Challis residents and visitors celebrated a cool, mellow Independence Day packed with usual events of a flag raising, pancake breakfast, parade, games, flag retirement ceremony, free barbecue, horseshoe tournament and fireworks.

“It was nice and cool weather, borderline sweatshirts,” said Melissa Perkins Fitzgerald, executive director of the Challis Area Chamber of Commerce. “It couldn’t have been better for the parade and barbecue.”

Main Street USA was this year’s parade theme and Jack and Eileen Hardy served as grand marshals in recognition of their longtime dedication and volunteer service. They rode in Nyle Thornock’s vintage turquoise Thunderbird convertible, which has carried parade grand marshals for years.

There were several dozen entries in the parade, Fitzgerald said, and many of them had multiple vehicles or marchers. With service, government and business groups, “well over a hundred” people participated. Fitzgerald particularly likes it when the volunteer service groups participate and she loves to see Smokey Bear on the Forest Service’s vintage truck year after year.

“We are grateful for their service,” she said.

Parade winners were: Best bicycle: Travis Bullock on his crazy, articulated bike. Best parade float: the John Miller family with 1920s Model A and Model T Fords. Best equestrian: Raegan Wooley riding her paint horse, Cherokee. Best motorized: tie between Twin Peaks Timber and Salmon River Shrine Club’s Tin Lizzies and miniature tractor-trailer. Best children’s group: Mountain Valley Baptist Church’s Giddy Up Junction Vacation Bible School float. Best theme group: Lambs Market float.

Honorable mentions were awarded to the Anderson family’s Tunnel Rock Ranch 1954 F-600 flatbed; Boys of Summer, El Camino driven by Adrienne Hall with Morgan Maydole and Jeremiah Rowe tossing water balloons and squirting the crowd from the wading pool in the back; Smokey Bear and employees of the U.S. Forest Service in vintage and modern trucks; North Custer Volunteer Fire Department; Custer County Search and Rescue; and North Custer Hospital District and Challis ambulance service EMTs.

Dennis Thornock won the drawing for the Traeger Elite grill and smoker donated by ValleyWide Cooperative and Jim McDonald as a fundraiser for the chamber.

Horseshoe tournament coordinators Dolores and Jack Ivie said first place went to Scott Lamb and Lance Moss; second place to Jack Ivie and Jerrod Farr; third place to Bobbie Long and Chett Long.

Picnic coordinator Scott Lamb estimated that between 600 and 700 people ate at the barbecue. The event would be impossible without the many businesses and individuals who contribute, Fitzgerald said, including members of the Challis High School Viking football team who helped set up and sell beverages, local vendors who joined in and added interest to the park activities and Jack Hardy who provided sound equipment and music.

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