When it's the 4th of July in Wisdom, it's time to polish the old cars, hitch up the team and make sure the tractor is running!
Like most small towns, our parade has a short run, about 4 blocks. But they do turn around and come back through again in case you missed anything. We had good attendance this year and the mosquitos weren't too bad.
We thought we'd share some highlights of this year's show...
This is Sherry. She and her husband own the Wisdom Market, one of only two places to get groceries in the valley. Their motto is "If we don't have it, you don't need it", and that isn't far off. She rides her Farmall Cub every year, one of the littlest tractors in the parade.
The strange looking contraption this fellow is towing is a miniature beaverslide. If you've driven around hay country you've probably seen these in their larger form.
The beaver slide was invented in 1908 by two ranchers right here in the Big Hole Valley, and patented in 1910. A buck rake will drive the hay onto the rack at the bottom, then traditionally a team, or tractor, would pull the rack to the top, where the hay was tossed over onto the stack. Stacks can be made as tall as 30 feet, and are windproof.
Although used into the 1990s, fewer and fewer operations utilize them now. A 6 person crew is required for stacking hay, while a single person can run a baler. It is seeing a resurgence amongst folk looking to save on fuel costs as many racks are run by winch now. Also, the hay stacked by beaverslide can remain good for years, while baled hay can go bad after one year. A haystack made using a beaver slide contains roughly 24 tons of hay.
Here we have a canoe and kayak handmade by our own John Wilke, towed by his brother Bob with the Model T.
The Wilke family goes back to the early 1900s in the Big Hole. John's dad was an accomplished woodworker, known for his grandfather clocks and cedar chests. He and his brother ran a sawmill here starting in 1923. John has carried on his father's work. He still makes beautiful things from wood, as evidenced here by his winter project, a canoe and kayak.
And here is Mark, Sherry's husband, driving Grumpy. Draft horses are still a common sight here in the Big Hole. This wagon was restored by John Wilke.
No parade is complete without pretty girls is it? These lovely ladies are escorting our county commissioner. We're very proud of our agricultural tradition, kids here learn to drive on tractors, and most have good horse sense. The dedication of rural kids is part of why we are such proud supporters of the Montana 4H foundation!
1959 Ford Skyliner
Hope you enjoyed this year's parade, now get out and enjoy the rest of summer!