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Vigilante Day Parade Returns

Vigilante Day Parade 2021
Vigilante Day Parade 2021
Posted at 5:37 PM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-08 11:40:42-04

HELENA — Vehicles packed the Lewis & Clark Fairground in Helena on Friday for the return of the Vigilante Day Parade, even if it looks a little different than past iterations.

The nearly a century-old tradition was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to limit any potential spread of the disease while letting high school students build floats, the 2021 event was a “reverse parade” where floats were parked at the fairgrounds and vehicles drove by.

One float featured Jack Dempsey fighting Tommy Gibbons in a World Heavyweight Title bout that occurred in 1923 in Shelby, Montana. Nearly a century later, the story still lives on and is centered in the middle of the vigilante parade. This group of Capital High students wanted to bring high energy to their float.

“What's more fun than going after friends and having a good time and everyone eating food and cheering," says Luke Hanson, who played as a 1923 Sports Announcer in the float.

Cheering could be heard all across the fairgrounds as 31 floats gathered for a reverse style parade, meaning community members drove through the parade rather than the traditional way, an odd feeling for the students.

“It's a little different, it's a little weird,” says Hanson. “These times are all about adapting to the changes and I think it is really nice that they found a way even do it."

It may have been different, but that didn’t stop the students from showcasing their creativity. Groups represented local businesses such as the country club and The Parrot.

“Especially because this last year and a half has been so crazy and we missed it last year so it's great to be back. It's great to be performing and doing stuff again," says Natalie Renk, a participant in the parade.

Natalie and her group won the Historic Helena award capturing the story of a plane flying through the Cathedral in 1945.

The rest of the winner are below.

There were 31 total floats this year. For both Capital and Helena High, 19% of the Senior Class participated, 14.5% of the Junior Class participated, 15% of the Sophomore Class participated and 13% of the Freshman class participated.

WEB EXTRA: Vigilante Day Reverse-Parade

The 2021 Vigilante Day Parade winners are:

Grand Champion
Last Chance Gulch During Gold Rush: Cadence Tyhurst, Emily Hesselman, Eden LacQuay, Samantha Lowrey, and Dominea Uncles

Most Historically Authentic (Bradley Cup)
Mystery of Forestvale Cemetery: Jessica Marsh, Logan Marsh, and Andrea Stalnaker

American Indian
Leo Poacha Memorial Clinic: Freedom Nash, Alejandra Parra, Kylie Chormicle, and Makenna Wofford

Historic Helena
Flying Through The Cathedral: Zita Graveley, Jayden Dupler, Abigail Hansen, Morgan Harris, Morgan Ockey, Ella Shropshire, Wes Bruski, Keelin Connolly, and Natalie Renk

Pioneer Life
Cabins in Reeder’s Alley: Braidie Carpenter, Ellie Mestdagh, Sarah Amos, Rory Petersen, Brendan Silvan, Brandon Brewer, Crystal Kelley, and Austin O’Shea

Helena Business
The Parrot: Breanna Douglas-Myers, Abigail Simmons, Aricia Campillo, Saundra Hayes, Brandon Bossell, Caleb Dalton, Sean Herrera, Jason Hurley, Donald Shammel, Suziann Threlkeld, Cale Crowe, and Amia Moody

Famous People
Amelia Earhart: Katie LaFave, Paige Davidson, Vivian Schuma, and Gabbie Weida

Mining and Transportation
Last Chance Gulch During Gold Rush: Cadence Tyhurst, Emily Hesselman, Eden LacQuay, Samantha Lowrey, and Dominea Uncles