When the Fair comes marching in

From page 1B of the Sunday, August 25, 2013 edition of The Pueblo Chieftain newspaper

By Anthony Settipani

Bands, schools, clubs and businesses wore their pride for all to see on Saturday as they marched, tumbled and twirled their way through Pueblo’s “Cowboy Boots and Country Roots” Colorado State Fair Parade.

The parade, which rolled through Pueblo’s Historic Union Avenue District and ended in the middle of Downtown, featured 106 different entrants, each with a story to tell.

Schools were in heavy attendance, with floats and marching bands from all over Colorado. East High School set its float aglow with yellow-clad students, proudly leading their newly won Cannon. And Colorado State University Pueblo’s marching band played its fight song and chanted Thunder- Wolf pride to swarms of applause from spectators.

Drum major Grant McKay said it was the audience excitement that he enjoyed most about the parade.

“When you come around that corner on Union by Bingo Burger,” he said, “the audience just goes nuts for us. And I think that’s something that really gets our band pumped up.” McKay said that despite the heat and the repetitive chant, it was the audience’s emotion that really “brings us up to our highest level.”

The Native American Women Warriors float displayed traditional decorations and costumed dancers in honor of Mitchelene BigMan, a Pueblo Chemical Depot employee and U.S. Army veteran. She recently became a finalist in the Ms. Veteran America competition, which takes place in Washington, D.C.

Raul Figueroa, who served in the Army with BigMan, said that “she started the group, the Native American Women Warriors, a couple of years ago.” The group, like its float, was designed to honor Native American women veterans, and Figueroa emphasized that they didn’t just have former Army soldiers in mind.

“We put the American flag (on the float) because we are a patriotic people,” he said. “We love serving our country, so that was just another part of honoring it. When we did this float, we wanted to honor not just Army veterans, but all veterans. That’s why we put the American flag up there.”

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