By ERIN MAYES
It smelled like sunblock, hair spray, horse manure and beer.
Many a sunburned body witnessed the 47th Mother Lode Roundup parade Saturday from the comfort of lawn chairs, truck beds, balconies and curbs along Washington Street in downtown Sonora.
Rhonda Munroe and Shawn Coville gathered three truckloads of friends and parked their pickups at Gold Country Gas to watch the tireless line of bands, clowns and animals dance, prance and play their way up the road.
They arrived at 7 a.m. for their fifth visit to their favorite site a section where each parade entry pauses momentarily. Munroe and Coville usually bring squirt guns to cool down sweaty participants, but forgot them this year.
The pair were only a fraction of the crowd of people who showed up with babies in strollers, dogs on leashes and lots and lots of cowboy hats.
The princess of poop
There's really no overestimating the volume of horse manure also marking the parade route.
Thank goodness for the three or four "pooper scoopers" who show up every year to clear the road for tuba-toting kids and stocking-footed gymnasts.
Jim and Marsha Beaty have been clearing away horse dookie in the parade for 10 years now.
"We started with a golf cart," Marsha Beaty said. "It's a necessary thing."
The Beatys have made scooping poop into a family affair, coordinating reunions around the Roundup. Their grandchildren showed up this year to sit in the trailer and wave flags. One dressed as a princess the "Princess of Poop-Scooping."
The 1997 family reunion was really something they all dressed as Vikings, a nod to their Norwegian heritage. Next year, they promise, will be even better. Forty family members will don maid and butler costumes (one of the family surnames is Butler) and, to the sounds of the Sister Sledge song "We Are Family," scoop the droppings onto silver trays.