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Big Hitch Parade Goes Off Without a Hitch
Sunday, September 5, 2021


Ela Price grew up in Germany. But on Saturday she played the role of one of the young military wives who used to follow their husbands as they rode across the country following their regiments. Ahead of her rode Elizabeth Lockyer, who appeared on horseback as a Southern Belle.

“Wagon Days has amazing crowds. And it has such variety from the ore wagons to the camels. I love everything I see,” said Lockyer.

The two women from Pocatello were among dozens taking part in the Wagon Days parade, which has been rolling down the streets of Ketchum since 1958.

The parade featured a water truck used to tow 500 gallons of water to supply water for horses and livestock crossing the desert during the 1800s. It featured camels and Peruvian Pasos—their gait so smooth that their riders carried flutes of champagne in their hands without spilling too much.

It even featured an 1800s-era five-glass landau carriage carrying Carol Holding, the owner of Sun Valley Company wearing her buckskin dress; Glenn Janss, who founded the Sun Valley Center for the Arts 50 years ago, and Sun Valley Resort’s former general managers Wally Huffman and Tim Silva.

There were a few fewer entries and the crowd was a little sparser as the country continues to deal with the COVID pandemic. But, as Sun Valley resident Roger Gould noted: “It feels good to be back enjoying the parade after not having it last year.”

“We come for the parade whenever we can,” said Kerry Banyard, of Boise. “But this one is special because we’ve been locked down so long. We love everything about Sun Valley so when Roger and Linda (Peterson) opened their home to us we took advantage of it.”

Michael Hoover, who works for The Argyros, called the parade magical.

“I first came here nine years ago and it was so beyond anything I was used to in Michigan. Of course, I like the Big Hitch. But I also love how everybody’s here and how it’s such a great wrap-up to summer. And I love the albino buffalo and camels—they have my heart.”

Western music emanated Friday evening and Saturday from the Ketchum Town Square where Jaclyn Martinson handed out bright yellow T-shirts spreading Visit Sun Valley’s message to Stay “Sunny.”

“It’s all about kindness, being polite, extending good will. We’re just trying to keep our community friendly,” she told the eager recipients.

Martinson herself came to Sun Valley in 1970 from Southern California. She fell in love with her ski instructor on Baldy, got married and, as she likes to put it, the rest is history.

“We’re having growth, but this place has an identity to it. I know a lot of people. There’s so much do here. And people are here for the experience,” she said.

Bobbie Jordan, who has homes in Eagle and Sun Valley, concurred.

“It’s fun to see people up here who want to come to Sun Valley. We dined next to Sheryl Sandberg, the CEO of Facebook, the other night and no one bugged her. She was here for the same reason as we: To relax, enjoy herself and enjoy all this area has to offer.”

As the Big Hitch Parade drew to a close, the towering ore wagons once again made it around the corner of Sun Valley Road and Main Street without incident, although the mules seemed a little more jumpy--perhaps because of their year off during the COVID shutdown.

Way, way, way in the back were Steven and Bonnie Garman and Feli Funke, who had bought their Peruvian Paso and Tennessee Walkers to the party. If all went well, you may see them in next year’s Big Hitch Parade.

“We’re just exposing them to all the things that happen during the parade, in hopes we can enter them next year,” said Funke.

“Being out here is very stimulating,” added Bonnie Garman. “They’re taking in a lot. We’re just giving them an opportunity to see what happens without having to participate.”


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