By JoAnn Laird
Special to The PREVIEW
Horses, airplanes, Belgium firefighters, oh my!
Yes, siree. The Pagosa Springs Fourth of July parade is gearing up for one amazing event.
Can’t you just visualize all those groomed horses strutting their stuff, proudly ridden by rodeo and Indian nation royalty? Braided manes, silver-trimmed saddles. Colorful. Proud. A tradition. Loved by the crowd.
Then there are those daring young men in their flying machines, who will once again be doing their formation flying over the start of the parade at 6th Street and U.S. 160 at 10 a.m. sharp. Last year, the same five pilots who contributed their time and talent will return once again to wow and amaze the parade spectators. I dare any town 10 times the size of ours to beat this.
Craig Taylor flies this year’s parade formation, in lead position, in a red and silver Van’s RV8, which he built. A Navy pilot with over 100 missions in Vietnam, Taylor was also a Naval aviator instructor and had a 20-year career as a corporate pilot.
Michael Arbuthnot built his white GlassAir III, which he has enjoyed over 3,500 hours in, traveling from coast to coast many times. He has been a licensed pilot for over 50 years even though he doesn’t look it. Arbuthnot would agree that flying keeps you young.
Tim Gallagher flies a Van’s RV4 painted white with blue trim. Gallagher has been flying with the San Juan Squadron for eight years. He at first flew his Piper Comanche in formation, then opted to rebuild and restore a damaged RV4 for formation and acrobatic flying.
Skip Thomas will be flying a white and red Van’s RV4. Thomas began formation training with the San Juan Squadron four years ago and has attended a formal training program in Texas. In addition to aircraft, Thomas is an accomplished helicopter pilot.
Travis Reese, from Grand Junction, will be flying a black and silver Van’s RV4 aircraft. He began formation training at formal training programs in California. Reese is also an accomplished competitor in acrobatic flying.
Belgium firefighters, you ask? We are thrilled to have a contingent of Belgium firefighters join our own Pagosa Fire Protection District, as they did in 2009 and 2014. Who doesn’t love to see that big red truck coming down the street with some of Pagosa’s and Belgium’s finest?
Applications, waivers, maps and general information are now available at the Chamber of Commerce or may be downloaded directly from the Chamber of Commerce, www.pagosachamber.com, or The Pagosa Springs SUN website, www.pagosasun.com.
For those participating, everyone in your entry must sign an individual waiver. A class reunion of 25 means 25 waivers. Additional waivers can be gotten from Town Hall. If you are a driver of a street legal vehicle, you need to include your driver’s license number plus insurance company and policy number on the application. Once you have your application filled out with your driver’s license number and insurance policy number, if needed, all you need is to get those waivers signed. The sooner, the better. A submitted, complete application will save you a lot of grief. Waiting until the morning of July Fourth will only delay your ability to get in the lineup.
Either deliver it to the Chamber of Commerce or download, scan and email to email@example.com. After July 1, entries may still enter on the day of the parade at the registration booth, in the high school parking lot, but will be placed at the end of the parade.
Parade route changes, again
There has been a change to the change, on the parade route. For clarification, the parade will start at U.S. 160 and 6th Street, not 8th Street, as in years past. It will continue through town, making a right onto 2nd Street (where it used to end), a right on Hermosa Street and end at Hot Springs Boulevard, just past the park.
The town’s main concern is your safety. A parade down the middle of a state highway is not the best scenario and they are trying to not only ensure safety, but provide a larger viewing and parking area. Additional parking is available on Hot Springs Boulevard.
You can be a part of one of the hottest events of the year in one of the coolest mountain towns you’ll ever see. Whether you’re a participant in the parade or a spectator, think freedom and liberty and what our country has paid to keep it. Wear your red, white and blue and know you made the right choice by being in Pagosa Springs on the Fourth of July.
By JoAnn Laird