Belton celebrates 4th with parade, PRCA Rodeo
Sunday, 22 July 2012 by Matthew Girard
Belton's 88th Annual 4th of July Celebration and PRCA Rodeo didn't disappoint last week as well more than 40,000 people enjoyed the numerous activities during the nation's birthday.
As in year's past, the annual 4th of July Parade was the highlight as more than 200 parade entries made their way down Main Street and Central Avenue, that was packed with more than 30,000 people.
"It was a wonderful year," Belton Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Stephanie O'Banion said. "We feel that the parade was as good as it's ever been.We've had multiple comments that this was one of the best years that they have seen in a while. We had a lot of hard work from wonderful volunteers, the staff and our community."
This year's theme was "Hometown Heroes," as local policemen, firemen and teachers from each of the major departments and school districts in Bell County were honored.
"The parade entries were really able to decorate according to the theme well and there was a lot of passion that went into that," O'Banion said.
With a breeze and plenty of shade to go around, the weather also made the day enjoyable for those in attendance.
"We were blessed with wonderful weather, so we were very pleased," O'Banion said.
City Manager Sam Listi said the 2012 pararde was one of the best.
"We had a huge turnout and it was a great time with great weather," Listi said. "Everybody seemed to enjoy it. We really appreciate everyone showing their continued support and enjoying the Belton 4th of July Parade."
The other highlight of the week-long celebration was the PRCA Rodeo which was held for three nights at the Bell County Expo Center.
"The rodeo was spectacular," O'Banion said. "Military night had another record attendance and the other nights, the attendance was what we expected."
There were approximately 5,400 in attendance for Military Appreciation Night last Thursday.
Although the 4th fell on a Wednesday, O'Banion said there weren't any glitches.
"It's been going on for so long and I've been here for 10 years now, so I've gone through all the different days of the week," O'Banion said. "We don't see a year where it impacts it in one way or another."
The celebration also included the annual God & Country Concert, annual Kick-Off BBQ at Yettie Polk Park, the annual Carnival at Confederate Park and the 4th Annual Schoepf's Rodeo Roundup Concert, featuring Rick Trevino.
"It's a time of year where Beltonians all come together to be a part of this traditional event," O'Banion said. "It's also a huge economic impact for our community with that many folks coming to town. It's an economic engine that leaves a mark every year on our businesses."
This year's celebration was special to O'Banion.
"We saw a culmination of the last few years of work from the same team," O'Banion said. "You can really see the impact that individuals are making that work on it year after year."