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Ketchum, Idaho - ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) The 56th Wagon Days Parade took place today in Ketchum. The highlight of the parade is when the historic ore wagons are pulled through town by a team of mules.
These big hitch ore wagons have been around since the late 1880s. The wagons were used as part of the Fast Freight Shipping Company to carry ore over Trail Creek Pass. Now, they’re the grand finale of the Wagon Days Parade. Pulling them through town requires a team a mules and a lot of practice.
“In the parade we have the big right hand turn in the center of town. And the mules have to be prepared to do that. The ones at the back have to be very prepared to cross the chain. There’s a large chain and it goes down the middle of the hitch. The mules at the back have to cross that chain and work independently with the rest of the hitch to properly steer the wagons around the turn,” said Bobby Tanner, Outfitter.
It not only takes a team of mules to pull the wagons through town. It takes a team of people to put the event together.
“Over Wagon Days we have over 100 volunteers. Just about every city department in the City of Ketchum has helped us get ready for the ore wagons,” said Heather LaMonica Deckard, Wagon Days Event Coordinator.
When these wagons were originally used, the width of the wheels were built to fit the size of the road. They barely had a foot or so from the road edge. The wagons were full of ore and there were no seats . If workers wanted a ride, they had to stand.