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The annual Evergreen Rodeo Parade draws a crowd early and often

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By Deb Hurley Brobst

Before the Rodeo Parade, it’s tailgate party time — Evergreen style.

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Folks arrive as early as 5:30 a.m. to get spots in the downtown parking lot, where they set up tents and chairs in anticipation of the 10 a.m. parade start.

The families from the Herzman Mesa subdivision were in full-swing party mode at 9:30 a.m. with about two dozen adults and kids eating breakfast, listening to country music and socializing.

Shellene Ellington organizes her neighbors to bring the food and libations, and the dads are the first to arrive in downtown to snag the best spots.

Ellington has organized the pre-rodeo parade fun for the past four years, saying it’s a great way to get her neighbors together.

“I love the small-town parade,” she said. “Our kids know people in the parade, and we cheer for them, and we see how the floats change from year to year.”

Nearby, Trisha Mihalik has lived in Evergreen for less than a year, and she was ready to see the parade for the first time. Her friends assured her it was worth the 5:30 a.m. start to have front-row seats.

Scott and Jen Boyle stopped in downtown Evergreen at 6 a.m. to set up chairs along the parade route. They went home and returned later with their five children and lots of friends.

They’ve set up for the parade so many times over the last 20 years that they have it down to a science.

Their 6-year-old twins, Niam and Izaiah, waited for the parade to start, Niam saying he liked seeing his friends in the parade, while Izaiah liked the candy, the cars that look cool and the fire trucks.

Jeff Stratton, an 18-year Evergreen resident, and his friends also waited for the parade to start. Stratton said he’s been setting up the tailgate spot for nearly eight years.

He and his friends arrive early, get breakfast at the Evergreen Kiwanis pancake breakfast and then hang out until the color guard appears to signal the parade start.

“You can’t miss the (rodeo) parade,” Stratton said. “It’s the best thing in Evergreen. It’s the best of small-town U.S.A.”

Contact Deb Hurley Brobst at deb@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1041.