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Old West Days Parade 2017: Kids, Horses, Dogs and Magic Memories

The Old West Days Parade may not resemble parades in most cities. Horses make up a large portion of the entries. Why not? There are lots of them in the valley being used for trail rides, rodeos, dude ranches, back country outfitters, covered wagon cookouts, search and rescue—and of course as pets. I went to the Old West Days Parade again this morning and came home with the normal amount of images. This page contains just a small cross section of the captures!

Photographer and Tiny Model

Kids are a major attraction at a parade. Only a few of them are actually in the parade, but there are always a lot of them hugging the road and occasionally holding still long enough for a photo.

Dog Onlooker

At one time, I heard rumors of the Town banning dogs from events like parades, concerts, and markets. I am not sure of the current status of the ban, but there are usually plenty of dogs. They just seem happy to be a part of something.


The parade starts (leaves the fairgrounds) at 10:00 am, but people arrive around 9:30 am to stake out their favorite spot. Kids, dogs and adults have to kill time until they see the first police cruiser leading the parade in to the area.

Memorial Day Parade

A Color Guard helps remind onlookers why there’s a parade in the first place.


I suppose a confrontation happens occasionally, but I don’t recall ever seeing two dogs getting into a fight. Most of them are kept tight to the owner’s side.

Horses and Wagons

Bar-T-5 usually pulls a few wagons through the parade route, promoting their cookout and dinner show up Cache Creek.


Kids look on and wait for candy to be tossed to them from one of the entries.

Vintage Cars

Not every entry in the parade is powered by the four legs of a horse. Others are on roller blades, vintage vehicles, or bikes.


Four legged onlookers never seem to be too impressed by the commotion.

Clowns and Candy

Some parade participants seem to be having as much fun as the kids!

Mountain Men and Women

A few of the Mountain Men and Women marched in the parade, but left a few back at the Rodeo Grounds to guard the camp. The Rendezvous and Trader’s Row continues through Monday.

Lee Fears

Lee Fears has been coming to the local Rendezvous for quite a few years. His regalia is made of “brain-tanned” leather. He makes and sells all kinds of hand-crafted leather products. Look for his “Hombre Leathers” tent! Lee is a heck of a nice guy, but then they all are.

Rendezvous Dog

A few lucky dogs are actually in the parade.

Craig Knecht

Craig Knecht (a Best of the Tetons follower) is a regular at most local events. He will be riding “Thunder” while helping with traffic control as a volunteer Mounted Police Officer. Craig tells me he never owned a horse until he turned 58. Thunder spent his first five years as wild stallion on one of the Wild Horse Management Areas in southern Wyoming. Thunder was rounded up by the BLM and moved to a holding facility. Craig adopted him, gently broke him, and now goes through 40 hours of training each year to be certified as safe to be around people. Craig says he checked off two “bucket list” boxes at one time when he adopted Thunder and learned to ride him.

Kids and Thunder

Thunder is a magnet for kids. The freeze brand on Thunder’s neck was a result of his capture at the “gather” by the BLM.

Pack Horses

Pack Horses and Mules are often seen in Jackson Hole parades. Most of them are part of US Forest Service teams. The lead horse and rider can make figure eight patterns and the rest follow in the same pattern. Pack horses are also used by outfitters for back country camping and hunting.

Pack Horses

You might see a few domestic horses in the summer in the corrals and fenced areas near the Mormon Row barns. A few of them are used by contractors that spray herbicides in the back country to help eliminate invasive species of weeds. They can go where most motorized vehicles can’t.

Cowboy Bar

When we first moved to Jackson Hole, the Town Slogan was “The Last and the Best of the Old West”. You don’t hear that much anymore, but the town still has a western flavor and architecture. The facades make a great backdrop for an Old West Days Parade.

Little Viewer

This little guy is dressed and ready for the 4th of July Parade and Fireworks in a little more than a month. This parade is essentially a kickoff for summer, but the big crowds start showing up around the 7th of June when kids get out of school for the summer.

Shooting Info:

I carried my Nikon D5 and a Nikon 70-200mm lens for today’s photos. I had plenty of light, with clear blue skies. I shot in Manual Mode with the shutter speed at 1/1250th second and aperture set F/9 to F/11. The ISO was set to AUTO ISO. Other than the bulldog’s face, most resulting ISOs were quite low. I used a 9 point auto focus pattern and moved it around in the scene as needed. Most of the shots needed a -2/3 EV adjustment.

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Comments (9)

  1. Mike,
    Outstanding gallery!
    Love you blog and photos of the Jackson Hole area.
    Need to get back up there soon!

    Keep up the great work!

  2. Craig Knecht

    Howdy Mike,
    Thanks for the great Press Coverage and as usual great photos of a fun event in our town.
    Thunder and Craig

  3. Brian Holberg

    Nice job Mike. Thanks for sharing and the story behind it

  4. peg novotny

    Your shots look great.

  5. Richard Hanks

    Fun Day. Great to have a parade in memory.

  6. Larry Becker

    Great varity of shots. I’ve going there since the 40’s when my Grand parents owned a ranch near Wilson It’s changed so much. I rather he cattle over houses. Reese had a 80 mile trapline worked on the ranch,
    I asked him one day if he ever got lost, replyed moutain men never get lost, but for 7 days one time I wasn’t sure where I was.

  7. Lowell Schechter

    mike, great coverage of this annual event and wonderful images of the children and other participants . I appreciate the information on how you shot this event because on days like this you have think before setting out shoot on a bright day like this.

  8. Lowell, You are always so good about commenting when I make posts. I just wanted you to know that I appreciate your comments. The great thing about digital photos and the current software is we can get away with shooting on bright days and still end up with nice shots. Cheers, Mike Jackson

  9. George Norsworthy

    Mike, your photos and blog really capture the spirit of the event. Thanks for the posting.

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