Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Escaramuza to Add Color, Culture to Wagon Days Celebration
Jose Luis Heredia and his son Cesar will be part of the pre-parade entertainment this year.
Tuesday, August 27, 2019


Get ready for a ballet on four feet.

Make that four hooves.

Escaramuza, a Mexican riding group out of Caldwell, will introduce their synchronized horse dances done to the rhythm of Mexican music at Ketchum’s annual Wagon Days celebration on Saturday, Aug. 31.

Brandon Lay will start performing about 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

The horse riders will perform from 10 to 10:30 a.m. at Festival Meadows on Sun Valley Road.

They will be accompanied by Jose Luis Heredia, a Nampa/Caldwell man who has long regaled Big Hitch Parade watchers with his trick roping astride his Appaloosa/quarter horse mix named Diamente, or Diamond.

It’s wonderful so many different cultures associated with the time period that the ore wagons were hauling ore,” said Heather Deckard, who helps the city organize the weekend’s activities.

Escaramuza means “skirmish.” And that’s fitting since the tradition was born during the Mexican Revolution when women known as adelitas were at the front of battle, mounted on horseback and in the traditional dress of the time.

Native Americans, who long passed through the Wood River Valley enroute to salmon fishing and hunting grounds, made their debut in Wagon Days in 2018.

Even today, the regalia is specific with a sombrero, voluminous dresses made all the bigger by undergarments with ruffles, frill on the dress, hair bows, and boots. The women ride sidesaddle, as they performed choreographed moves to the music in colorful pageantry.

Heredia’s charro also is a romantic tribute to the chivalry and tradition of Mexican cowboys who were highly skilled horse riders and tamers. Originally from Michoacan, Mexico, Heredia has learned roping from his father, who learned it from his. Now, Heredia is passing along the tradition to his son Cesar.

  • Wagon Days 2019 kicks off Friday, Aug. 30, with cowboy poetry in the Ore Wagon Museum and a celebration of this year’s Grand Marshals Kathy and Patsy Wygle, followed by a barn dance later that evening.A new generation of cowboy poets will make its debut--Colton Blankman of Utah is just 14 years old.

    Kathy and Patsy Wygle were mainstays at the nexStage Theatre before it gave way to the Argyros Performing Arts Center in November 2018. Kathy Wygle started making her mark on the culture of Ketchum at the long-gone Creekside Restaurant in Warm Springs where she welcomed many a traveling troubadour before starting Laughing Stock Theatre in 1977.

    The Ghost Riders were a popular entry in the 2018 Big Hitch Parade.

    Patsy Wygle not only starred in many Laughing Stock productions but she taught Laughing Stock Theatre summer camps alongside Kathy. She also taught theater students at Sun Valley Community School.

  • The Papoose Club will kick everything off on Saturday with its Pancake Breakfast Saturday and Sunday at Ketchum Town Square, as it has since 1977.

    They’ll be serving flapjacks from 8 a.m. to noon. with the proceeds going to nonprofits that support educational, athletic and cultural growth for the children of the Wood River Valley.

    These children were among the 17,000 people estimated to line the streets of Ketchum for last year’s Big Hitch Parade.

    They can always use volunteers to set up and take down chairs, serve orange juice, wash dishes, roll silverware and cook eggs. To volunteer sign up at https://signup.com/client/invitation2/secure/2788340/false#invitation

    Once the bellies are full, Saturday will feature the Big Hitch Parade through downtown Ketchum, full of historic wagons, including a 100-plus year-old hearse and a the towering ore wagons that once ferried ore and other supplies between Ketchum and mining camps along the Salmon River.

    The parade will be preceded by the Mexican showcase and the second annual cultural dance and drumming exhibition featuring the Northern Shoshoni and Mixed Bands of Sheepeaters and Bannocks. This is the Native Americans’ second straight appearance at Wagon Days and they present a colorful sight appearing in their feather bustles and colored fringe with bells wrapped around their buckskin leggings

    The parade will be followed by a street party featuring Tennessee country music star Brandon Lay. Lay, a promising newcomer to the country music stage, will perform  to a crowd on East Avenue following the parade.

    Then he will headline a Country Cookout catered by Judith McQueen for Sun Valley Opera at the River Grove Ranch just north of Hailey on Sunday, Sept. 1. Tickets are $175, available at www.sunvalleyopera.com or 208-726-0991.

    Lay has opened for artists like Kenny Chesney and Old Dominion. His debut single “Speakers, Bleachers and Preachers,” is an autobiographic tale with more than 50 million streams. His second single “Yada Yada Yada” became a big hit on Sirius XM and top 40 Country radio.

    “I’m excited that Brandon Lay is coming to Ketchum, Country music and Wagon Days go well together,” said Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw.

  • On Sunday a variety of bands will perform from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Festival Meadows in conjunction with Rebecca’s Private Idaho. Among them: Graham Guest, Michaela French and Friends, High Mountain Herd and Jeffery Halford and the Healers.

The “Off the Wagon Days” celebration, which is open to the public, is a partnership between Sun Valley Records, a local record label and digital distribution platform, and Rebecca’s Private Idaho.

It kicks off with Rebecca’s Private Idaho, one of the top five gravel events in the world according to Global Cycling Network. The event, started by seven-time world champion mountain biker and adventure athlete Rebecca Rusch in 2013, will bring more than 1,200 riders to Sun Valley to race on 100-, 60- and 20-mile gravel and dirt road courses up and around Trail Creek Summit.

And it will conclude with a music festival and some Gelande Quaffing, a highly competitive beer sport, at Festival Meadows.

The event will benefit Be Good Foundation and its beneficiaries: Idaho Interscholastic Cycling League, Wood River Trail Coalition, People for Bikes and World Bicycle Relief, which provides bicycles for rural people in Africa to take their produce to market and fetch water.

“We’re thrilled to be supporting Rebecca’s Private Idaho and the Be Good Foundation,” said Liz Hendrix, who co-founded Sun Valley Records with Don Zimmer. “Rebecca is an inspiration to so many and bringing music to the celebration is both fun and exciting.”

“Adding Sun Valley Records as a music partner helps to elevate our event to another level,” added Rusch. “Their passion for music and mission to support local non-profits and artists creates synergies that we feel will inspire the local community to join the celebration and help grow awareness and participation.”

This year’s commemorative poster was penned by Ketchum artist Molly Snee and features mules with wagons in the background.

Posters can be purchased at the Oregon Wagon Museum, which has other souvenirs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.



All day—Meandering Musicians will play on street corners and at eating establishments in Ketchum.

11-2 p.m. Cowboy Poetry at the Ore Wagon Museum

5-7 p.m. Grand Marshal Reception in Ketchum Town Square honoring Kathy and Patsy Wygle

7-9 p.m. Barn Dance at the Ore Wagon Museum featuring live music by Old Death Whisper


8 a.m.-noon Papoose Club Pancake Breakfast in Ketchum Town Square. Cost is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and youth and free for those 3 and under.

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Kids Activites on streets surrounding Ketchum Town Square

10 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Charra Dancers at Festival Meadows on Sun Valley Road

10:30 a.m.-noon. Wihi’Nite cultural Dance and Drumming Exhibition at Festival Meadows

10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Silver Car Auction on the lawn near Sun Valley Ldoge

1 p.m. Big Hitch Parade runs down Sun Valley Road and north on Main Street before circling back to the Horseman’s Center parking lot via Highway 75 and Saddle Road.

Following parade—Street Party featuring Country Singer Brandon Lay at East Avenue and sun Valley Road.

Dusk. The final Sun Valley ice show of the season. Tickets available at www.sunvalley.com or 208-622-2135.


8 a.m.-noon Papoose Club Pancake Breakfast in Ketchum Town Square

10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Silver Car Auction on the lawn near Sun Valley Lodge.


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