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Red Lodge tradition marking Independence Day

Posted at 1:33 PM, Jul 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-04 15:33:56-04

RED LODGE - A near-century-long tradition brought out the patriotism in Red Lodge and the tourists also came over weekend, with many wanting to help those affected by the flooding.

The first of three parades on Broadway started the three-day Fourth of July celebration on Saturday.

The Home Of Champions Rodeo and Parade started in 1929. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the event in 2020, so this is the 92nd year for the event.

"It is so much fun to see from the center of town as the parade starts," said Katie Callahan, Red Lodge Home Of Champions Rodeo parade director. "You just get that feeling in your heart that here we go again. This is so good. This is so cool."

Callahan says it's a chance for many to celebrate including those cleaning up after the floods.

"Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to have some fun," Callahan said. "Because you've been working so hard to scrape out the mud or take out the sheet rock or you know just get through the everyday life that's in addition to those hardships."

For some, driving from Billings to celebrate Independence Day in Red Lodge is a family tradition.

"We've got family lives here so we always happen to come up for the fourth and just kind of have a have a great time, support the community," said Ross Bradley from Billings.

"I like it because it just brings everybody together," said Josie Bradley, Ross's daughter. "Everybody gets just like just be together. We're here today because of freedom."

This year, at the Elks Lodge, a group held a special fundraiser to help the flood victims.

"I'm so pleased that all the people from around the area that have made a special trip to come here to Red Lodge to support us." said Lisa Bennett, who organized the fundraiser.

They say the help and the tourism have been good. Even with the flood cleanup all around the area.

"I've never seen so many people turn out to help other people they didn't even know," said Shorty Peterson, who lives in Red Lodge.

"The support from outside your area has been great too." Bennett said.

"We have people who actually come for this summer here and participate and they're from all over the country," said Callahan.