Folks who’ve watched past July 4 parades in Ramona, celebrating anything and everything redneck, might have thought they’d seen it all, but Dickinson County “invaders” promise to shake things up this year.
Redneck in Ramona organizer Jessica Gilbert said Rocking Horse Ranch of Dwight has an entry for Monday’s parade that could redefine the meaning of redneck.
“They’re bringing something with their horses that has to do with Vikings and Viking ships,” she said.
Gilbert doesn’t know whether they will be redneck Vikings.
Redneck or not, the Nordic invaders should encounter stiff opposition from perennial parade standouts Ramona Mayor Byron Noeth and his wife, Julie.
“They come up with the zaniest stuff,” Gilbert said. “They do every year. They’ve won the most redneck or judges’ choice awards.”
Julie Noeth confirmed the couple would have another parade entry this year, but its theme remains a mystery.
“You’ll just have to come and see,” she said.
Julie has generated ideas by brainstorming with friends, and Byron takes care of getting a trailer and helps decorate.
“We have friends who come and are usually on the float,” Julie said. “They usually never know what they’re doing until they get here. They’ve been pretty good sports about it.”
Their children, Clara, 7, and Rhett, 4, also help, but don’t look for Clara to be riding on the float.
“She’s to where she wants to do her own,” Julie said. “She’s ridden her bike and decorated it before. She’s ridden our pony, Jelly Bean, down the parade route. Last year she and a friend dressed up patriotic.”
As for the rest of the parade, Gilbert never knows who is going to participate. There’s little time to speculate, as Gilbert and the rest of the committee are busy with final preparations.
Jeannie Goza, Amber Lopez, Billy and Rohani Alcon, and Art Stroda are committee mainstays, and C.J. Thompson is youth council representative.
“We’ve all agreed we’ll be out on the streets on the weekend getting things ready,” she said. “Because it’s been the same crew, we all have our little routines.”
Morning events Monday will include a two-mile fun run, country breakfast, and lawn art contest.
The James Weber memorial three-on-three basketball tournament will tip off at 1 p.m. A lawnmower obstacle course will open at 5 p.m.
The 6 p.m. parade will be followed by face painting, kids’ tractor pull, games, and a concert by Junction City classic rock band Locker No. 15.
Fireworks will begin about 9:45 p.m.
Redneck in Ramona, as the celebration has been dubbed for the past 10 years, has continued because of faithful sponsors and committed volunteers.
“We’re down to a small group of people who aren’t willing to see things die,” Gilbert said. “It’s such a gift, all the people who do this. It’s the last of the slice of what I love about small town America. It’s the one big thing we do.”