Flags flew over the Lamar County Fairgrounds with slogans like “Truckers for Trump,” “Trump 2020,” and more as a parade, organized by the Association of Lamar County Republicans, got its start early Saturday morning.
“It went great,” said Robert Black, president of the group. “... We had a lot of folks continue up to Durant (Oklahoma), then to Sherman and back to Paris.”
Black said one of his counters had faulty equipment, so a true count of how many vehicles drove in the parade wasn’t available by deadline, but he estimates it at 1,000 vehicles on both sides of the river, including the group traveling from Hugo, Oklahoma, for the parade. The two met at the bridge over the Red River, he said.
“It was exceptional. We did get strung out a bit. When we were coming back, I got back to the bridge at the same time as the end of the Texas parade,” Black said.
Before the event, while lining up at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds, Black led the group in prayer. Write-in candidate Tracy Jones, who is running for the seat vacated by Rep. John Ratcliffe in House District 4, said the pledge of allegiance, and the group blasted Alabama singing the national anthem as a pre-amble to the parade.
Cars started lining up for the parade at 6:30 Saturday morning, according to ALCR member Michelle Thompson, who stood at the edge of the fairgrounds and guided vehicles to their spot in the parade.
“I think it’s the greatest American and patriotic thing I’ve ever seen,” she said.
Grouped with the classic cars, Patti and Roy Gwinn of Powderly, who were driving their classic, restored 1966 teal Mustang said they heard about the event from Facebook.
“We are so glad we came,” Patti Gwinn said.
In their white Jeep, Sammy and Barbara Pinkston said they both thought it was a “pretty cool.”
“We’re coming together for our president and our rights,” Barbara Pinkston said. “I think it’s a neat thing to do, to stand behind our president.”
Near the entrance to the fairgrounds, Meaghan Awtrey and Bobby Turner sold an assortment of vehicle flags and bumper stickers. They came all the way from Lubbock, they said, where they attended the 7,000-person parade for the president there.
“Today’s been pretty awesome,” Awtrey said. “There’s never been a nicer group of people than at a Trump rally.”
Black thanked all the local officers who helped direct traffic for the parade, including the Paris and Reno police departments, the Lamar and Choctaw county sheriffs’ offices and the Choctaw police.