Unloading his decorated bicycle from the back of the pickup, Brandon could hardly wait for the Fourth of July parade to begin.
In past years, he’s had to tag along with me while I shoot photos of the holiday event for the newspaper. But this year, we got everything organized and he could pedal his way down State Route 64 along with the other kids.
I believe the bicycle contest has been a part of the parade now for three or four years. It’s a good way for the smaller kids to have some fun, especially those without connections to a business or organization who has a float in the parade.
The chamber votes on the top decorated bicycle and this year’s winner was Rosie Caballero. When Rosie’s name was called, she found out she had two bicycles to choose from for her prize. She didn’t hesitate. She passed over the child-sized Hulk-themed bike and went right for the bigger one. I’m not sure if Rosie can get her little legs up over that big bike.
This year’s parade was another fine edition. There didn’t seem to be any problems turning around this year at the Squire Inn and there were only a few concerns about the water. I thought me and my camera had escaped dry until some wise guy in front of the Seven-Mile Lodge thought it would be funny to drench me as I made my way down the street looking for Brandon.
Afterward, the community barbecue was enjoyed by many local residents and even some tourists. Exit 64 always sounds good and it’s fun to see Elvis get the crowd going.
The kids enjoyed a bucket brigade contest about the same time Elvis was taking the stage. After the contest ended, the area turned into a free-for-all water-throwing extravaganza. Even my son, who does not like getting wet, managed to get in on the act.
I didn’t make it to the end of the barbecue. After some good music, conversation and watching Ron Clayton do his thing, we decided to take off. It was an awful hot day, the temperatures approaching the mid-90s.
Things ended on a down note as I reached my truck. A Native American man driving a white pickup decided to “spin out” rocks into my face in the general store parking lot. I cursed at him, hopped in the truck and began to chase after him, but I decided it wasn’t a good idea to end the Fourth of July in jail. It was probably someone who had been in the Rangers’ Log. I’m glad Brandon wasn’t hurt. I just went home and got cleaned up.
That evening, we headed to Williams for fireworks. Although I’ve lived in the area for six years now, I’ve never seen the Williams fireworks. We barely made it.
A good friend from Grand Canyon was celebrating her birthday Friday and we took her out for a drink at Cruiser’s beforehand. We had never seen so many people in Williams. The kids headed across the street to a pizza place.
We thought we had plenty of time, but it took 45 minutes to get the pizza. While leaving, the fireworks began to shoot into the sky.
I headed over to the middle-school area, not having time to make it out to Gonzales Lake. But we managed to see the majority of the fireworks. The folks down there put on a good show. It was a nice way to end Independence Day.
The law enforcement in charge of traffic control tested our nerves as we tried to escape the area. Basically, the officer kept allowing two other lines to proceed while ignoring our line on two straight occasions. Then he let four cars heading in the wrong direction turn around in the intersection, which created momentary chaos.
This time, I had to calm down my girlfriend because she wanted to hop out of the car and ask the officer what he was doing. But again, we didn’t want to be bailing anyone out of jail on the holiday.
(Brad Fuqua is editor of the Grand Canyon News).