Paul Christianson is looking forward to escorting Honorary Stampede Parade Marshal Morris Bates in his 1959 Cadillac.

Paul Christianson is looking forward to escorting Honorary Stampede Parade Marshal Morris Bates in his 1959 Cadillac.

Williams Lake Stampede parade excitement builds on rock and roll theme

Does anyone have a 1956 Cadillac they would like to host a dignitary in for the Stampede Parade next week?

Does anyone have a 1956 Cadillac they would like to host a dignitary in for the Stampede Parade next week?

Laker’s Car Club secretary Paul Christianson says the honorary parade marshal has requested to ride in a 1956 Cadillac, but if one can’t be found he will have the honour of escorting him in his own 1959 Cadillac.

This year’s Stampede Parade theme is Rockin’ & Rollin’ in the Cariboo and in a fitting tribute to the theme, Morris Bates, the lakecity’s and the world’s first really great Elvis tribute artist, has accepted an invitation to become this year’s honorary parade marshal.

Bates says he is looking forward to the visit back to his hometown with his partner Eileen Lafferty. He says he requested a 1956 Cadillac because a pink Cadillac was the first vehicle Elvis bought for his mother when he first made it big as a singer.

But Bates says he will be happy to ride in any vehicle and is honoured to have been invited to be the honorary parade marshal this year.

“To have them do this is just great,” Bates says from his home near Vancouver.

“The Laker’s Car Club is a big part of the parade,” says official parade marshal Nancy Gale. “We have a number of new entries so we are quite excited.”

Laker’s Car Club president Wayne Potter will escort Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett in his 1928 Model A Ford.

In keeping with the theme a $250 prize will be given to the Best Elvis Impersonator in the parade.

And a $500 prize goes to the best theme entry so Gale is encouraging people to put on their blue suede shoes and get rockin’ & rollin’ and have some fun tonight — well any day or night — creating their parade entries.

“It’s craziness but it’s always lots of fun,” Gale says. “It’s been a tough winter economically for people so we thought it was important to put on our blue suede shoes and have lots of fun.”

As of Tuesday, Gale says they had 40 entries signed up, including entries from Vernon, Quesnel, and 100 Mile House, and lots of equine entries, pipers, and musical entries from around the region and numerous dignitaries participating.

She says they usually have about 100 entries by the entry deadline which is coming up Monday, June 25, and more late entries closer to the parade date which is Saturday, June 30 this year.

“No one is turned away,” Gale says. “We usually get 20 or so entries on parade day.”

For the past eight years the Stampede Parade has been organized by the Daybreak Rotary Club.

She says the parade costs about $10,000 to put on, $5,000 of which comes in the form of a grant from the city and $5,000 of which the Daybreak Rotary recoups through entry fees and sponsorships.

She says the club started providing prizes for the top entries a couple of years ago.

There are seven entry categories, equine, floats, bands, youth, automotive, mascots, and best theme, with several sub categories within each category, for instance best conventional, marching and community bands.

Entry forms can be picked up at Papyrus printing 111 North Second Ave., or at the Williams Lake Visitor Information Centre at 1660 South Broadway and can also be downloaded at the website www.stampedeparade.com.

The forms must be returned to Papyrus Printing. Out of town entries can fax both pages of the entry form to 250-392-3030.

Cheques should be made payable to the Williams Lake Daybreak Rotary Club.

More information is also available at www.stampedeparade.com.