submitted by: Lynn Farrenkopf
Jarbidge shovel parade Elko's largest ever
Monday, January 31, 2000
The largest parade in Elko history - bigger than Fourth of July parades, bigger than Nevada Day parades, bigger even than Elko County Fair parades, went off without any problems Saturday afternoon.
With more than 250 motorized vehicles joining dozens of horses and walkers and a total of more than 3,500 participants and observers lining the parade route, the Jarbidge Shovel Brigade Parade was an "amazing" and "phenomenal" accomplishment for Elko County and the west, according to organizers.
"We had two weeks to put that together, a major undertaking such as this and of that magnitude, and it was successful," said John Ellison, parade organizer who heaped all the praise on the people who helped in the activity.
"I just thought it was great," said Assemblyman John Carpenter, R-Elko, who organized the Oct. 9-10 people-powered attempt to restore Jarbidge's South Canyon Road that sparked the shovel brigade and inspired the collection and delivery of more than 10,000 shovels to Elko Saturday.
"It is phenomenal. Never in my lifetime did I expect anything like this. It's awesome, absolutely amazing," said Elko County Commission Chairman Roberta Skelton as the parade kept rolling past the courthouse steps, raising her voice to be heard over the rousing cheers of those showing their appreciation for parade participants.
Ellison said it took the parade more than 1 1/2 hours from the noon beginning until the last entrant passed the courthouse steps.
"This was the largest parade in Elko County history," said Ellison, an Elko native.
But parade watchers already knew that.
"I've never seen anything like it, it's just amazing," said Lee Scott, a 70-year-old Elko native whose great grandfather built what is now Sherman Station.
"It's history in the making," said Scott's wife Iris as she videotaped the parade.
"I think it's great because it shows people want to take their country back and it's about time the federal government started listening to the people and stop empire building," said Leo Puccinelli as he applauded parade participants as they drove past his Idaho Street business.
And parade participants also knew they were a part of something special.
"I didn't think it would ever get this big with all the people showing their support but I guess it takes something like this to change government," said Pat Ross of Eureka, Mont., as he drove the a semi truck pulling the trailer known as "Grim Reaper" down Idaho Street loaded with more than 10,000 shovels.
"I love it because we need to take the time to make a stand by God," said Elko architect J.D. Long as he drove a 1936 tractor in the parade.
Commissioner Mike Nannini, who coordinated the delivery of the shovels with Montana sawmill owner Jim Hurst said Elko County showed the visitors the best part of being from Elko County.
"Those guys from Montana, they said there wasn't a person who didn't stop them, talk to them and say 'thank you.' Everyone was just so courteous," Nannini said.
Police also enjoyed the day, realizing they too were watching history being made in Elko.
"It's a kick in the ass and everybody is behaving," said Elko Police Chief Clair Morris. "It's really neat because we've got ranching, mining, snowmobilers, ATVers and when you get this many people together and they behave, I like it."
"This is the largest parade we've ever had and I've seen them all," said Elko County Sheriff's Lt. Bill Cunningham, an Elko native who has worked every parade in his 19-year law enforcement career.
Nannini said the last of the more than 10,000 shovels were finally unloaded about 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
"We gave up trying to keep track of how many we had," he said.
The majority of the shovels were placed in a corral outside of the county administration building on Court Street but a large number were placed beside the 28-foot monumental shovel at the county courthouse.
Carpenter said more than 6,000 names have been placed on the monument and another 1,000 should be added by today.
"I'm so thrilled," Carpenter said. ""It just shows that our movement - it shows that the people want what we are trying to do."
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