Saturday, July 4, 2009

I Miss Red Ryder!

July 4th celebrations bring back fond memories for me as I grew up in this small town in Colorado. Pagosa was the home of a famous artist and cartoonist by the name of Fred Harman. Fred created the "Red Ryder and Little Beaver characters, his comic books and stories also became movies and of course all little boys would want to emulate him. I am so proud that I grew up not only knowing him but his first side kick to play "Little Beaver" was a classmate of mine in grade school. My family knew him well and my father who owned a little printing shop would print his stationary for him. In 1949 the first July 4th celebration to honor him was named the "Red Ryder Roundup." Red Ryder and Little Beaver would lead the parade down the main street of this little town and along the parade route people from all over would stand elbow to elbow to get a glimse of the famous cowboy.
The afternoon would be highlighted by a rodeo santioned by the RCA and leading contenders would compete for the top cowboy award. This celebration continues today with Fred's son who owns a museum there and as the population has grown so has the celebration.
Oh, I enjoy the tasty barbeques and the flashing of fireworks lighting the night sky but those memories of days gone by still brings a tear to these old eyes.

1 comment:

  1. I remember the parade on Main Street, too, Dad. Mostly, I remember the Whistlers, though! I loved those guys with the gigantic hats covering half their bodies and faces painted on their stomachs. I think Grandma Willett must have liked them a lot, too; she took so many pictures of them! :)

    Happy 4th!