Send In The Clowns

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Future Farmers of America waiting for their float to begin its parade down Main Street.

Saturday morning, nearly 3,000 people lined Main Street for the Ropin’ and Ridin’ Rodeo Parade that included three hometown heroes who rescued a 4-year-old boy lost in the woods Aug. 16. Wyman and Beth Kindall and Gary Chitwood were honored with hoots and hollers as they rode down the street. The horseback rescuers found Travis Mitchell under a tree, miles from his mother in a deep, rugged canyon. Thanks to the group’s hard work and little bit of good luck, Travis was found safe.

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Rodeo Parade clowns

Another hero honored included parade grand marshal and retired U.S. Air Force Col. Arthur Joseph Stone Jr., who served as a combat air crewman in the South Pacific and now lives in Payson and serves as a member of the Gila County Sheriff’s Posse and volunteers at the Payson Police Department. Stone’s decorations include the Silver Star, Air Medal and three Purple Hearts.

Fans packed both sides of the street from Highway 87 to Green Valley Park. Children waved at their favorite entrants. A crowd pleaser was the APS volunteer clown troupe, said chamber manager John Stanton. The zany group volunteers at events around the state.

“It was fabulous,” Stanton said of the parade.

APS sponsored the 2010 rodeo parade, which was organized by the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce

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