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Plethora of people needed to pull off parade

Published 5/31/2011 in Beef Empire Days

By SHAJIA AHMAD

sahmad@gctelegram.com

It takes more than a couple of floats to put on a parade.

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Brad Nading/Telegram
Eugene Harke, Tyrone, Okla., weaves back and forth while driving a 1963 Wheel Horse tractor along Main Street during the 2010 Black Hills Energy Beef Empire Days Parade. Harke and his wife, Bonita, made up one of the entries in the parade, each on a Wheel Horse.

Brad Nading/Telegram Eugene Harke, Tyrone, Okla., weaves back and forth while driving a 1963 Wheel Horse tractor along Main Street during the 2010 Black Hills Energy Beef Empire Days Parade. Harke and his wife, Bonita, made up one of the entries in the parade, each on a Wheel Horse.

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Brad Nading/Telegram
Kenneth Ginest, complete with an American flag on the back of his motorized wheelchair and a pair of longhorn horns, makes his way along Main Street as an entry in the 2010 Black Hills Energy Beef Empire Days Parade.

Brad Nading/Telegram Kenneth Ginest, complete with an American flag on the back of his motorized wheelchair and a pair of longhorn horns, makes his way along Main Street as an entry in the 2010 Black Hills Energy Beef Empire Days Parade.

It takes the dedication of people who recruit, build, organize and execute.

Already, organizers from Beef Empire Days have more than 40 entries for this year's Main Street parade in downtown Garden City. And they're expecting many more, according to Deann Gillen-Lehman.

The parade's co-chair said typically the parade, sponsored by Black Hills Energy, garners nearly 100 entries from church groups to youth groups and other community organizations. Organizers are expecting another big turn out for 2011, which means there's a lot of work to do.

"(On parade day) I'm all over the place, just making sure everything's running smoothly and people are lined up in the right order," Gillen-Lehman said.

Organizational support also comes from employees from Black Hills Energy, who volunteer on parade day, too, according to Phil Escareno, an operations supervisor with the energy company that has hosted the parade through a sponsorship fee for more than a decade and a half.

Escareno said volunteer employees also assist the entries as they line up for the Main Street parade, to get them into a "formal fashion."

This year's BED theme is "Beef, The Only Choice!" and in that spirit groups already have submitted entries that will include covered wagons, horses, and men and women dressed as cowboys and ranchers.

Ribbons are handed out for the top three floats, too, and the top two winners receive cash prizes to boot: $75 for first place and $50 for second place.

This year's parade marshal is Barbara Oringderff, an avid Beef Empire Days supporter for at least four decades.

The longtime supporter of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and Kansas Livestock Association has served on the boards of the Kansas Pioneer Hall of Fame, the Kansas Historical Society, and many other civic and nonprofit organizations.

According to organizers, Oringderff has a strong passion and interest in the beef industry through her publication, The Territorial, and through her involvement in the cattle feeding industry for much of her adult life.

Oringderff also has served as the parade announcer for 20-plus years and has a "great love for speaking and representing Beef Empire Days."

This year's parade starts at 10:30 a.m. June 11, the second Saturday of the more than week-long celebrations.

Parade entries are due by June 8.

For more information or an entry form, contact the Beef Empire Days office at 275-6807.

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Posted by: mariela on 12/4/2011