We were almost there. Horse shows and livestock events came back roaring across the state of TX. You could get out and about, if you just kept six feet between you and strangers not with your party. Offspring, Darling Husband, and I actually enjoyed a fun filled Saturday of the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association Show and the Senior Pro-rodeo roping event at the Bell County Expo center. It looked like there might actually be a 4th of July parade and celebration of some sort. Of course, allowing the world to go back to normal after months of hysteria, could not be allowed. It was nonsense to even think it.
Allowing the government to prohibit you from celebrating the Fourth of July, is kind of missing the whole point of Independence Day. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the Chamber’s position. When you are trying to keep your job, worried about getting re-elected, and/or avoiding a lawsuit when people refuse to take personal responsibility for their life choices, going against the constantly changing panic narrative is probably not in your best interest. Even though the CDC has directly contradicted itself multiple times during the whole pandemic, if you aren’t a medical doctor it’s hard to take an anti-establishment stance, unless you are Scott Cain, the mayor of Cleburne TX. That man chose love of country and courage. I’d vote for him if he were to aspire to a higher office.
Despite everything that has happened in this country over the past month, despite the constant anti-American sentiment that permeates the media on a daily basis, there are still those that love the United States and believe this is the land of the free and the home of the brave. Immediately after it was announced that Belton TX, would not hold their historic 101st July 4th parade, a brave, determined citizen decided to organize a community parade without the support of the Chamber of Commerce . It would be an enter at your own risk type of event. She created a Facebook event, checked the applicable laws, and advertised in various publications. The local news channel ran a story about her efforts a week before the parade.
Another friend of mine also, came up with the idea of the “Pop-up” parade, where she would show up with her horses, anyone brave enough to ride with her, and ride the parade route on the day the event should have taken place. It may not have a large following, but the idea was a good one. With every single horse show/activity on my calendar going virtual or being cancelled completely, the idea of “Renegade parades” was too tempting. After all I’m not super competitive. I’m not exactly an “In it, to win it” equestrian. It’s more of a do better than last time, compete only against yourself, see if your progress at home translates to progress in the show ring type of endeavor. Grooming my horse, throwing on blingy tack, and dressing up is my favorite part of competition anyway. The pop-up parade was a great way to combine all of that without any performance stress or anxiety!post for the details behind that disappointment. I honestly thought Beau would never have the opportunity to participate in the Belton 4th of July parade, but the Chamber sponsored virtual parade, and more importantly the Citizens’ Parade were the perfect opportunity to right that wrong. It was almost cosmic how the universe aligned. Karma took over, and the pony that wasn’t allowed to participate the year before, led the 101st Belton 4th of July Parade as Grand Marshal when the Chamber couldn’t/wouldn’t step up. The show must go on, and the organizers of the Citizens’ parade did a wonderful job of ensuring the tradition did not die this year, regardless of “the Covid.”
Beau Pony had spent the past year breeding and challenging any full size horse that stepped up to the fence that divided him from his much larger neighbors. He put so much effort “protecting” his girlfriend from other male (gelding) competition running back and forth along the fence line, that I’m pretty sure he was in the best shape of his little pony life at the ripe old age of 18. I squeezed in a few quick drives to make sure that he remembered what was required when hitched to the cart, and didn’t behave like a total fiend. We tested out his behavior filming our virtual parade entry in downtown Belton a week before the parade in full traffic. I practiced my draft plaits a few days before the Citizen’s parade, and with a whopping five drives in the past twelve months under his belt (or should I say girth?) Beau Pony was plaited, harnessed, and ready to play Grand Marshal for the 101st Belton Fourth of July parade.
I was impressed by the number of citizens willing to participate in an unsanctioned event without the benefit of a police escort or blocked parade route. An estimated fifty plus participants decorated themselves, their cars, golf carts, and bicycles. While the parade audience was significantly smaller than usual, the number of people that came out to support the Citizen’s parade was impressive. We followed the traditional parade route and even made the evening news!