about “Service Above Self,” at 10 a.m. sharp, look to the skies as once again starting the parade will be Pagosa’s own fabulous formation flying team, the San Juan Squadron. These talented men give their time and expense of flying their aircraft to thrill the parade crowd, as well as honor the country they love.

Flying lead for the eighth consecutive year will be Pagosa resident Jim Lane in his Bonanza. Jim is a veteran of the U.S. Army. He served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division and is an instrument-rated private pilot with over 4,000 flying hours.

Flying left wing will be Pagosa resident Skip Thomas in his RV4. Skip is an instrument-rated pilot who flies airplanes as well as helicopters. He has been flying since 1990. He is a Florida native who found Pagosa Springs as a place to spend summers while escaping the Florida heat. He is a violinist and enjoys volunteering in the community band, Curtains Up Pagosa musical productions and other local events.

Flying right wing will be Dave Patterson of Saint George, Utah. Dave is flying his RV8. Dave is a veteran pilot who flew F4 jets in Vietnam while serving in the Air Force. He is a retired attorney.

Flying in the slot and trailing smoke will be Pagosa resident Craig Taylor in his RV8. Although educated as a mechanical engineer (U of W 1965), Craig, with the encouragement of his hometown Draft Board, entered the Navy’s Aviation Officer Candidate program in 1966. He earned his Navy Wings in 1968. After an extended Vietnam tour flying attack aircraft from the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Ticonderoga, and three years as an A7E instructor, he left the Navy to pursue a civilian aviation career. He flew a variety of corporate jet aircraft for 20 years, giving up flying in 1990 to start a race car engineering firm in Plano, Texas. In 2009, he acquired a RV8 which he will be flying in the Fourth of July flyover.

So, Pagosa, put on your thinking caps and get your applications turned into the Chamber of Commerce no later than June 30. After that date, entries may still enter at the registration booth on the day of the parade, but will be placed at the end of the parade. For more information, call 946-9700.