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Parade floats, classic cars, a few horses and plenty of political candidates made their way through downtown Casper on Tuesday. Children lined the streets to lunge for candy during the annual Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo Parade.

“Spray me!” called Eli Rude, 6, and his two cousins yelled whenever they saw water guns. The boys held out their arms and laughed as the water blasted.

“Yeah!” Eli yelled, as water dripped from his hair.

His cousins and little brother waved back at a giant ice cream cone in the passenger seat of a classic car float from the Rialto Soda Fountain.

“Look here, the Culligan girl!” said Karen Riddle, grandmother to two of the boys great aunt to the other two.

The life-size cartoon character gave high-fives as she strolled down the street.

The mix also included businesses, nonprofits, emergency services and performance groups, including the Western Winds Summer Marching Band.

The boys danced to music and Kolby Lucas, 5, mimicked the honking of a passing fire truck at one point.

They joined 10 other family members, who showed up early for shaded sidewalk seats along Second Street.

Riddle has been going to the parade since she was a kid, she said.

“I don’t think we’ve ever missed a parade,” said Christina Rude, Riddle’s niece and mother of two of the boys.

The family goes every year to support Casper and its activities, Riddle said.

“And it’s really enjoyable,” she added.

She held out her cell phone to capture photos of her daughter on the Garden Creek Volleyball Club float. Then she had to dodge water guns again.

“There wasn’t so much water back in the old days,” Riddle said later.

But Kayhl Riddle, 6, said the best floats were any that sprayed the kids.

Kolby most liked the big trucks and Eli’s favorites were the dogs, like those on the K-9 Corral dog boarding business float. A giant inflatable dog rose high above the street from the float.

Jake Rude, 4, liked the big puppy, “and the dogs—the real ones,” he said.

Finally, street sweepers trailed the floats as they disappeared around a corner.

The best part of the day was the candy, the three oldest boys agreed. The crowd dispersed and the family headed toward a nearby restaurant for lunch.

“I think all the kids have a ball,” Riddle said.

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Follow reporter Elysia Conner on Twitter @erconner


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